Today we met up with Matt from MyPennines for a walk up to Clougha Pike, a hill we’ve visited many times, but always enjoy like it is the first visit. The weather was overcast and windy but forecast to brighten up later and knowing that Matt’s previous visits to Clougha Pike had been disappointing due to poor visibility, we tried to time it so that we’d visit the top when it was due to clear. This plan worked well because it did eventually clear up on the top of Cougha – although staying very windy.
We set off north-east bound along the old quarries at Birk Bank. I guess these paths were once used by horse and cart to transport stone (mostly for roofing flags) from the fells. After 250 years nature has now taken control again but left a decent track for walking. It is marked on the Ordnance Survey map but not as a footpath or bridleway.
After about 1k we reached Ottergear Bridge, which carries the Thirlmere Aqueduct over a small tributary of the River Conder. The Conder’s source is on Black Fell and it eventually opens up on the Lune Estuary.
After Ottergear we enter Clougha Access Land and started our ascent up the shooter’s track. At about 290m we made a brief detour to check out two adjacent cairns, and close by there is a set of three that we also stopped at. We then rejoined the shooter’s track and carried on a mile or so until we got to Andy Goldsworthy’s Clougha structures. Some people believe these to be called Three Chairs but this about 200ft south west. According to Goldworthy’s website they are called ‘Clougha Pike Chambers’.
After a lunch stop we made our way further up the shooter’s track to near to Cabin Flat where we turned onto Grit Fell. There is a single tree along the track which is a good landmark. From here we then took a detour to find a shelter marked on the map as Castle of Cold Comfort.
Next we carried on in a north-westerly direction to Clough Pike top. This section is usually very boggy but today was the driest I have ever known. We made good progress to the trig point and after a brief stop we descended along Clougha Scar.
Nearly half way down Matt realised he’d left a camera lens and bag at the top, so he had to walk back up. We would have loved to have gone back up with him but we were pushed for time… honest!
The final section of the walk follows a little stream in scenic wooded area that eventually leads back to Birk Bank Car Park on Rigg Lane. I wholeheartedly recommend this walk.
Along the way (things to look out for on your OS map)
Rigg Lane, Birk Bank, Andy Goldsworthy Clougha Sculpture, Grit Fell, Clougha, Clougha Scar, Fell End Fell, Little Windy Clough Windy Cough