Walk                           :  Kirk Fell (2,630 ft) from Wasdale Head via Beck Head

Date                           :  15th July 2021

Weather                    :  Cloudless blue sky hot sun  @  24°C


Distance                   : 6.5 miles round trip

Time Taken              : 2 hour 30 mins  to summit


Which part of Lakeland is this walk situated


Terrain Overview





AW noted in the Kirk Fell section of Book 7 that the climb directly up the nose is the straightest and most direct climb in Lakeland and also the

steepest  - “ a relentless and unremitting treadmill, a turf clutching crawl not a walk”. Having seen this potential way of ascent up close and

personal he was not joking, it seems impossible and on such a boiling hot day like today, it was not surprising that we didn’t see anyone attempting

this route. We opted for one of two possible solutions to reach the summit … via the flank of Gavel Neese (on Great Gable) to Beck Head and then

a short scramble over Rib End or via the Black Sail Pass and Kirk Fell Crags, both of which present a less steep line of ascent



The free car parking just before you reach the Inn at Wasdale Head is the starting point for this walk. Its very busy – especially in weather like this

so you are will not always be guaranteed a space, however road side parking in various wider spots of the approach road can be used. Kirk Fell

and the direct path up its nose can clearly be seen and from this angle looks nothing too strenuous. Wait until you get closer before deciding to

opt for this route !!



As we walk towards the Inn and the start of the walk the days intended route along the Western face of Great Gable up to Beck Head is shown



Looking towards Pillar from the track



From the car park keep right past the Inn and make a sharp right turn at the signpost towards St Olafs Church




Following the track towards St Olafs Church



St Olafs Church



Past the Church and turn left through the hand gate to get on to the track that leads to Burnthwaite Farm



Heading towards Burnthwaite Farm



Looking across to the steep face of Stirrup Crag on Yewbarrow and Red Pike



Passing through Burnthwaite Farm and keep left as indicated to walk through a hand gate that gives access to the open fell side



Through the gate and turn right



The path heads out towards a footbridge that crosses Gable Beck



Crossing Gable Beck and keep left to get to the obvious path that climbs Gavel Neese



The start of the steep climb up Gavel Neese



Through a hand gate in the retaining wall and turn right



The path up to Beck Head skirts the base of the White Napes on Great Gable



Looking back to Wast Water from the path



The steep Eastern flank of Kirk Fell scarred by the trough of Ill Gill



As I started off by saying at the beginning of this blog about the nose of Kirk Fell being steep. This shot displays just how steep



The climb up Gavel Neese basically comprises of 2 parts, the very steep grass path at the start followed by the steep scree path. Fortunately the

grass part has been stepped so as to avoid erosion and assist with the climb



Looking East across to Broad Crag and Lingmell



We now reach the scree section of the climb. Its steep and by and large non too slippy, there are the odd areas where a little care is needed

but nothing too onerous



As Beck Head is approached the scree path levels out a little. The route of ascent to Kirk Fell via Rib End is seen on the left



Looking over the steep Southern flank of Great Gable across to Scafell and Lingmell



We reach the col at Beck Head and the North Western Fells peep over the horizon



The path up through the crags of Rib End is a lot easier than it looks. There are some parts where a little amount of rock handling is required



Sue pauses a short while before attempting the final climb up to the summit



After passing through the initial band of rock a grass path leads up to Kirk Fells North top, but this can be bypassed by keeping left on a decent

grass track that leads to the true summit on the South top



Looking back to Great Gable and Green Gable from the grass track to the summit



Looking East to Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Lingmell and Scafell from the grass track



Fairly soon the South top summit comes into view



Looking South to Wast Water and Burnmoor Tarn



A panoramic view of .. (l to r) Great Gable, Great End, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Lingmell and Scafell



The final few yards to the summit lies across a boulder field. The shelter cairn seen in the centre of shot



Made it !!! Sue tries to find some shade in the shelter cairn Click here for a 360 degree view from the summit … https://youtu.be/0GXh8gIyjeU



Looking across to the High Crag – High Stile – Red Pike ridge



Looking across to the Mosedale Horseshoe



Scafell Pike and a slightly misty Scafell



The magnificent Great Gable



A close up shot of Napes Needle on Great Gable



Team selfie on the summit



I venture over to the summit cairn about 20 yards away from the shelter, whilst Sue strikes her “Christ the Redeemer” pose



Looking down on to Haystacks from the summit cairn



As we journeyed back down we saw this couple who had somehow got lost coming down from Great Gable and ended up sliding down the

steep scree face … Definitely NOT recommended !!



Heading back to Wasdale Head



Almost back down now as the sun starts to drop behind Red Pike and Yewbarrow




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