High Knott summit, and fence

Williamson’s Monument, on the top of High Knott: and the fence that bars you from reaching it

Summit: The summit is also known as Williamson’s Monument, thanks to the large cairn atop it (see pages 18 and 21 of volume 8 for historical notes). It stands at 901 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 8 (The Outlying Fells)

Date bagged: First visit: 23rd May 2015 (walk 97). Second visit: 4th November 2017 (walk 138).

High Knott summit, rain shower

High Knott summit, through a rain shower

Bagged as number: First round: 304 of the 330 Wainwrights. [ <<  Walna Scar (303)  (305) Hugill Fell >> ]

Second round: 124 of 330. [ << Heughscar Hill (123)  (125) Sour Howes >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Came up the only way one can, from Browfoot Lane, and returned the same way. See the important notes below.

Second visit: Came up the same way, but then left for the ‘British Settlement’, following the walk route described in the book.

What Mr Wainwright says (from pages 18 and 19 of volume 8): “High Knott is an abrupt knoll not greatly elevated above the general level of the green fell from which it rises but occupying a strategic position with a commanding oversight of the loveliest part of the Kentmere valley.

“The fine cairn on High Knott… was built by the Rev T. Williamson in memory of his father, who used to climb up to High Knott every day before breakfast.”

High Knott

Looking over to High Knott from Hugill Fell

What I say: In the revised edition of volume 8, Chris Jesty’s amended ascent description notes the following: “…continue in the same direction to an unusual stile that has been obstructed by fencing. The agile walker will find a way through: others will do better to give the summit a miss.

What the book doesn’t mention is that the stile is also obstructed by a sign that clearly states the enclosure beyond is private and goes so far as to add open threats of legal action to anyone proceeding beyond. This makes High Knott the only Wainwright (with the possible addition of Clints Crags) where to attain the summit requires a trespass.

Kentmere valley from High Knott

Looking north from the ascent of High Knott, to the Kentmere valley. Joe on his way up.

So, should you be bagging all the fells like me, there are two ways of looking at this. The first is that the view you will get from the Monument is not substantially better than that from the highest point of the wall, and so if you’re not a purist you could reasonably consider the fell bagged there, and not worry about the awkward climb through (or over) the wall, which of course you will have to do twice.

Or you could consider it morally unjustifiable to assert property rights quite so obstructively. The issue is not ownership of land, but access to it, and you might think that if one can reach the summit without doing any damage or leaving any other trace of one’s visit, that there is no reason to believe that an offence is being committed here.

To avoid being accused of inducement to trespass I will say here only that I do not suggest one of these courses of action is better than the other, and note also that all the photos (on this page, the walk 97 page and the walk 138 page) have been taken from the north side of the summit wall.

[ << High Hartsop Dodd     High Pike (Ambleside) >> ]

2 Responses to “High Knott”

  1. […] worthwhile experience for both myself and Joe, who came with me. Three summits bagged — High Knott, Hugill Fell (pictured) and Reston Scar. So as of today I have bagged 306 of the 330 Wainwrights, […]

  2. […] (with a few rain showers admittedly — as pictured here0 saw me bag three fells on walk 138: High Knott, Sour Howes and Sallows. The walk was a little longer than expected (12.5 miles) but it’s […]

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