I can’t take credit for formulising this route – such an honour should go to Jack Keighley and his ‘Walking in the Forest of Bowland’ book. My variation is almost identical apart from the start off point; we began at the centre of the village of Chipping whereas Mr. Keighley starts the walk at Fell Foot.
From here it is a mile and three quarters’ walk to Wolfen Hall before turning left and heading up the gentle, almost unnoticeable slope towards Fell Foot and then bearing right with the Parlick aspect of the massif on our left hand side. Our first encounter with mud was here as we traversed a muddy field containing a few ducks, the odd sheep and a number of Greylag geese when I was last here – fortunately they were in a passive mood and not even attacking each other – let alone us – so be warned!
A somewhat muddy traverse of the paddock akin to Wolfen Hall leads to a section of grass, mud and a splash or two of water as a footbridge exists to carry us on our route towards Saddle End Farm. The grassy meadow is a joy to walk across but be wary of standing on small rocks and pebbles that remain mercilessly well hidden and lie in wait to twist unsuspecting ankles! Five minutes walking in an easterly direction will have you in the immediate vicinity of the Saddle End Farm complex…thankfully there are signposts aplenty to guide us on our route up Saddle Fell, essentially when you see two tracks leading generally north away from the complex take the left hand one (as the other is heading for Burnslack). The track starts off blatantly enough then becomes quite vague but this need not concern you…continue to head NNE but admire the views on your left across Greenlough Clough to Parlick that are simply stunning!
After some distance, probably thirty minutes at a pretty fast pace you should see a minor division of the tracks and a big (but neat) cairn with a pole sticking out of the middle of it…they build cairns to a standard in these parts, the central pole seemingly gives the would-be placer of an additional stone something at which they could aim! Given the size of some cairns on some hills (Ingleborough and Pendle Hill) perhaps this practice could be taken up elsewhere? All the same, it is not easy to ascertain if this marks the summit of Saddle Fell here, the ground is pretty level for a good distance. We continue in a northern direction until a mighty wooden fence style comes into view. This is the access point to Wolf Fell – peat hag land!
Walking across Wolf Fell is weird, other-worldly weird. The ground looks like it has been burned in many places but this is one of the wettest places in England! Sandstone and Grit-stone seemingly compete for prevalence and the peat hags are outstanding.