Route: Mellbreak

Area: Western Lake District

Date of walk: 1st June 2021

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 7.7 miles

Ascent: 1,800 feet

Weather: sunshine and blue skies, very warm

Our normal start for this walk is the small parking space by Church Bridge, just beyond the famous Kirkstile Inn. The area has now been blocked off by large tree stumps. I don’t know whether this is temporary or permanent, but in any event we had to plan an alternative start. The nearest place is the National Trust car park at Scale Hill. This added a little distance to the walk, but it was of no consequence. We followed the road and turned off at the lane leading to the Kirkstile, passing by our usual starting point along the way. Seen from this approach, Mellbreak looks like a pyramid and its north face appears quite formidable

Beyond Kirkgate Farm the lane becomes a stony track which leads into the isolated valley of Mosedale. We left the lane at a firebreak in the woods and started the climb up the initially grassy slopes of Mellbreak. We then arrived at the steep scree section which at times is a case of two steps up, one step down. The main gully has become very eroded and several minor paths have emerged as walkers have sought out easier ways to the top. If in doubt, it’s best to follow those paths which trend from right to left. Walking poles are useful on the steep ascent, though they become a hindrance further up where there are a couple of rocky sections. The lovely retrospective views over Loweswater and Lorton Vale gave us a good excuse to stop and rest as we toiled up the fellside in very warm weather. It’s worth mentioning that this walk should be followed in the direction described – anti-clockwise.  To follow the route clockwise would involve a descent down the very steep and loose north face of Mellbreak – potentially a very unpleasant experience

We eventually emerged at the north top and made the easy but juicy walk across the saddle to the south top ¾ mile away. The views from the ridge are restricted by its width, but there’s a wonderful feeling of isolation. Once we arrived at the south top, marked by a very insignificant cairn, the views opened up again, and the prospect over Crummock Water to Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike was glorious

We descended in the direction of Scale Force and then followed the rough path beside Scale Beck to the shore of Crummock Water. After walking along the shore of the lake, with Mellbreak towering above on the left, we left the lakeshore path near the Pump House and followed the path to Muncaster House. An alternative route would be to walk to the foot of Crummock Water and follow the path through Lanthwaite Wood. In terms of distance, there’s nothing in it but on a busy bank holiday weekend our route provided a quieter way back

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