Fendrith Hill

Fendrith Hill

Fendrith Hill is a subsidiary of Chapelfell Top and has just enough prominence to be classed as a summit in its own right.

Height (m): 697
Height (ft): 2287
Prominence (m): 16
Classification: Nuttall
Hill No: 2724
Grid Ref: NY877333
OS Map OL31
No. of Visits 3

With a prominence of 16m from Chapelfell Top a mile to the north, Fendrith Hill achieves just enough prominence to be included on the Nuttall list of English mountains. It should be noted that the Nuttall’s minimum requirements of 15m (50ft) of prominence is half that of most lists of British hills which tend to use 30m (100ft) prominence as standard.

The view of Fendrith Hill from Dora's Seat
The view of Fendrith Hill from Dora’s Seat

Whereas Chapelfell Top favours the Weardale side of the Tees / Wear watershed, the opposite is the case of Fendrith Hill. It is certainly more prominent in views from the Teesdale side. That said perhaps the most impressive view of Fendrith Hill is from Blackhill Edge where it can be seen rearing impressively at the head of the side valley of Swin Hope.

Fendrith Hill as seen from Cronkley Fell in Teesdale
Fendrith Hill as seen from Cronkley Fell in Teesdale

Perhaps the best route on to Fendrith Hill from the Teesdale side is to take the good track from Forest-in-Teesdale passing High Hurth Scar on its way to the shallow quarry and prominent cairns at Church Bowers. From there it is a short climb uphill to the summit. A high level approach, with little climbing required, is to try and park a car at the roadside at Swinhope Head. From there it is a mile and a third of reasonably easy walking following the south side of the wall and fence. It should be noted that the road to Swinhope Head is very narrow with very few passing places in the event of a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction.

The prominent cairns at Church Bowers
The prominent cairns at Church Bowers

This route crosses the minor bump of Dora’s Seat. Between Dora’s Seat and the summit there can be seen the ski tows of the Weardale Ski Club. When the peaty ground below the ski tows is viewed in dry conditions it seems impossible that anyone could ski over that ground but apparently they do!

The ski tows on Fendrith Hill
The ski tows on Fendrith Hill

Other routes to Fendrith Hill would generally cross over Chapelfell Top. The two summits are connected by a wide shallow ditch. The mile walk between the two can be testing, particularly in wet conditions. In places the floor of the ditch is stony and easy to walk along. In other places it is very moist and it is best to walk above it.

The wide ditch connecting Chapelfell Top and Fendrith Hill
The wide ditch connecting Chapelfell Top and Fendrith Hill

Fendrith Hill is, in many ways, a more satisfying summit than its parent fell. Although the summit area can be moist it is not as eroded and peaty as Chapelfell Top. The highest point is marked by a small pile of stones close to a fence corner. The nearby Ordnance Survey trig point is a fraction lower but is likely to draw more attention.

The small pile of stones marking the highest point with the trig point in the background
The small pile of stones marking the highest point with the trig point in the background

The view from Fendrith Hill is also better than Chapelfell Top. While it may not be quite as extensive, sections of Teesdale can be seen which adds more depth to the views west. Particuarly prominent are the views of Mickle Fell, Meldon Hill, the Dun fells and Cross Fell.

The trig point on Fendrith Hill looking towards Cross Fell and Burnhope Seat
The trig point on Fendrith Hill looking towards Cross Fell and Burnhope Seat

Fendrith Hill Walks

20th August 2020 – Distance: 9.5 miles: Westgate – Swinhopeburn – New Close – Blackhill Edge – Swinhope Head – Dora’s Seat – Fendrith Hill – Chapelfell Top – Cleugh Head – Windyside Pastures – Westgate.
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8th September 2018 – Distance: 10.7 miles: Forest-in-Teesdale – High Hurth Scar – Church Bowers – Harthope Bank Quarry – Harthope Head Quarry – Chapelfell Top – Fendrith Hill – Dora’s Seat – Swinhope Head – EttersgilL Common – Bank Top – Forest-in-Teesdale.
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6th March 2007 – Distance: 8.0 miles: Swinhope Bridge – Cockran’s Cabin – Chapelfell Top – Fendrith Hill – Dora’s Seat – Westernhope Moor – Swinhopehead House – Swinhope Bridge.
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