Sale Fell – The North Western Fells 1,170′ (70)
Date: 1 May 1988
From: Ling Fell
Strictly speaking – well, as a matter of geographical fact – there is no ridge route from Ling Fell, the western ‘Sentinel of Wythop’, but neither it nor Sale Fell were big enough to make an expedition to one only worth the time to pull on walking boots. To get across the valley, I followed the upper road, turned down the connecting road, and carried on up Wythop Vale with that unexpected view of Skiddaw ahead. A steep path led up beside a wall, making a bee-line for the ridge, but as it was hot and sultry at that point, I carried on to the farm before doubling back at a much easier angle to the point at the top of the wall, and up into the col. It came on to rain. And it rained hard. It was the worst storm I have ever been caught out in in the Lakes. Southwards, a walker was struck by lightning and killed on Great Rigg of the Fairfield Horseshoe. I could see maybe seven or eight yards, and that without any clarity as my glasses were useless and I stashed them in my anorak front pocket. On any larger fell, I would have abandoned the walk immediately, but this was Sale Fell and I refused to be beaten by something as low as that. I carried on, uphill, in a straight line, with no idea of where I was and not the least inkling of what others’ photos suggest was a very nice view. Eventually, the cairn, six or seven loosely piled stones, came into view. I walked up to it, circuited it and carried on walking, this time downhill, without pause. I probably never spent so little time on any other summit. By the time I reached the col, the storm had passed. I descended soddenly by the wall, then followed the lower valley road all the way back to the village, sitting on the parapet of the bridge, looking at the mill wheel, before hauling myself up and up the road back to my car. If transport were available to get to Wythop, maybe it’s still not too late to go back and catch the view from here.