Clinging to the Kirk Fell Crags!

Wainwrights: Great Gable, Kirk Fell
Hewitts: Great Gable, Kirk Fell

Date walked: 09/08/2020

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 16km

Ascent: 1200m

Driving up the Wasdale road and arriving at the car park it seemed as if half the outdoor world had descended on Wasdale Head. But who could blame them on such a beautiful August day after lockdown. I had previously hiked the Mosedale Round and baled off at Black Sail pass so today Glenys and I started in reverse and tramped up to Black Sail in wonderful conditions. We were surprised to have the path to ourselves given the huge numbers back at the car park. Clearly Scafell Pike offered the bigger attraction. We gained height on the well-made trail and by 11am popped out onto the pass.

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The northern crags of Kirk Fell loomed above and I knew from my homework that there were some difficulties here. I intended to head directly for the skyline crags but as we struggled up the scree two climbers were descending on a path over to our left ( SE) so we headed that way. They told us that they had encountered a difficult loose rock band that was a bit hairy. Being macho we carried on and soon entered a red gully full of shifting scree offering unstable footing. After much gnashing of teeth and not a few naughty words we eventually clambered along a narrow exposed broken ledge and clawed our way onto the plateau. Never again - warning do not attempt this route. Stick to the rock ridge proper where the fence posts follow.

Kirk Fell from Red Pike.JPG
Kirk Fell, Great Gable and the Scafells from Red Pike.

After calming our nerves we strolled over the summit plateau and boulder field to Kirk Fell's N summit and then down passed the tarn and on to the S summit.

Great Gable.JPG
Great Gable from Kirk Fell.

By now it was really warm and Glenys' knees were playing up. As we stumbled down to Beck Head we met some walkers coming up. With Great Gable looming overhead and her knee not cooperating Glenys decided to descend to Burnthwaite and Wasdale Head. I carried on up Great Gable's NW ridge and after some mild scrambling in about 30 mins staggered onto the summit plateau.

Pillar group over Kirk Fell from Great Gable.

At last I had made it to the top of Great Gable, one of my sought after peaks. After wandering around and regaining some strength I descended the E trail to Sty Head on a really well-built path. The same cannot be said for the continuing path to Burnthwaite which is a tedious loose rocky horror for most of the way. I arrived back at the car park to find Glenys dozing! A superb day.

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User avatar
Location: Preston
Occupation: Technical Consultant
Interests: Cosmology, malt whisky, foreign travel, philosophy, scrambling, science
Activity: Stravaiging
Pub: Cross Keys, Gainford
Mountain: Sgurr na Ciche
Place: Knoydart
Gear: My penknife.
Member: None
Camera: Canon EOS 200D
Ideal day out: Grade 1- 3 scramble or ridge like Liathach, Sharp Edge, Jacks Rake, Tryfan, Bristly Ridge, An Teallach, Sgurr Thuilm (Skye), Aonach Eagach or Crib Goch.
Ambition: To live life to the full.
Munro rounds: 1

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 60
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 16
Wainwrights: 65
Hewitts: 73
Sub 2000: 27
Islands: 35
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Great Glen Way    Cape Wrath Trail    Affric Kintail Way    South Loch Ness Trail   

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Joined: Sep 29, 2014
Last visited: Jan 26, 2022
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