Ponsonby Fell

Ponsonby Fell pictured on the ascent

Summit: 1033’ above sea level.

Volume: Book 8 (The Outlying Fells).

Date bagged: First visit: 15th September 2015 (walk 100). Second visit: 5th September 2018 (walk 152a).

Bagged as number:First round: 316 of the 330. [ << Cold Fell (315)  (317-9) Devoke Water circuit >>Second round: 162 of 330. [ << Graystones (161)  (163) Caw Fell >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Came up from Calder Abbey, via the “Farmery”, marked on the OS map at NY075072, from which attaining the summit is a simple matter. My descent was then the reverse of that described on page 193, down to the Scalderskew farm road and through Blengdale forest to Gosforth.

Ponsonby Fell summit

Ponsonby Fell summit. Note the Wastwater Screes (sans lake) in the background.

Second visit: Basically the same but from Scalderskew I instead, masochistically, went up Caw Fell.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 192 of volume 8): “There are no fells not worth climbing, but Ponsonby Fell is very nearly in that category…. The only justification for spending time on it is the splendid approach through Blengdale forest, which, unlike most modern plantations, retains much of its natural deciduous woodlands and has many well-spaced mature conifers lining its riverside road, Blengdale makes the climb worth while, but only just.”

What I say: I didn’t think Ponsonby Fell to be that bad. It’s not exciting, no, but there are more tedious trudges in volume 8 (Hesk Fell and the Wet Sleddale Horseshoe to name but two) and indeed in the main 214 (nearby Lank Rigg has a case). Views are pretty good and, as Wainwright agrees, Blengdale forest is worth a visit.

The Farmery

The picturesque ruin of ‘The Farmery’. Ponsonby Fell behind.

I think it will be better to do the walk, as described by Wainwright, more or less in reverse; I can see how the climb up from the Scalderskew road would be pretty tedious, at least the other way round one can negotiate that pathless and boggy region on a downhill gradient. And the track up via the Farmery was quite pleasant on a sunny day. In fact, I nominate the Farmery one of the most pleasant little spots I have encountered in the Lakes. Anyone who doesn’t linger here for a few minutes on the way up has no romance in their soul.

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