Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell

TWO Wainwright circular walk: Bleaberry Fell and Walla Crag

Walk Rating:⭐⭐

Time: 3 - 4 hours 

Parking: limited free spaces in lay-by on the main A591 road at Nest Brow or walk to the start of the route at Rakefoot from the centre of Keswick.

Walla Crag and Bleaberrry Fell from Lodore

Bleaberry Fell is a heathery height standing at the end of the central ridge of fells running northwards from Ullscarf, with the crag to its north, overlooking Keswick, listed separately by Wainwright as Walla Crag.

A circular walk to these two 'Wainwrights' provides good views and, for the most part, more solid ground underfoot than the notoriously marshy slopes offered by the fells that stand further south along the ridge. However, that's not to say that the last part of this walk is entirely dry, so wear good boots!

Strava estimates a walking distance of 10 km

1. To start the walk, you need to make your way to Rakefoot, near to the Castlerigg Farm campsite. From Keswick, you can take a path along the Brockle Beck. From the A 591, you can either walk up the road from the Rakefoot bus stop or take the footpath that skirts around the other side of the campsite. Then take the track heading south but make sure to bear right to Walla Crag on the path running next to the stone wall, rather than straight upwards towards Bleaberry Fell.

Keswick to your right as you walk up from Rakefoot

2. The path heads up the slope alongside the wall. When it reaches the top of the crag, cross through the wall by a kissing gate and walk along the top of the crags to get the best views.

The view to the north-west, over Keswick

The view to the west, over Derwent Water

3. Once you have taken in the views, cross back over the stone wall running behind the crag and look for the path that heads south across the heather, then rises up towards Bleaberry Fell. It was restored by 'Fix the Fells' in 2014 so should now avoid too much boggy ground.

Walk across the heathery ground beneath the fell

4. The path makes its way clearly through the heather on gravelly soil then, as it turns eastwards and makes its way more steeply up the final climb to the top of the fell, there is also some paved rock.

Climb up the paved path to the top of Bleaberry Fell

5. The path comes out at a cairn marking a good viewpoint back over Walla Crag.

Looking back towards Walla Crag

6. A short way further on, the actual summit of Bleaberry Fell (1932'), is marked by a stone wind shelter.

The wind shelter on the summit of the fell

7. To descend via a different route, return to the cairn marking the initial viewpoint, then make your way right, descending a slight gully to the east until you reach the beginnings of Brockle Beck. Follow a sometimes sketchy path that follows the beck down across Low Moss. This section can be wet underfoot, whether you have found the path or not!

The path across Low Moss passes by this ruined cottage

8. The path becomes clearer and passes in front of a ruined gamekeeper's cottage. From here, bear right, rather than ahead towards Walla Crag, and you will pick up the track that takes you back to Rakefoot and the start of the walk.

Harvesting bilberries (at a location that I'm not sharing!)

Worth knowing: Bleaberry Fell must have been named after its bilberries, although they are no longer in particular abundance on this fell today. At the right time of year, ripe bilberries can certainly be found here, for example at the top of Walla Crag, but sheep and birds will usually have found most of them before humans do!

Bilberry harvesting is slow work, so the blackberries that grow plentifully in the hedgerows, for example along the minor road leading to Rakefoot, will make easier pickings. However, patient work at locations that are more off the beaten track than Walla Crag can certainly yield enough fruit to make a very nice bilberry tart!

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