After several weeks preparation, technique honing and stamina building -today saw the ascent on Deadwater Fell – the significant hill overlooking Kielder which sports a ray-dome, many antennae and various buildings on its summit.
The day was cool, early morning haze promising to burn off and M had prepared the essential Walking Bread for the summit snack.
The team set off on the easy, level path following the old disused Borders County Railway line out of Kielder village – heading Scotland ward through the ever improving early mist.
After a mile and thoroughly warmed up the group crossed the main road and started up the forest track that would lead them a further 2.5 miles to the summit. No feeding sheep to welcome us onto the first slope or the day so it was best pole forward and up, up, up.
Base camp was at Cattle Grid number 2 and a short break to rearrange clothing, slurp water and blow noses! Into the dark forest with a pair of buzzards squealing and circling above we started on the first Zig. A stiff climb around the bend to start the first Zag and another comfort break before the gradual ascent to Jimmy’s Hill gate and views down over the valley. Its surprising how fast we were ascending. Easy going underfoot, poles marching onwards and talk about the feast of bread soon to be taken.
Sweeping round the bend onto the next Zig and a rougher surface but ever upward. Swinging east again onto the next Zag and a long stiff climb through the trees that would bring us to Cattle Grid number 3 and the splitting of the route. Stunning views down to Kielder from our 390m high vantage point.
Todate this had been our highest point on our previous excursions, so with excitement mounting we turn left and headed up the steep track toward the summit – one of many false ones on the last stage of the journey. Accompanied only by the long string of giant power line poles we slowed the pace and started up. The ground was steep but dry, loose rocks and pebbles but easy going with the Nordic poles. Interspersed by several stops – purely to admire the view behind us – we headed ever on and ever up until our first glimpse of the ray dome that is such a significant feature of the summit.
The sight of this spurred the group on as the summit was now in reach, views back behind us were stunning and although a little misty the sun glinted of the lake below. The mist sat in the valleys and showed the beauty and splendour that is Kielder. All thoughts now were on the final push, some shelter and perhaps the walking bread ensconced deep in M’s rucksack.
There is a small dip prior to the windswept summit and this afforded the chance to put back on a layer or two before cresting the top and beholding the magnificence which is Deadwater summit.
Into the Specere shelter:
The summit reached and the team were well chuffed.