Low Fell is a fell in the
Lake District which overlooks Loweswater to the south and to the north
is bordered by its neighbour Fellbarrow. It is usually climbed from the
villages of Loweswater or Thackthwaite.
The fell has fairly steep
slopes to the south and east and is largely occupied by grassed
enclosures, although there are some rocky outcrops near the top.
The Western Fells occupy a triangular sector of the Lake District,
bordered by the River Cocker to the north east and Wasdale to the south
east. Westwards, the hills diminish towards the coastal plain of
At the central hub of the high country are Great
Gable and its satellites, while two principal ridges fan out on either
flank of Ennerdale, the western fells in effect being a great horseshoe
around this long wild valley. Low Fell and Fellbarrow stand remote from
the end of the northern arm.
Loweswater is unique amongst the
major lakes of the District in emptying towards the centre of the
National Park. Its waters flow out eastwards into Crummock Water before
beginning their northward journey as the Cocker. Loweswater does not
therefore represent any watershed between the fells on either side of
its valley as might be supposed from a quick glance at the map.
low ridge circuiting the western end of the lake joins Burnbank Fell to
Low Fell and Fellbarrow, confirming them as the last outpost of the
Low Fell and Fellbarrow form a ridge two miles
long with the somewhat contrarily named Low Fell being the higher.
Alfred Wainwright in his influential Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland
Fells was forced to estimate the elevation of Low Fell and considered it
(albeit doubtfully) to be inferior to Fellbarrow. New mapping by the
Ordnance Survey has now settled the issue. The lowest col on the ridge
occurs immediately south of Fellbarrow, and the intervening tops are
therefore usually considered satellites of Low Fell.These lower summits,
working southward, are Smithy Fell (1,296 ft) and Sourfoot Fell (1,350 ft).
The southern terminus of the ridge looking down on Loweswater
village, is rough on all sides, rising to a small neat top. This was
considered the summit by Wainwright, although again he was unsure and
ill-served by the maps of the time. Birkett refers to this 1,352 ft top
as Loweswater Fell, although without any particular justification.North
of this point is a slight depression before the smoother and more
elongated true summit.
A subsidiary ridge breaks off south-west
from Sourfoot Fell, crossing the slight hump of Loftbarrow before
reaching Darling Fell (1,282 ft). This stands over the northern shore of
Loweswater, about halfway up the lake. Between Darling Fell and Low Fell
is the little valley of Crabtree Beck.
In general, the western
slopes of the Low Fell ridge are long and gentle, while some rock
appears along the steeper eastern and southern flanks.
western boundary of the fell proper lies at Leady Moss, the low point on
the connecting ridge to Burnbank Fell. From here, the Dub Beck flows
into Loweswater while the Black Beck flows north-west into the River
The open fellside is encircled by a minor road which runs
from the shore of Loweswater north to Mosser.
In the east, the
slopes fall quickly to the cultivated lands of the broad Vale of Lorton.
Raven Crag below the summit and Watching Crag on Sourfoot Fell are the
Wainwright described the view from the lower
southern top, noting that two cairns lower down the southern face gave
better vantage points for the Loweswater Valley.
summit, there are views to Grasmoor, across the Lorton Vale and down the
Buttermere valley in which you can see Crummock Water and Buttermere.
Both tops are marked by cairns; the true summit top being on a small
outcrop amid short fell grass and large rocks.
The gentlest way
onto the ridge is from Thackthwaite in the Vale of Lorton. A footpath
leads away from the settlement climbing to the intake wall. Beyond is a
drove road, curving up the hillside to emerge at the top of Sourfoot
Fell. The ridge from here is easy.
An alternative start is from
the Mosser road, climbing Darling Fell before joining the main ridge.
Wainwright also suggests following Crabtree Beck for a direct ascent of
routes near Low Fell