Return to Murton Pike

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.

Murton Pike Summit, looking towards Lakeland (c) John Bainbridge 2020

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.

Ascent by Murton Crag (c) John Bainbridge 2020

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.

The easy way down (c) John Bainbridge 2020

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.

Murton Crag (c) John Bainbridge 2020


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


Published by John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.

13 thoughts on “Return to Murton Pike

  1. I think I’d go up the steep way and down the gentle – that’s my usual approach. I’ve actually been considering coming over your way to do some of the ‘pikes’ you have. Mainly because the Lakes is still horribly busy and I’m getting truly fed up of it all now. Parking is impossible until around 1600 (good job I walk fast). I’ve heard of folk arriving to park just after 0800 and not getting a place anywhere and having to go back home or back to their accommodation.

    Are your car parks quieter over there? and your fells? I did Souther Fell, Blencathra, Bannerdale Crags and Bowscale Fell today. Blencathra was horrid – just far too many ravening hordes. As soon as I escaped down the back of the hill to go to Bannerdale, I could feel peace almost physically descend on me and my black mood lifted. Didn’t help the A66 was more or less shut in our direction and it took me half an hour of sitting more or less in one spot before I could turn off for Mungrisedale. It was still a ‘carpark’ 4 hours later!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always quieter over here, though Dufton can get busy at fine weekends with bucket listers doing High Cup Nick . There are usually few walkers about, and they tend to disappear on weekdays. Most of the Nick walkers do the Pennine WAy route. But the fells tend to be empty away from the Nick. You can of course do the Nick from Murton which is a quieter route and take in Murton Pike on the way


      1. Yeah I was wanting to combine the Nick with the Pike in front of it. Thanks for the info – sounds much better over there. I’m really hoping things quieten down over here soon – it’s getting oppressive!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Take the direct route to the top of the Pike, then the easier path down the other side until a wide track is reached. Turn left and follow to its end. Then narrower paths across to the Nick.


  2. Glad you made it to the top John, you can’t be that unfit.
    As for campaigning I think it would be a good time for some mass trespassing whilst “They cut troop numbers, mothball tanks, reduce the navy and air force” There would be little resistance.
    Mountaincoward – just had a Bank Holiday walk with no parking problems and only four other persons encountered in northern Bowland. Wouldn’t dream of driving up to the Lakes at present, much as I love them.

    Liked by 1 person

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