This was our first weekend back out of lockdown and we therefore headed straight back to the Lakes to tick off a few more Wainwrights. We worked out the other day that I need to be ticking off five a month to meet my target of completing them by the time I’m thirty – and that’s without lockdown getting in the way! Therefore I am already behind so off to play catch up we went. We thought the Lakes might be busy with everyone else having the same idea, so we headed to the northern fringe of the national park, where Sale Fell and Ling Fell offer a relatively easy half day circular walk. I hadn’t been feeling very Christmassy (the early onslaught of Christmas songs at the end of November brought out my inner Scrooge), but after a day walking in the crisp winter air with snowy fells in the background, I am definitely ready to put on my Christmas jumper!
We headed off early in anticipation of having to trawl car parks and lay-bys for a parking space – we needn’t have bothered! Perhaps the cold snap we’re having has dimmed the enthusiasm of fair weather walkers, as when we arrived at half past nine there was no one in the lay-by we wanted to park in, for once. It’s a shame that the cold puts some people off as I think you get some of the best views in winter. There was only a tiny bit of snow on Sale Fell and hardly any at all on Ling Fell, but the Skiddaw Range had a blanket of snow and you got the most stunning views from Sale Fell. To me that’s the bonus with climbing smaller fells – you get the wonderful views of the bigger fells without the effort of climbing them!
The route we followed was a six mile figure of eight loop that we found on the OS maps app. If you don’t have this app and are looking for a similar route online, there is an equivalent loop on Mud and Routes. The ascent up both fells was pretty quick but it was horribly steep in some sections – there was lots of ‘admiring the view’ on my part! Having climbed Sale Fell before I know that there is a less strenuous route to the top and it is this route that I link to on my blog 5 Undiscovered Lake District Walks. I am less sure if there is an alternative approach up Ling Fell as this was my first visit, however, it did look like there was another path to the top before the mist descended and hid everything from sight!
The route was easy to navigate with the map, although if you choose to take the ‘direct approach’ straight up the sides of the fells, these paths are faint and easy to miss as they branch off paths which are much more clearly defined. The paths generally were not clear and the descent from Ling Fell was very slippery – with prickly gorse to poke you if you grab onto the surrounding foliage for balance! Apart from the ascents though the majority of this walk was pretty easy to accomplish. We were really lucky with the weather as the snow had almost completely melted where we walked, making hiking much easier, but it was cold enough that the higher fells were still cloaked in snow. And it was clear enough that we could see them!
Dog friendly rating – 3/5. I gave Sale Fell a 2/5 dog friendly rating previously as it’s quite a short walk on it’s own, so I’m giving this walk an extra point as it is a fair bit longer! There are short sections of road along this walk and there could be sheep at any time, so keep your dog under close control. A big bonus on this walk was that there were no stiles at all, which is something I’ve come to appreciate a lot more since we got a Labrador! Much harder to lift over a stile than a spaniel. There wasn’t much in the way of water apart from a few small streams at the very end, so it’s probably a good idea to carry extra for your dog. As always please pick up poos and dispose of them responsibly – there are no bins on this walk so you will need to take any poos away with you.
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