Fiend's Fell

Fiend’s Fell

Fiend’s Fell is a hill situated on the East Fellside of the North Pennines a short distance south of the Hartside Café at the top of the A686.

Height (m): 634
Height (ft): 2080
Prominence (m): 27
Classification: Nuttall
Hill No: 2757
Grid Ref: NY643406
OS Map OL31
No. of Visits 1

In the Middle Ages Fiend’s Fell was the name given to what is today Cross Fell, the highest hill in the Pennine range. Legend has it that an exorcism (sometimes credited to St Augustine) was carried out and a cross planted on the summit. Presumably the evil spirits fled only five miles north-west along the watershed to find a new home on today’s Fiend’s Fell, a much lesser fell than Cross Fell it has to be said.

Fiend's Fell from below Knapside Hill
Fiend’s Fell from below Knapside Hill

Without doubt the easiest starting place for a walk up on to Fiend’s Fell is from the Hartside Café. Situated at the top of the Hartside Pass, the Hartside Café was England’s highest café. It was hugely popular in the summer months, especially with bikers. That was until a fire destroyed the café in March 2018. The site is now on the market, hopefully someone will buy it and restore and reopen it.

The Hartside Cafe backed by Fiend's Fell
The Hartside Cafe backed by Fiend’s Fell

The top of Fiend’s Fell is only three quarters of a mile south of the café. Less than 60m height in ascent is necessary to reach the summit though there is not much in the way of a path. The summit is marked by an Ordnance Survey trig point that was built in 1951. For some bizarre reason the Ordnance Survey database lists the trig point as Pasturehouse Farm, a farm a mile and a half away at the foot of the fellside.

The Pasturehouse Farm trig point on Fiend's Fell
The Pasturehouse Farm trig point on Fiend’s Fell

On a clear day the views are extensive and extend out to the Lake District to the west. Closer to hand the flanks of Melmerby Fell, backed by Cross Fell dominate to the south. To the north meanwhile the high ground continues on the other side of the pass towards Black Fell. Unfortunately on my only visit to date it was a bright but hazy day which restricted the long distance views.

Hazy view from Fiend's Fell
Hazy view from Fiend’s Fell

For walkers seeking a longer walk than the direct route from the cafe there are two alternatives that also include Melmerby Fell. One starts from the café but descends south along the road to take an enclosed track on the right that leads to the Maiden Way. This can then be followed all the way to Meg’s Cairn and thence over Melmerby Fell, Knapside Hilll and then Fiend’s Fell.

Fiend's Fell from the Maiden Way
Fiend’s Fell from the Maiden Way

The second option is to start from Gamblesby and join the old road which climbs up from Unthank to the café via Twotop Bridge. To turn this into a circular walk you can then head south to Melmerby Fell. From Knapside Hill drop down to Blea Scar and a fine track which leads down to Melmerby. From Melmerby it is then a simple case of walking back along the road to Gamblesby.


Fiend’s Fell Walks

2nd June 2007 – Distance 8.9 miles: Hartside Cafe – A686 – Maiden Way – Meg’s Cairn – Melmerby Fell – Knapside Hill – Fiend’s Fell – Hartside Cafe.
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