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

 

 

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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