The top of Hawthornthwaite Fell is flat and featureless. It is an extensive area of grassy bog and the occasional peaty pool. Faint tracks can be found next to the boundary fences that stretch over the wet moorland while odd footprints are evident in places where the few walkers have scrambled up and down the black peaty slopes near the intersection of fence and stream. This home of grouse and breeding sea gulls does not attract many visitors except when shooters swarm up the land rover tracks to the grouse butts. For many a mile the only hint of human activity are the fences but look back to the Fylde Blackpool Tower and Heysham Atomic Power Station will jolt you back to modern times. There are long views to Black Combe on the far edge of Morecambe Bay, to Ingelborough one of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire and on a very clear day to North Wales.
The surrounding soil and peat had been washed away leaving it standing not on firm ground but on a metre high column of stone and cement. Since then this process had continued - wind and weather had caused it to topple and the column now lies forlornly on the ground.
Grade: Mainly strenuous. Readers need to be competent with map and compass to undertake this walk.
Map by kind permission of Johnston Press
Directions: Starting from Stoops Bridge at Abbeystead, head towards Abbeystead Lake a short way then take a faint path left up through Hinberry Wood to Hawthornthwaite Farm. Then follow the quiet road
up the hill and turn right at the junction and follow the road down and along the pretty valley of the Cam Brook which drains the fell. At the second cattle grid the brook can be seen soming down the fell side and a shooters track can be seen on the eastern bank. This track is followed as far as it goes. When it ends there is good half mile of trackless but not too difficult walking on an easterly bearing which leads to the fence along the summit ridge which is the followed to the dead trig point.
The river walking provides a complete contrast to the moors and also gives you a view of the Duke of Westminster's opulent country residence
as you approach Abbeystead.