Looking at a map, High Seat looks easily enough climbed from Birkdale to the east but the Nuttalls’ book recommends coming at them from Outhgill to their west where they are guarded by the long, steep escarpment of Mallerstang Edge. I parked in the village centre on a triangle of grass close to the strange object known as the Jew Stone. This is a replica of a post, long since destroyed, set by local eccentric William Henry Mounsey (1808 - 1877) (nicknamed the Jew of Carlisle although not in fact Jewish) on nearby Black Fell Moss, covered in Latin and Greek inscriptions. If you keep going up the road there is a faint path from the top of it towards the hills. You can tell you’re on course soon after you leave the village if you pass by an odd step stile standing all along, to help you over a fence which may once have been here but no longer is. In good visibility look out for a large cairn visible on the skyline at the top of Mallerstang Edge. Leading up to this is a weakness is the escarpment where it can be breached by a short fight up extremely steep grass. From the cairn it’s another half kilometer or so to the summit of high seat but at a far more forgiving gradient. I say top, but there are lots of tops and anyone’s guess which is the highest. I dutifully visited all of them.
Now it’s an easy walk south to Archy Styrigg which also has more than one candidate for possible tophood. From here a path continues past a prominent stone tower to a cairn on the ridge of Hugh Seat from where a fence leads to the top. Nearby is Lady’s Pillar, a pile of stones erected in 1664 by the formidable Lady Anne Clifford to commemorate Sir Hugh de Morville of Mallerstang, one of the knights who murdered Thomas Beckett, after whom the hill is also named. From here the descent to Hell Gill Beck is pathless and a bit tedious. The Nuttalls recommend steering by a conspicuous stone man. On reaching the beck they recommend crossing it and following its right back downstream to Hell Gill Bridge. This I did though the pathless right bank is now covered in newly planted saplings and may not be so easy to follow when they are full grown. A bit before the bridge I met a little wood and followed its edge round to the right to pick up the Old Road that leads easily back to the B6259 which I followed back to where I had started.
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