Finishing off the Northern Fells – Part 1: Souther Fell

The bus shook as the first evidence of the weekend’s weather forecast collided with the moving vehicle. And today was supposed to be a “good” day. The bus dropped me off at Scales and I set off along a lane to the path that paralleled Comb Beck for the climb into Mousthwaite Comb.

Clough Head and Great Dodd #sh

Clough Head and Great Dodd

Walking up from Scales #sh

Walking up from Scales

Mousthwaite Comb #sh

Mousthwaite Comb

Behind me the sky was brooding over the Dodds, and there were patches of snow remaining high up on the north side of Great Dodd. A similar view awaited me as I reached the top of the combe and to my left, Blencathra appeared, a close up view of snow-laden gullies and cornices. Not the way up I planned to go on this first visit to the mountain.

Blencathra #sh

Blencathra

Sharp Edge #sh

Sharp Edge

Souther Fell #sh

Souther Fell

I hung a right and walked up onto the ridge, soft squelchy ground passing underfoot barely noticed, so much better used to it I have become because of all of the recent walking on Dartmoor. A detour to investigate a cairn off-path, and then I was trying to stay standing at the actual summit.

Cairn on Souther Fell #sh

Cairn on Souther Fell

Bannerdale Crags

Bannerdale Crags from Souther Fell

Some nice views all around, and I felt I ought to make the most of them as the forecast for the weekend was a bit grim, and the main reason we’d decided not to camp this time.

I descended back the way I’d come to Scales and the quest to finish off the Northern Fells was underway.

Unsure whether I’d be successful in flagging down the bus for the return trip as there was no sign of an actual bus stop, I killed the time before that bus by walking along the cycle path to Threlkeld.

I arrived at the hostel in Keswick and secured the all-important bottom bunk. Then it was a simple case of killing 3 hours or so before meeting Cath’s bus. She duly turned up just before 9pm, we had a couple of beers and ran over the plan.

The plan for the trip was fairly simple, but had taken a lot of work to nail down due to several challenges with sorting out accommodation. This had seen me book two nights in Keswick YHA, then an hour later book an overlapping stay in Skiddaw House when that unexpectedly became available, leaving me with having to cancel one of the two nights in Keswick. No matter that I’d literally booked it an hour before – I still have to send off a refund application by post.

Plan

That aside the plan was to assemble in Keswick on the Thursday, then head out over Blencathra visiting also Bannerdale Crags, Bowscale Fell and Mungrisdale Common. We’d stay Friday and Saturday at Skiddaw House, and the aim was to complete the final Northern Fell of Carrock Fell on the Sunday, with a walk over Great Calva, Knott and High Pike. Cath was due to head home on the Sunday, and then I would be heading to Buttermere to visit 6 fells I haven’t yet done there. This second phase would also coincide with an improvement in the forecast, so I begun the trip with every reason to hope that I’d add 12 new fells to my total, and get me within 4 of completing the round. But as so often, I needed the weather to play ball…

2015-03-05 Souther Fell

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