Mellbreak is a hill in the Western part of the English Lake District
and despite being surrounded on all sides by higher fells (the
Loweswater Fells, the High Stile Ridge and the Grasmoor Group), it
stands in isolation.
It is surrounded on three sides by a 'moat'
of deep marshy land and on the east side by the lake of Crummock Water.
The fell forms a partnership with the lake, running parallel to it,
falling sheer into it, and regularly providing the backdrop for pictures
The Western Fells occupy
a triangular sector of the Lake District, bordered by the River Cocker
to the north east and Wasdale to the south east. Westwards the hills
diminish toward the coastal plain of Cumberland.
At the central
hub of the high country are Great Gable and its satellites, while two
principal ridges fan out on either flank of Ennerdale, the western fells
in effect being a great horseshoe around this long wild valley.
Mellbreak and the other Loweswater Fells form the extremity of the
The Loweswater Fells have been compared to the digits of a hand,
radiating out south westward from the "palm" centred on Loweswater
From the west these are Burnbank Fell, Blake Fell, Gavel
Fell, Hen Comb and Mellbreak, the "thumb". To continue the hand
metaphor, the opposing thumb of Mellbreak is the tenuous northern
extremity of Starling Dodd, whilst the other Loweswater Fells are
satellites of Great Borne.
The fell has been likened (by Alfred
Wainwright and others) to the shape of an upturned boat, having north
and south tops of roughly equal height and a wide flat depression in
On the eastern side the steep slopes run down directly
to the shore of Crummock Water. Low Ling Crag, a rocky projection into
the lake, is a continuation of outcrops higher up. Other crags rim the
depression between the two tops.
The southern boundary is formed
by Scale Beck and its tributary Black Beck. Mellbreak has a third much
lower top overlooking this steep sided valley, Scale Kott (1,109 ft).
At the head of Black Beck is the connection to Starling Dodd,
running south west from Scale Knott. This could hardly be considered a
ridge in walking terms, since it begins at the foot of an 800 ft scree
slope on the northern flank of Starling Dodd.
To the west of
Mellbreak is the marshy valley of Mosedale, its beck flowing north to
Loweswater village. On the other side is the parallel ridge of Hen Comb.
The northern end of Mellbreak rises direct from the valley behind
the village, precipitous like a sand castle on a flat beach. From this
vantage point its steep gabled profile is an arresting sight. The
successive rock tiers of White, Dropping and Raven Crags complete the
Although the south top is slightly higher, at 512 m
(1,680 ft) it is the north top (509 m, 1,670 ft) that is the better
summit, being rocky and situated on the top of the crags that make up
the north face of the fell. Both carry substantial cairns, that of the
true summit being on grass.
The views are good from both summits,
a consequence of Mellbreak's isolation and great relative height. The
north top brings the Solway Firth into view, but otherwise the
differences are mainly confined to the foreground.
Rannerdale Knotts look impressive across the lake, an unexpected glimpse
of the Helvellyn range seen behind.
A popular route up the fell
is a path from the village of Loweswater that threads its way between
the crags and rocky outcrops on the north side. The north top is then
traversed to reach the summit.
A variation misses out the north
top, following a slanting path southwards along the Mosedale face to the
From the shore of Crummock Water an ascent can be
made following Pillar Rake, a diagonal breach in the central rim of
A direct climb of the south top direct is best achieved
from Buttermere village, starting along the Scale Force path before
making for Scale Knott.
routes near Mellbreak