Knott & Great Calva

Last week it seemed like most of the UK was covered in a blanket of fog – at least North Yorkshire certainly was! Much to our astonishment though, the forecast for the Lake District was beautiful, with blue skies and sunshine all weekend. There wasn’t even any wind! We therefore decided to head to the northern Lakes to finish off the last Wainwrights near Caldbeck that we hadn’t yet completed: Knott and Great Calva.

It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision to head to the Lakes, and we ended up looking for routes online, settling for this 7 mile circular hike on WalkLakes. The walk starts from Mosedale, where there is very limited free parking on the roadside by the start of the walk – we didn’t drive over the bridge to park on the track as it’s not particularly car friendly, but we got parked on the grass verge no problem (please park sensibly).

The WalkLakes route takes you up Great Calva first but we actually followed the route backwards to summit Knott first. We were pretty pleased with this decision walking down Great Calva at the end – it would’ve been a very long, very steep climb up! Pats on the back all round.

Whichever direction you choose to follow this route, you will start with a long stretch along the Cumbria Way. The first hour or so was a bit of a slog, on a gradually ascending and fairly boggy track, and I have to say it wasn’t my favourite part of the walk. At least following the river makes it easy to keep your bearings.

As Lingy Hut comes into view you leave the Cumbria Way to begin your final ascent of Knott. This climb was on grassy tracks and not too bad at all, if a little boggy. We had fantastic weather and could see for miles in all directions, but really, the view of Skiddaw is what dominates the landscape from this summit. The descent from Knott is pretty gentle and not taxing, apart from one short steeper section. As you reach Little Calva and start to climb uphill again, the path disappears totally and it’s a case of navigation skills are definitely required – I wouldn’t have liked to do this on a foggy day.

Aim uphill and slightly right and you eventually come to a fence line, which you can follow all the way to the summit of Great Calva. The trig point was visible from the bottom of the climb and did look slightly imposing! It is fairly steep, but also short enough that it’s over pretty quickly, leaving you to enjoy both the view of Skiddaw as well as views North West towards Scotland. Once you’ve taken in the view, the descent from Great Calva takes you along a narrow path which tracks steeply downhill through heather for what feels like a very long time. All I’m saying is I’m glad I didn’t have to drag myself up that hill…

At the end of the descent you re-join the Cumbria way for the 2 mile walk back to the car. Luckily this is extremely flat in comparison to the rest of the walk as I had a serious case of jelly legs!

Dog friendly rating – 4/5. One thing we’ve noticed about the Northern Fells is that there are far fewer sheep around than other parts of the Lakes. They’re still there, but in far fewer numbers, and the more open nature of the landscape makes it easier to spot them in good time. We therefore let Coal off the lead all the way around this walk as a) he’s not interested in sheep, birds, or any other animals and b) we’d be able to see in plenty of time to put his lead back on as a precaution. Merry stayed on the lead as his recall is far too unreliable to take chances in open countryside like this.

Both the start and end of the walk follow the river, which the dogs loved. There was a stile to cross in the fence line heading up Great Calva but there was a gate right next to this which we were able to use instead. There is no road walking and this walk is extremely quiet – we only saw three other groups of walkers in the entire 4 hours we were out.

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