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Mickle fell routes

Hi all,

I’m just in the process of applying for a permit to visit the summit of Mickle fell later this year and am wondering which of the two allowed routes is best. Of the two suggested routes lying along the western boundary fence the northern route via Maize Beck (NY 791 263) and Kings Pot (NY 803 242) looks the more sensible (i.e. drier) - though I note G4YSS’s warnings about he difficulties of crossing Maize Beck when it is in flood.

Does anyone have experience of using the southerly route (from NY 832 199 along the western boundary fence to Hanging Seal NY 804 224). I take it the MOD have selected these routes to make it virtually impossible for one to get lost.

Any hints and tips as to what to look out for much appreciated.

Rick M0RCP

Hi Rick,

Try ascending Mickle Fell G/NP-002 from the east. It is a long for most of the way, but I think it is the best walking route.

Jimmy M3EYP

Hi Rick

You shouldn’t need to apply for a permit nowadays. I activated it last year without a permit on one of the weekend open access days. There was no one about. See this for more info:

http://www.nuttalls.com/mountains/access.htm

I parked up at a gate just past Grains o’th’Beck NY 872211 and road my pushbike to High Crag NY 833234 and locked it up there. A good loose surface track (turn left at the lake). I would have been better pushing it up the track there and then riding on to the gate at NY 829243 where the track ends. I walked in from NY 833234. It’s a long walk if you don’t bike it - 13 miles return.

Good luck - I hope I work you when you go. It’s a good fell with plenty of nooks and crannies amongst the rocks to set up the station in shelter.

73 Phil G4OBK

Further to my last if you are going to walk all the way there are better routes - I don’t have much knowledge of these. John G4YSS has - this and Cross Fell are his favourite NP’s. He lurks on the reflector occasionally and will no doubt spot your appeal for information in due course. He is operating GB2SCA from the Scarborough Lighthouse today.

73 Phil

In reply to G4OBK:

Hi Rick

You shouldn’t need to apply for a permit nowadays. I activated it last
year without a permit on one of the weekend open access days. There
was no one about. See this for more info:

http://www.nuttalls.com/mountains/access.htm

Don’t wish to spoil things, but …

According to the site you mention (which I had already consulted):

Up to now you have also had to contact the Strathmore Estate agents to
ask for a permit to visit Mickle Fell, however Peter Stubbs reports that
it’s now all in the hands of the MOD (Tel: 01768 341661) on one of the
army access days.

The MOD state that access is only permitted on Public Rights of Way.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The Warcop range officer (very helpful) seems to think a permit is needed
for access to the summit of Mickle Fell i.e. to venture off the public
rights of way and furthermore that one should use one of two prescribed access routes to the said summit.

If you want to do things strictly by the book then I’d suggest contacting them first

73

Rick.

I parked up at a gate just past Grains o’th’Beck NY 872211 and road my
pushbike to High Crag NY 833234 and locked it up there. A good loose
surface track (turn left at the lake). I would have been better
pushing it up the track there and then riding on to the gate at NY
829243 where the track ends. I walked in from NY 833234. It’s a long
walk if you don’t bike it - 13 miles return.

Good luck - I hope I work you when you go. It’s a good fell with
plenty of nooks and crannies amongst the rocks to set up the station
in shelter.

73 Phil G4OBK

Hi Rick,

Yes, fair comment but if you do things by the book there are many summits in the NP area that you would never activate. For example it is permissable to walk through areas of “open access” land but not to linger and erect antennas. Try asking permnission for erecting an antenna on Rogan’s Seat from the Gunnerside Estate Office and you will probably get a resounding “NO”, especially during the shooting season. Thye put up with “right to roam” because they have to by law, but nothing more than that is allowed.

If they say no to your application for a permit then you can’t activate the fell, if you keep quiet and just do it then you are virtually certain that your activation will go ahead. When I was up there I came across 3 walkers - none mentioned having a permit, indeed one of them, a student, didn’t even have a map with him and was trying to get to High Cup Nick! He did have a compass so I sent him off in the right direction after studying my map.

Good luck, whichever way you go but if I go up there again I won’t be applying for a permit myself.

73 Phil

In reply to G4OBK:

Quite agree Phil. I was once told by a council official that I needed to ask for permission from the landowner to operate on Pendle Hill. I’m sure that 99% of landowners/tenants could do without the hassle of being contacted by would-be SOTA activators. The MOD and the army in particular are of course sticklers for legal procedures and they do have duties of care to both the landowners and the public so one can’t really complain if they insist on doing things by the book.

I note that the MOD reserve the right to cancel public access days at short notice (for example if a war breaks out and they have an urgent need to do some training) and furthermore that permit holders are supposed to inform them when they venture off PROWs onto the range AND when they leave the range.

I’d imagine that provided one sticks to the publicised access days, and keeps out of flagged areas then the worse things that is likely to happen is that you’d be approached by a MOD Landrover and told to retrace your steps.

That said I’ve so far found the Ranger officer very helpful and I’d be happy to pass on my experiences to anyone who is perhaps travelling long distances and wishes to guarantee that they have permission to be on what is after all a live firing range.

73

Rick

Rick M0PCP:

Hi Rick. Just noticed your post on NP2. Firstly, thanks for yesterday’s FB QSO from NP1 on 80m.

