On Murton Pike

A few years ago we climbed Murton Pike, one of the great heights of the district, where the Eden valley meets the Pennines. But we were robbed of the view from the summit by the thickest of mists.

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The Eden Valley From Murton Pike (c) John Bainbridge 2017

We’ve kept meaning to try it again, though going up Lakeland and Scottish fells kind of edged it to one side.

But there is Murton Pike. I see it in the distance every time I go to post a letter.

Today was a wonderful morning, with the recent snow now only lying in patches, adding a beautiful striped white colouring to the brown and grey of the Pennines. I’d spent much of the week writing the end chapters of my new Robin Hood novel, the third in what will be a tetralogy, so I think we earned a trip out.

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Murton Crag (c) John Bainbridge 2017

We walked up from the little village of Murton, taking the track that winds around the back of the Pike. Such a vast landscape this – a true feeling of wilderness in one direction, then the greener vale of the River Eden across to more wildness beyond Kirkby Stephen and then the distant Wild Boar Fell.

Murton Crag is a fine stretch of rocks above the track. It would have been quite a temptation in my rock-climbing days. But now it’s the home of lots of nesting jackdaws, so probably best avoided during the nesting season.

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High Cup Nick from Murton Pike (c) John Bainbridge 2017

Across the Murton Beck, a reminder that this was once an industrial area. There are the White Mines where lead and then barytes were worked, with the hush or artifical gorge quite prominent.

It’s not a difficult climb, a gentle ascent on a good track, and then a grassy path climbing steeply to the summit.

It is one heck of a viewpoint. In the distance today – the Lakeland Fells, the great height of Blencathra still bearing snow, and the long white ridge of the Shap Fells. Behind us the great cleft of High Cup Nick.

Real summit fever on the top and with those views it was hard to tear ourselves away.

We met a local walker from Murton on the top. He was concerned that the army are casting greedy eyes on the hills in this direction as an extension to the Warcop Firing Range, which would severely limit public access.

The MoD already have a considerable portion of the North Pennines. Given the recent cuts to our armed services, should their Land Estates Department be even considering an expensive land grab when our troops are starved of equipment?

We took the straight down descent to Murton, steep but a very good narrow grassy path. Hard to keep watching where you put your feet when the views are as clear and extensive as this.

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The Lakeland Fells and Blencathra in the distance (c) John Bainbridge 2017

If you fancy an easy short walk do try going up Murton Pike.

But pick a clear day for those magnificent views.

For the more subversive ramblers among you – my book The Compleat Trespasser is going to be only 99 pence/cents for Kindle apps for smartphones or Kindle devices from this Sunday 26/3/17. Also available in paperback for a little more.  Just click on the link below from this Sunday.

“On a vagabonding tour through Britain’s most delightful countryside and forbidden tracts, Bainbridge charts the history of access and assesses the present state of the law. Villainous landowners feature; so do the likes of GHB Ward and CEM Joad, calling at rallies for access to mountain and moor. Gamekeepers, spring-guns and mass trespasses also get a look-in. Redolent of country air, with nature and archaeology dealt with in graphic style, the book evokes the age of campaigns before words like ‘stakeholder’ and ‘partnership’ were hatched out. The author lends his support to the England Coast Path campaign and calls for the Scottish access model to be extended throughout Britain. It’s thought-provoking stuff and well worth a read.”


7 thoughts on “On Murton Pike

  1. Have you changed something? I had to click again to actually go onto your site to comment whereas I used to just comment from my WordPress Reader page after I’d read it. Weird. Could be WordPress messing around though – they’ve changed a lot of stuff to the reader recently.

    All 3 of those pikes look nice. But I always go up steep and go down gentle so I think I’d do that the other way around.

    I think the MOD would be truly out of order buying up more land after cutting down the forces to the bare minimum!


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