Talkin Fell

Distance: 7 kilometres (4.4 miles) • Ascent: 280 metres (920 feet) • Time needed: 2 1⁄2 hours (approx)


Start point: From Castle Carrock, follow the Geltsdale Road up the hill to reach the bend in the road at Jockey Shield (NY 558 556), where some verge parking is available.

From Jockey Shield follow the track downhill, passing the Open Access information panel. Cross Hynam Bridge, peer over the parapets to view the River Gelt, whatever the conditions a beautiful sight as it rushes excitedly through the bed- rock gorge.

Turn left and follow the access track to the entrance of Low Hynam, whereupon bear right up through the gate into Hynam Wood.

Arriving at the gate co-incident with Holme Gill, pass through and turn right within the lane. This lane, a category five road, starts from Talkin Head and is
accessible from Talkin village (where you’ll find the popular Blacksmith’s Arms). A further Open Access signboard is sited at the first bend.

At the next bend the valley view opens and sustains a lovely prospect for the duration of the between- walls climb. Initially one can see both Blencathra and Skiddaw to the right of Castle Carrock Fell.

The track opens at a gate betraying a change in the underlying geology. Over to the right the broken edge of a limestone quarry can be seen, the track undulates passing sink hollows, where surface water percolates into the bedrock, giving a further clue to the presence of limestone strata.

After arriving at a gate the green-way forks, keep ahead with the wall to your left, on a lovely turf trail. As the wall bears left leave the more obvious track, destined for rushes and the low saddle ahead. Veer up left beside the wall climbing towards the upper slopes of Talkin Fell. Cross a low fence at the top of the steep bank, keep the wall close left, walking through the young spartan heather, where the wall steps left follow suit on an evident path to cross the ladder-stile beside a sheep creep. Venture onto the summit of Talkin Fell, marked by an Ordnance Survey column.

Backtrack over the ladder-stile and at the wall corner take the left-hand forking path down through the part-burnt heather declining into the hollow. Pass the first gate and reach the second galvanised gate, defended by a marshy patch. Go through the gate and switch immediately up left beside the fence slipping through a shallow weakness on the low outcropping. Bear right onto the growing edge, with several small quarried bays evident. At the highest point one has a real sense of being on a gritstone edge, the kind of feature one may know from the eastern edges of the Peak District.

Where an area of burnt heather occurs one may branch left to reach the summit cairn of Simmerson Hill, with a ridge path running south, or simply stay with the edge declining on a broad grassy shelf to where a fence intervenes. Follow the quad-bike track down beside the fence, spot a circular sheepfold down to the right, with a mature rowan tree growing within.

On reaching the level green track at a gate, go right along the open green-way. Pass the solitary casual cairn to reach the track junction beside the wall.

Backtracking, continue with the wall-side green track to the kissing-gate – this may be removed autumn 2009, with the change of stocking in the valley, the flock of sheep being replaced by traditional herd of suckler cattle. The track pitches down the steep incline and passes High Hynam (currently undergoing re-development) coming beside the river to reach Hynam Bridge. From here it just a short walk up the track to the start point.


Always carry a camera with you.

Wear a sleeveless, insulated vest or gilet to boost core body warmth.

It is very important that both leather and fabric boots are dried properly after use in order to avoid a number of
problems. Leather can crack and shrink if dried too quickly. Remember that
even if the outside of the boots is dry the inner takes longer. Remove insoles after every walk so that the boot dries and smells less.


Words © Mark Richards


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