Cross Fell, Great & Little Dun Fells

4 10 2021

Thu 29 Apr 21

At the end of April, I had a yen to get back to the Eden Valley – I’d had a brief visit to Dufton Pike and the hills above it late 2020 and found I really liked the quietness of the area.  I’d never done Cross Fell so decided now was the time to get on with it!

All photos:
my Zenith manual film SLR

I’d had a quick look at the map beforehand and decided on the route from the little village of Kirkland. I set off along the back lanes in my old Sunny for the village, hoping there was parking when I got there. Being used to the pandemonium in the Lakes nowadays, I’m always worried about parking.

I needn’t have worried – when I arrived, I found there was a lot of parking on the grass by the church – as it wasn’t a Sunday, I parked next to the only car parked there and set off. I soon passed another, bigger and completely empty carpark near a cottage at the start of the track.

The track I was taking to Cross Fell was an old track up to an old mining area and was very nice. The weather, however, was somewhat sketchy. You’d see a nasty cloud coming with precipitation hanging below it… and then it would arrive on the cold wind bringing long and nasty hail showers – brrrr! And there were lots of these clouds. Good job I wasn’t with Richard as he’d have wanted to abandon the walk!

Pretty soon, I was more out of the wind and more in the sun (between the hail showers) and the track was rising well up the fellside. I loved the look of this ridge to the left which I intend to descend another time and take a footpath directly back across the fields to the church…

I also loved this valley head between that ridge and mine…

Eventually (and it seemed a strenuous effort to get there – I must have been very unfit), I reached the area of the old mines…

From here, the path became sketchy after a bifurcation to the left which went around the aforeshown valleyhead. I continued uphill on the sketchy path across lots of bog – this bit was pretty tedious…

Finally, I got high enough to see Cross Fell’s summit plateau…

I’d been hoping to visit Greg’s Hut – a famous bothy on the hillside. However, I noticed I’d have to descend a short distance and re-ascend and I decided it was going to be a long day so I’d try and visit another time. Also, I could see a humdinger of a black cloud coming…

Instead, I went straight up the path which turned right for Cross Fell – I noticed someone heading down towards me – the only person I saw all day!

As I neared the edge of the summit plateau, I met the descending person – a nice lady also walking alone. We greeted each other and commented on the approaching storm cloud and then she continued off to go along the ridge above the valleyhead I’d been admiring.

I rushed on up to the plateau – the path was good again now and I’d passed the bogs. I was soon greeted by this cairn which was a good way from the summit but probably just marked the plateau edge. It was well-frozen!

I was going as fast as I could now and could see the huge summit cross-shelter – looking behind, the cloud was almost upon me. I was lucky and reached the shelter of the shelter 😉 I hid in the side away from the wind and waited for the hailstorm to pass while having a nice, warming coffee and an energy bar (much discounted from work 😉 )

When the shower had passed I was back in full sun and, being out of the wind, it was lovely and warm. I could have stayed there all day! But a lot of walking still awaited me…

I followed the path heading for the Dun Fells (Great and Little) and soon met another beautifully-built, frozen tower on the edge of the plateau…

well built and well-frozen cairn

From here, I joined part of the famously flagged Pennine Way path to Little Dun Fell. This looked a nice, shapely fell and turned out to be my favourite summit of the day…

Little Dun Fell – note the flagged walkway across the bogs – this is The Pennine Way after all!

Looking back to Cross Fell

I didn’t linger (I rarely linger on summits) and continued along another flagged walkway for Great Dun Fell. This fell is famous for its Air Traffic Control radar station and I’d been dying to visit this as I see it from the train regularly.

Great Dun from Little Dun Fell (with an unseen drop and reascent)

Of course, the NATS radar station just HAS to cover the summit of the fell. To be honest though, Great Dun Fell doesn’t really look to have a summit as it’s too rounded. There are ‘keep-out’ notices at the radar station but, of course, no-one is up there so I ventured in for a look for the summit.

National Air Traffic Radar Station

After a quick tour round the outside of the station, I decided there wasn’t really any summit but I must have ‘done’ the fell by now so exited the security fence gate and set off down the road. My plan was to follow the radar station road to where a track turned off right to another old mine.

Very soon I changed my mind as I could see the road was going to take a very circuitous route to the mine and I was just above it. In the end, I followed the fenceline straight down (others look to have done the same) until I reached the mine just below…

The old ponds were photogenic but not so the buildings really so I just took this one photo looking back to Little Dun Fell and Cross Fell…

Old mines downslope of radar station

From here, there wasn’t really any track so I just headed cross country. I crossed a tongue on rough ground below Little Dun Fell as I believed from my quick look at the map that morning that there was a path went back to the valley in the next gill.

I took a photo looking back to Great Dun Fell from the tongue…

Around this point, I had another, proper look at the map. The track didn’t go down the gill at all – it went down the ridge under Cross Fell. I couldn’t be bothered with the re-ascent so headed off down the remainder of the tongue.

The descent ridge the actual track takes

I ended the tongue with an exceedingly steep descent to the beck down grass. It was lovely in the gill by the beckside and I had another quick break in the sun listening to the water chuckling along…

I noticed there was a path leaving the gill just by a load of sheep. I was sorry to upset them but the path was heading where I wanted to go!

