This is an easy walk in the rolling landscape of Back O' Skiddaw. The paths and tracks followed are mostly grass and moss with only a very little rough stone. Interest is in the expansive views north to the Solway Firth, and deep gills cleaving the relatively gentle fells to the rest of the compass points.
The walk starts just below Longlands and follows an old road now used by the Cumbria Way before soon branching off to follow Charleton Gill. Passing the curious feature of Saddleback the path is easily followed all the way to firstly Little Sca Fell, and then Great Sca Fell. Turning right to descend over Meal Fell to the interesting ravine of Trusmadoor. A short out-and-back to Great Cockup completes the fells visited. Trusmadoor is worth using for the descent if only for the novelty factor of looking out for an ambush from above!
Informal parking is available at the start of the walk just below Longlands where there is space for just 4 cars.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Just up the hill a little towards Longlands go through the gate signposted "Public Way, Green Head 1½, Cumbria Way". Follow the track, an old road, directly ahead as it climbs steadily over the crest of the rise, and around a corner.
The track starts to descend gently towards the ford at the bottom of Charleton Gill, called Charleton Wath. However, keep a look out on the right for a small bridleway marker on a short post. The old marker a very short signpost "Public Bridleway Great Sca Fell 2¼ miles" may have gone now. Bear right off the old road onto the faint path pointed to by the marker, it then gradually swings right alongside the deep cleft of Charleton Gill. Climbing gradually you soon pass the little ridge of Saddleback in the fenced off area trying to divert the flow of the beck.
Continue following the, now clear, track. When the gill splits it follows the right hand branch in a sort of gully. Keep left overlooking the gill itself, and at its head bear left to cross just above.
The path becomes much narrower but is still easily followed. Continue up the zigzag and onto a shelf in the grass slopes. Let it gradually swing you left to meet the track from Brae Fell on the left, where you then turn right up to Little Sca Fell.
The summit of Little Sca Fell has a substantial cairn and slightly sunken windshelter.
From Little Sca Fell bear left and continue on the path down into the depression, and then climb up to the small cairn on the top of the next bump. This is the summit of Great Sca Fell and has a slightly disappointing edifice compared to that on its smaller brother.
The cairn sits on a sort of cross-roads of paths, turn right westwards across the domed summit, and then start to descend. Ahead and below is Meal Fell. The path bears left slightly then dropping quite steeply to the col. Climb the other side.
The summit area of Meal Fell is a more complicated affair than either of the two previous with three tops of similar height. First reached is a small cairn, then bearing slightly to the left perched on an outcrop is a circular windshelter marking the summit itself. From there, to the right is another small cairn overlooking the way on to Trusmadoor. In the area between the three are a few small tarns, or muddy puddles.
From the windshelter bear right to the third and western most cairn, then bear left on a narrow path through the grass. Drop down, with a little heather making an appearance, to the head of Trusmadoor, just above Burntod Gill. You will return here after visiting Great Cockup.
Continue up the other side, first bearing left and then right to climb up along the edge of the ravine, and surprisingly on the first rocky path which comprises of Skiddaw Slate.
Follow the path as it bears left away from the ravine, crosses mossy damp ground, before climbing to the small summit cairn surrounded by almost prostrate heather. Another cairn visible to the right of the summit is lower.
Whilst you could descend the grass slopes northwards and join the track back to Longlands, it seems more interesting to return to Trusmadoor to walk through it. So retrace your steps from the summit of Great Cockup and turn left at the head of Trusmadoor to pass the cairn and descend through the ravine.
Keep right at a reedy patch. A path to the left going over a few small hummocks looks tempting but swampy ground lies beyond before gaining the track. So keep right! Take a narrow slightly terraced path above a boggy patch, follow this round and down a spur of the north west flank of Meal Fell.
Approaching the River Ellen, bear right across the shoulder and cross the beck at the small ford. Continue ahead to join the ATV track. Follow it through the bracken, then on the outside of the enclosure walls, and all the way back to the gateway at Longlands. Turn left through the gate to the tarmac road.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Longlands, Lowthwaite, and Brae Fells||20m (22 yards) away|
|Binsey||3.2km (2.0 miles) away|
|Whitewater Dash - Dash Falls||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011