Kirk Fell from Boat How

Kirk Fell as seen from Boat How.

Height: 2630 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 7 (The Western Fells)

Kirk Fell summit

Sheep and mist on Kirk Fell summit.

Date climbed: 29th July 2012 (walk 60b)

Bagged as number:  191 of 330. [ << High Crag (190)  (192) Great Gable >> ]

Route of ascent and descent:  Climbed up from Black Sail hut, via the pass of the same name and then up Kirkfell Crags. Left down to Beck Head and then went up Great Gable.

Kirk Fell from Wasdale Head

Kirk Fell pictured from Wasdale Head. Note the pub and the path  up the fell behind, the ‘straightest and steepest ascent in Lakeland’, according to Wainwright.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “Bland the southern aspect may be, but the dark north face is very different. Here, shadowed cliffs seam the upper slopes in a long escarpment, a playground for climbers, above rough declivities that go down to the Liza in Ennerdale. Linking with Great Gable is the depression of Beck Head in the east; westward is a counterpart in Black Sail Pass, linking with Pillar. And between is a broad undulating top, with tarns, the ruins of a wire fence, and twin summits: on the whole a rather disappointing ornamentation, a poor crown for so massive a plinth.”

What I say: The previous paragraph pretty much does cover Kirk Fell, it seemed to me. It’s shaped rather like a cake, with steep sides but a circular, flat and expansive plateau on top (a shape very apparent from Great Gable: see the picture below). Although the summit was not very inspiring – particularly bearing in mind the lousy weather which afflicted this whole walk – the climb up Kirkfell Crags provided a decent challenge, not as hard as (say) Yewbarrow or Pillar, but enough of an effort to give the ascent a sense of achievement.

Kirk Fell from Great Gable

The Kirk Fell ‘cake’, as seen from Great Gable.

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