As I rose up the fellside towards the wonderfully named and quite shapely Grumply Hill I took a final photo back to Great Dun Fell before it went out of sight…

Final look back to Great Dun Fell

Grumply Fell was a very short ascent from my side but a very long descent to the valley on the far side. It had a path all the way down though and this joined the path which I should really have come down at the foot of the hill.

From here it was about half a mile to a crossing path which took me back to Kirkland via a farm and ‘The Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony’. Now I’d heard about these years ago and was sure I’d visited before with my parents but I’m damned if I knew what I was looking for so may or may not have seen them on this walk!

After I passed the farm, I took a final photo back to Grumply Hill.

The wonderfully named Grumply Hill (my final hill) on the right from back at Kirkland village

By the time I reached the car I was pretty tired – it had been a long, hard day.

Stats: 12.5 miles, 5 hours 10

You’re reading a post by Mountain Coward. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow The Mountain Coward from my homepage


Actions

Information

18 responses

28 10 2021
tessapark1969

Managed to completely miss this, not sure how. Nice write up – an area I’ve never been to.

Like

29 10 2021
mountaincoward

It’s an area I’m getting quite keen on – especially the quiet carparks!

Like

10 10 2021
underswansea

I very much enjoyed your photos and write-up. The way the ice is in the cairns suggest there must be some damn strong winds flowing across the landscape up there. I would have liked to have seen a closer shot of the cross shelter where you let the storm pass. Very fine post. Take care.

Like

10 10 2021
mountaincoward

Well after I’d left the shelter and was about to descend off the summit plateau, I thought I should have taken a photo of the cross shelter. Sorry but I didn’t feel like going all the way back across the plateau again to get it!

There are very strong and very cold winds up there as the ridge is very exposed – it’s the backbone of England after all!

Like

6 10 2021
surfnslide

It reminds me I haven’t been up Cross Fell since 1986! I really should get back there. I’ve done most of the smaller peaks round there (Dufton and Knock Pikes) but strangely I’ve never seen High Cup Nick. Something else I need to put right as well as setting foot on the brilliantly named Grumply Hill 😀

Like

6 10 2021
mountaincoward

High Cup Nick should be my next post along with Murton Pike. I had superb weather for them and so the photos are nice 🙂

Liked by 1 person

5 10 2021
Alli Templeton

A hard day, but well worth it by the looks of it, Carol. A fantastic hike with lots of interest to see along the way. I love the look of those frozen cairns, and your brilliantly named Grumply Hill! I was also intrigued by the Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony, so I had to google them. I found out they’re medieval ‘lynchets’, or cultivation terraces, so that was an added bonus for me too!
I wonder if the lady you passed was the owner of the car you parked next to…? How lovely to find such a peaceful wilderness to walk in. No wonder you wanted to go back to the Eden Valley. A cracking read, and great photos, as always. 🙂

Like

6 10 2021
mountaincoward

You’ve just saved me a Google as I was just thinking it was about time I refreshed my memory about the Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony.

Good point about the other lady – it quite probably was her car and she may well have been taking the descent ridge I want to use next time!

I’m getting to really like the walking over there and it’s only about a 30 mile drive for me and on pretty good roads. My next post is just along the ridge and much more exciting!

Liked by 1 person

9 10 2021
Alli Templeton

Looking forward to your next post, then. It must be lovely to have another great place to walk just half an hour away. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

9 10 2021
mountaincoward

and especially a quiet place to walk with great parking! 🙂

Like

5 10 2021
chrissiedixie

Lovely round there, isn’t it? Been over three times now and stayed overnight in Greg’s Hut twice and camped outside it once…

Like

5 10 2021
mountaincoward

I’d like a night in Greg’s Hut – I’m sure I will one day. I also need to take Richard up Cross Fell but need to find a route which is wholly on paths and shorter as he doesn’t do the rough, cross-country stuff!

Liked by 1 person

5 10 2021
Diana

Beautiful! I love the atmosphere the clouds provide to the landscape.

Like

5 10 2021
mountaincoward

We rarely have clear skies here – always interesting light and clouds. The weather can get pretty interesting too!

Liked by 1 person

4 10 2021
bob

Well done Carol. Did the same route, more or less, a few years ago with Alex and friends and it felt a large exposed ridge line then, notorious for fierce winds on occasions. You get a glimpse of how exposed and serious the Pennine Way actually is, despite it’s lowly altitude in world mountain terms as there’s very little shelter up there in grim conditions with the deepest bogs I’ve ever fell into ( chest deep and still sinking further when I grabbed the nearest solid edge in a foolish detour away from the flagstone pavement elsewhere along it in Northumbria. A big day out with few folk usually encountered.

Like

5 10 2021
mountaincoward

Yikes to the deep bog! That is deep – very scary. I did a lot of off-piste on a later visit behind Murton Pike on my way to High Cup Nick as there were two slight ‘summits’ which I thought I should bag. One was in the danger area but I persisted in looking for it – not sure I ever found it though! I don’t think the military have ever done anything that side of the next valley anyway as most of the Warcop Range is across that valley…

Like

4 10 2021
Bitchy After 60

That was quite the day. The photos are wonderful. Between hail showers, dark clouds and some warm sun, it must be a challenge to know what to wear when planning those hikes.

Like

5 10 2021
mountaincoward

You pretty much have to take everything clotheswise. I don’t carry it all in a bag though – I just tie it all round my middle. Pretty easy to take it on and off then as the weather changes rapidly and often.

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




%d bloggers like this: