A walk from Milburn over two shapely hills, Knock Pike and Burney Fell, in the shadow of Cross Fell. Excellent views but some steep ascents and descents and some pathless sections make this a moderate to difficult walk.
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Over the course of the year I've been gradually finishing off completing all the 400m+ tops in the North Pennines that also have a prominence of over 30m. Burney Hill would have been the final one had I not discovered a couple of months earlier that Green Hill in East Allendale also qualifies for the list. In terms of finding a route on to Burney Hill I'd initially thought about bagging it at the end of a walk over Cross Fell, Little Dun Fell and Great Dun Fell. However, it felt wrong to tag it on to the end of a much longer (and more strenuous) walk where it would be treated almost as an afterthought.
In the end I came up with this route starting from Milburn which had the added bonus of a return visit to Knock Pike just a year and a half after my first and only previous visit. It was also dependent on good ground to get in and out of Knock Ore Gill.
"A fairly clear track formed which led me all the way down to Knock Ore Gill. As I descended I was relieved to see a clear path climbing up through the bracken on the far side of the gill."
Starting from the village green in Milburn I took the route of the Pennine Journey walk heading south-east out of the village. After passing a farm I crossed Milburn Beck and followed a strip of woodland from which I got a glimpse of the pond at High Slakes. Continuing on the path I came to Milburn Grange from where I decided to leave the route of the Pennine Journey and walk to Knock via the road.
Passing the Silverband villas and then the single street of Knock I then took the enclosed path heading north-east from Town Head Farm. When I'd passed down this path in the opposite direction the previous year it had been choked with drifts of snow making going very difficult indeed. Whilst not quite as bad this time it was still very overgrown in places and it was with some relief when I emerged on to more open country.
I continued to follow the path until I'd passed through the wall at NY689282. Turning left alongside the wall I then followed it to the 350m contour before turning right for a short steep pull on to the top of Knock Pike. As with neighbouring Dufton Pike, the summit of Knock Pike is untroubled by cairn or trig point. It is however a great place to appraise the Cross Fell range to the east and the Lakeland skyline to the west.
Descending north I skirted around the 350m contour ring, where a Highland cow was keeping a close eye on me, and descended to meet the track. After a brief detour to the right to look at the quarry I then followed the track north-west to meet the road that services the radar station on Great Dun Fell. Turning right on this I began a steady climb uphill with the slopes of Flagdaw on my right and to my left my next objective, Burney Hill.
I continued following the road uphill until I came to a cattle grid at grid reference NY696295. Crossing over the cattle grid I left the road to turn downhill past a series of sheepfolds. A fairly clear track formed which led me all the way down to Knock Ore Gill. As I descended I was relieved to see a clear path climbing up through the bracken on the far side of the gill. Had it not been for the existence of the path the next section would have been very awkward indeed.
Having successfully forded Knock Ore Gill I climbed up the path through the bracken until about the 414m spot height. Here I found a way across the wall. The other side was thankfully easy grass so I made a beeline for the narrow little grassy ridge climbing on to the top of Burney Hill. The summit was marked by a standing stone that had been concreted into the ground. On the stone was a plaque with the name of the hill and the year 2000. There was also the number 1402 and the initials T.K.C and O.C. I assume the initials are of the people who put the plaque up. My guess is that 1402 is supposed to be the hills height in feet (it is actually 1398ft high). Regardless it was a fine spot with more superb views of the Cross Fell range, better in fact than Knock Pike.
After lingering a while on the summit I descended in a south-westerly direction to reach a saddle with a little hill with a strange building on top of it. From the building I then headed downhill to take a closer look at the two dams below. From the northernmost dam I headed to a corner of fence and wall where I was able to climb over and access the nearby bridleway. Turning left on this it was then a straightforward walk of a mile or so back to Milburn.
This walk had exceeded expectations in two respects. Firstly, the path leading down into Knock Ore Gill and then back up the other side through the bracken proved to be a real help. Secondly, Burney Hill proved to be fine hill with a super little summit. It is a shame it is a bit awkward to get to but I guess it means that it is all the more likely to remain quiet and untroubled by visitors.