Cross Fell from Kirkland Walking

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. 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.

Looking north from Cross Fell  © Dan Bailey -
Looking north from Cross Fell

See our article on this route

Fetching Map

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.

This has been viewed 27,349 times

Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email