On NP2, I don’t feel qualified to comment on permission issues but I can tell you about routes, particularly the northern approach.

I haven’t been up the boundary from the south but one or two have been that way. Unfortunately I can’t remember who but I think M1YAM Clive may have done it a long time ago. It could be a bit rough going if the rest of the terrain is anything to go by.

Some people seem to go from Hilton, Swindale Edge and over Little Fell. Tom did the Pennine Way route in.

Years ago we went from the Byrites Mine at Fish Lake, up to Arngill Force and leftish onto the trig point end of Mickle. We didn’t much like it and never went that way again.

Thanks to James M0ZZO and Ian G7KXV, who ‘pioneered’ it on the same day, the improved condition of the southeastern track from the Grains-o-the-Beck B6276 road at NY 8719 2110, is now well known and generally accepted as standard for SOTA. I was told about this by Bill G3JYP many years ago but didn’t use it until after James & Ian rediscovered it in May 2006.

You can take a bike as far as the locked gate at the top of the track (NY 8287 2432) or all the way to the SOTA if you wish. As told by Ian, the track is well surfaced with stone ‘crusher run’ but its higher reaches are slightly rough and loose. The gradient is only difficult in places. From the gate, a walk to the trig point is completed in 10 minutes and to the summit in about 40 minutes. A bike left at the gate, gives you a ‘free return.’

Here is the northern route detail:

Park in Cow Green reservoir car park (free, 30 cars) NY 81090 30910. Use a Bike or walk down the locked but surfaced reservoir road from NY 81526 30390 to NY 81380 28760. The road becomes a stony farm track a little way after the Dam Wall. Follow the track through Birkdale Farm NY 80380 27850 (Right of way.) Cross the footbridge over Maizebeck tributary at NY 80060 27710 and leave the bike if you took one.

From here, I walk downstream (SE) alongside this tributary to where it joins Maize. The last few times I crossed, I did so at NY 80192 27334. The nearest bridge is a long way upstream at NY 74880 27010. Dry WX should give you an easy & dry passage from rock to rock but you’ll get your feet wet after heavy rain. If it’s wet you’ll just have to follow the Maize Beck upstream and find a suitable crossing point above Maizebeck Force where fewer tributaries have made their contribution but it’s a pain. A possibility is to follow the track beyond Moss Shop and cross Maize to pick up the boundary fence going SE but I haven’t been that far up Maize.

You can get an idea about the state of Maize Beck from near the dam. It can be deceptive so you need to see a lot of rock and not much water. If it’s half and half, you may be thwarted at ‘my’ crossing point.

After crossing, you soon breach the line of MOD notices but years of experience has shown (me) that danger is minimal. I think Mickle is a second backstop for the real business part of the range. There are plenty of holes in the ground but they are all natural sink holes or old mines.

Much of the going is rough tussock in a lot of places but with occasional help from short argo tracks or animal paths. These are hard to find, not too distinct and easy to lose but quite helpful if fed into the GPS. I list them below:

NY 80600 26880
NY 80570 26940

NY 80600 26790
NY 80540 26620
NY 80550 26570
NY 80570 26500

Cross a small valley at NY 80620 26350

NY 80630 26300
NY 80680 26240
NY 80698 26168
NY 80740 26020
NY 80765 25804
NY 80759 25594

There are no more animal paths that I can find so head for the summit. An easy way is via some Stirling Bomber remains at NY 80820 24880 then avoid the rock-fields after that. Summit cairn at NY 80587 24533. It’s about an hour from Maize Beck and walking surfaces generally become easier as you approach the grassy top, which is rock-strewn in places. The cairn is really big and there’s a good low-power VHF path to mainly NE England. Penrith is easily reachable too but Lancs less so.

Stirling impact point is at the South side at NY 80916 24684 and there’s a ruin at NY 81053 24725 but 95% of the wreck was taken to Hendon Museum in 1977. We used to have lunch in the fuselage.

On the way back you could visit Cauldron Snout waterfall which is sometimes audible at the summit, if the wind drops in the middle of the night.

When all points are fed in the GPS, it calculates the one-way route distance of 7.5 km all told. In reality you can add 10% to that. Total ascent and re-ascent comes to around 410m, for the journey there & back. The reservoir road is hard under foot and very annoying on the way back.

Some old Yahoo postings on NP2: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Summits/msearch?query=NP-002+&submit=Search&charset=windows-1252

Good luck. Whichever way you go, if it’s fine WX, I think you’ll enjoy it once you’re up there. You may not see anyone all day. I wouldn’t think you’d chose the northern route. Nobody else does!

73, John.

Hi John,

Me and my Dad M1EYP ascended Mickle Fell G/NP-002 from Grains-o-the-Beck up the track. We did not ascend Mickle Fell G/NP-002 from the Pennine Way.

Jimmy M3EYP

In reply to G4YSS:

Thanks for the info John.

I have now received my official date-specific Mickle Fell Access Permit. I am now officially an ‘authorised personnel.’

The permit states that (I quote) “It is a requirement to carry this pass as a means of identification when using the PERMISSIVE MICKLE FELL ROUTE”

No mention however of what happens if you don’t.

73

Rick.