Murton Pike is magnificent. No matter how many times I climb this, the highest of the three pikes that seem to guard the Eden valley from the long ridge of the Pennines, I never fail to be impressed.
We hadn’t been up the Pike since before lockdown and Sunday was a good clear day, with terrific views across the Eden Valley to the fells of Lakeland.
The joy of the Pike is there’s an easy way up and some slightly stiffer approaches. Follow the track up from the Murton village (free) car park and you wind your way around the back of the Pike to strike an easy path to the top. But you can just go for it. Take the direct ascent from Murton – though there’s a groove to be negotiated – or climb steadily and steeply up on the Murton Side of Murton Crag. Or Jackdaw Crag as I like to think of it, for those birds seem to nest and congregate there – so no scrambling by the rockface during the nesting season please.
A couple of years ago, the Ministry of Defence made a land grab on Murton Pike and the moorlands around, as an extension to their already massive Warcop Range, depriving local farmers of their Common Rights. This was rightly opposed by both access and farming organisations as well as local villagers. At the moment it doesn’t infringe on your rights to climb Murton Pike.
At the moment….
The MoD baffle me. Despite the fact that we now have the smallest army in a century, they are still land-grabbing and already have almost as much land as during the height of National Service – around ONE MILLION ACRES in fact if you add together what they own and what they lease.
They cut troop numbers, mothball tanks, reduce the navy and air force, but hardly ever give up any land.
Perhaps the time has come when the Ramblers and other outdoor organisations started a hard-hitting campaign to roll back this empire-building.
Well, we took the hard trudge up by Murton Crag to get to the top of Murton Pike, which made me realise how much I’m lacking in hill-fitness, thanks to lockdown.
But it was worth it. The view was terrific. We had the summit to ourselves as we usually do, for these hills are not as crowded as the Lakeland tops.
I’m getting a bit old for campaigning, so perhaps some younger campaigners could take up the gauntlet and make sure the MoD only holds on to the land it actually needs