Cross Fell: A Dash To The Top Of The Pennines
It was a nice cool Sunday morning. Bacon butties in the making and coffee in hand. I had done a few walks very recently over one side of the valley in the Lake District. I looked over the frosty landscape the other way and saw the Pennines beckoning, white fresh snow on the top. That was it, an afternoon wander up Cross Fell over there in order…
Cross Fell’s summit stands at 893 metres (2,930 ft). The highest point along the whole of the Pennines and the highest point in England outside the Lake District, albeit still in Cumbria. It was a December day so only a few hours daylight left… better get a move on.
Due to time I started on my side, the Eden Valley side. From the small village of Kirkland. I am in training and the snow line started half way up so I headed straight up the middle to the top, then came back down and round via the normal route. This enabled me not only to get my heart and lungs going but to enjoy a variety of great views and be alone, up high, with my thoughts in the fresh untouched snow and ice.
Going up it is never easy not to stop and look back. The vast expanse of the Eden Valley lay out before you. The mountains of the Lake District in full view across the valley with snow covered summits. Blencathra and the Helvellyn range looking bold and handsome in wintry beauty. Ahead lay my goal though and the crisp white underfoot looked lovely and stark against the pure blue clear sky.
It was quiet up there, so so quiet. Lovely. The overhang on the summits front ridge brought about by high winds and snow flickered ice crystals to the naked eye. One more traverse and the summit plateau in sight. Over to the right you see the radar station (air traffic control) that sits upon Great Dun Fell nearby, the second highest Pennine peak. below that sits the volcanic cones that seem to line the foot of the Pennines in line like Dufton Pike.
Before long the vast flat summit plateau lay out in front of me. White against blue, no wind and pure peace and tranquility. The cairns and trig point had taken a winters battering the last few days I could tell but longstanding and helpful they stood, frozen. The views up here are rare to get as mist often gathers, by this time in the day the Lake District and sunset was shrouded over yonder but the other ways it was immense as ever. The Solway Firth to the North and the first hills of Scotland to the Cheviots. East all the way to the coast just had could see the West coast. Really do feel alone in the middle of Britain. Another fact of this peak is that it forms the beginning of the rivers Tyne and Wear.
The sun had gone, the cold winds had started up. Was time to head back down and look back on a wonderful day on a whim. Love it up here.