Cross Fell and its neighbours
I’m being quite restrictive in the definition here, by including only the four hills traversed by the Pennine Way on the memorable day from Dufton to Garrigill: Knock Fell (2605ft), Great Dun Fell (2782ft), Little Dun Fell (2762ft) and Cross Fell (2930ft).
For me, the memorable day was Tuesday 17 August 1976. I’d been on the top of Great Dun Fell (it’s the one with the weather station) five years previously, and rewalked the range in 1994. Details are on my High Pennines Pennine Way page, but here’s something else I found out, checking the back pages of my Wainwright guide.
I set off from Dufton at half past nine on a warm but breezy morning. Two hours later, I was on the top of Knock Fell, where I took a break. By 1 o’clock, I was on the top of Cross Fell. Time for lunch.
I was in Garrigill before 4. Again I hung around, but pressed on to Alston. I dawdled this a bit, getting there just after 6.
In all, just over 8½ hours; with breaks, just under 7½, for a little shy of 21 miles.
That’s pretty decent, but nearly 50 years on, I don’t think I’d be too much slower. Though I’m not likely to get back to find out.
The Cross Fell range, from Round Hill
And it worked very nicely. I found a couple of cairns that seemed to mark a way up, and as I tracked towards the top, there were indeed more beaters, but they weren’t too interested and indeed seemed to have finished their business and started moving off as I approached.
The wellies? A couple of famous markers that have been on the heathery summit for many years. The summit itself is a few yards north, not so nice.
I could clearly take a more direct line off the hill and indeed met the beater again back at the same spot. Dave, he was. “You can have a lift back to the road if you like,” he said. I reasoned with my conscience for, ooh, all of ten seconds, and hopped in. I found out that grouse shooting economics work like this: £2000 a day paid by the guys (mostly) with guns; £80 a day for the beaters.
That leaves the two Warcop ranges hills, Little Fell and Mickle Fell, plus Murton Fell. I don’t want to leave them to the end of my Hewitt exploration, so will try to fit them in during 2024.