Cross Fell from Kirkland

by Dan Bailey - ? Oct/2011
This route has been read 4,861 times

WalkingCross Fell from Kirkland

Cumbria, ENGLAND

google map Graded moderate ?

Voting 4*
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Distance 8.54 miles (13.75 km)

Total ascent 693m

Steepest climb 20% (1 in 5)

Time 4:30 hours (Walking)

Start/finish Car park at the road end in Kirkland, NY650326

Summits included en route:
Hill Cross Fell 893 m

Nearest town Penrith

Terrain A farm track to start, and then a clear footpath joining with the Pennine Way for the final slightly soggy summit climb. In poor visibility cairns lead off the featureless summit plateau. The descent path is less well trodden and could be missed in places if it's misty.

Seasonal variations Its altitude and inland position give Cross Fell some of the coldest and snowiest conditions in England; not for nothing are the North Pennines known for their skiing. In wild winter weather the summit is a very unfriendly place and good navigation a must.

Weather and hill conditions mwis: Lake District

Public transport Rail to Penrith or Langwathby, then limited local bus services; but none to Kirkland itself.

Guidebooks Walking in Cumbria's Eden Valley, Vivienne Crow, pb. Cicerone

Maps OS Explorer OL31 (1:25,000), OS Landranger 91 (1:50,000)

Accommodation Dufton YHA 0845 371 9734
Kirkland Hall holiday cottages, conveniently located at the base of Cross Fell 01768 88295

Find more Classifieds near this route

Tourist info Appleby-in-Westmorland (017683 51177); Penrith (01768 867466); Alston Moor (01434 382 244)

The highest summit in England outside the Lake District, Cross Fell has a magnetism born of sheer mass. This great big brute of a hill dominates Cumbria's Eden Valley, forming the focal point of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As the widest and bleakest expanse of peat-ridden emptiness south of the Scottish border, 'beauty' is very much in the eye of the beholder here, but the stark scale has its own unique attraction. For more see this article. This fairly short circuit from Cross Fell's more accessible side gives a good flavour of the area, and on a clear day the views west to the Lakeland skyline are stunning.

Close this photo
+Looking north from Cross Fell, 119 kb
Looking north from Cross Fell


Detailed description

NY6505332530 From the Kirkland car park follow the farm track, basically a continuation of the road, heading through fields towards the foot of North Pennines, which rise like a great green wave ahead. The track becomes pretty rough underfoot as height is gained. Pass through a couple of gates, and climb around the north side of High Cap to reach the hummocks and hollows of a long abandoned mine working. Above this the track soon dwindles to a path, continuing roughly east over boggy moorland towards the squat summit dome of Cross Fell. It's further away than it looks. Nb. the bothy as marked on some OS maps is now just a ruined shell of corrugated iron. On a broad shoulder just north of Cross Fell, meet the well-trodden Pennine Way. At this point it is worth mentioning that there is still a fully functional bothy on Cross Fell, Greg's Hut: This is located next to the Pennine Way about 1km east of the path junction. For more info see
NY6837935187 Turn right onto the Pennine Way for the slightly soggy climb onto Cross Fell's wide, windy summit plateau. A trig point and stone walled windbreak mark the high point.

NY6872734306 Continue roughly east-southeast on the Pennine Way, its course indicated by occasional tall cairns. Just above the soggy saddle of Tees Head (where the River Tees is born) look out for a less-used path on the right.

NY6967833876 This makes a descending traverse across Cross Fell's secluded southern flank, with lovely views over the Eden Valley to the Lake District fells. On reaching the little escarpment of Wildboar Scar the path does a slight zigzag, then descends around the flank of the mini top Grumply Hill to follow a beck down to the walled pastures of the valley. Turn right onto a track through Ranbeck farm to return to Kirkland.

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