The upper reaches of Flat Fell may not be amongst the most exciting of summits, but the fell is bordered to the east by the very attractive valley of Nannycatch Beck, while Flatfell Screes and the rock formations above them can easily be visited from above and below on a satisfying circuit. The summit itself is a nice place to be on a sunny day, with decent sea views, but this walk isn't suited for a foggy day as the section above the crags lacks a really clear path.
Length: 3.5 miles
Map: Lakes North-West
Last Walked: June 2014
We start from a small car park at the head of Nannycatch Road. To reach this head east along the road from Cleator Moor to Ennerdale Bridge. After leaving the A5086 this road drops down Wath Brow then crosses a bridge over the River Ehen. Ignore the first right turn after the bridge, and take the second right (passing a water board building - if you reach a sharp left turn in the road you've missed the turn). Follow Nannycatch Road all the way to the end - the car park is on the right.
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Turn right out of the car park onto the rough track that continues on in the same direction as Nannycatch Road. Follow this track east all the way down the valley to Nannycatch Gate. The track is clear for most of the way, although there is a faint patch near the start.
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Nannycatch Gate is effectively a 'T Junction' in the valleys, with our side valley running into the Nannycatch Valley between Raven Crag and the southern end
of the Flatfell crags. Turn left here and follow a NT permissive footpath that runs alongside Nannycatch Beck (one very muddy patch has recently been repaired). Follow this path as it runs under the Flatfell Screes.
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At the northern end of the valley it splits in two and our permissive path joins a public right of way. Turn left onto this path and follow it as it runs past the wet head of the valley then climbs up the north-eastern corner of Flat Fell.
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Towards the top of the climb we reach a paved section of path. At this point turn left and head across the grass to reach the screes from above. A number of paths run above the screes - be aware that some are sheep tracks and go into difficult corners (be especially careful in fog). Follow these paths all the way along the top of the crags above the screes.
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At the end of the crags it is worth dropping down slightly to reach the south-eastern corner of the fell, where a grassy spur sits above Nannycatch Gate. After this turn back and climb straight up the hillside to reach the large flat summit area of Flat Fell. There are two summits with a shallow dip between them. Head west from the lower eastern summit towards the higher western one, eventually picking up a faint path.
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This path continues past the summit. Follow it as it runs down the western slopes of the fell, heading almost directly towards the car park. The path eventually fades away, but by this point we are close to the original track - join the track, turn right and follow it back to our starting point.