Hesk Fell
Hesk Fell, with the Coniston Fells behind it. Viewed from Whit Fell.

Summits: Hesk Fell itself stands 1566’ above sea level. The chapter also includes a subsidiary summit, The Pike, at 1214’.

Volume: Book Eight: The Outlying Fells.

Date bagged: First visit: 2nd January 2015 (walk 91). Second visit: 23rd February 2019 (walk 159).

Hesk Fell summit
Hesk Fell summit

Bagged as number: First round: Numbers 285 and 286 of the full Wainwright round of 330. [ << Devoke Water circuit (282-4)  (287-8) Watch Hill >> ].

Second round: 189 and 190 of the 330. [ << Stainton Pike (188) (191) High Spy >> ]

Route of ascent and descent:  Came onto the route half a mile in, as it passed the lane to Woodend, but otherwise followed Wainwright’s suggested path up the fell (page 142-3 of volume 8); not that problems will arise if one deviates from the exact route. I carried on from Hesk Fell to The Pike, but after that, instead of retracing my steps as AW suggests, I tried heading straight down to the Duddon Valley below. This was not successful (see the walk 91 page).

Second visit: The ascent of Hesk Fell was started from the moor below Stainton Pike. This time, I retraced my steps to the col between The Pike and the parent fell, and then headed south for Holehouse Bridge. This is a much more agreeable way off — but it’s still a very long way from here to public transport (at Foxfield station): well over six miles from the summit.

Hesk Fell as seen from Woodend Height.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 140 of volume 8): “Hesk Fell has many shortcomings but at least has the one merit of honesty. Its appearance promises nothing at all of interest and the trudge to the featureless summit confirms first impressions. It is a massive grassy mound between the Duddon and Esk valleys, and dominates the Birker Fell road. A good view of the Scafell group is the only reward for its ascent. It is rarely climbed. A dependency, The Pike, has a certain charm of surroundings the parent fell lacks and has much the better summit.”

The Pike and Duddon Estuary
The Pike, with the Duddon estuary behind, seen from Hesk Fell.

What I say: After two visits now I still have little to add to that assessment, which seems fair enough to me. I have had more tedious ascents out of the 330 — Mungrisdale Common, Lank Rigg and Seatallan for sure — and Hesk Fell did at least not take that long, had good (as opposed to boggy) ground underfoot and, as Wainwright promises, a very good view. But it is a big grassy lump, is not really very near anywhere and you’re not going to get much in return for the effort it takes to reach it.

View from The Pike
View from the Pike. Caw and the Coniston fells behind the walkers.

The Pike is better, but not without problems of its own: access from Hesk Fell is made problematic by a wall and gate that are very hard to negotiate, and the first time I tried it, the descent of The Pike was very difficult. However, on a second visit, trying a more sensible line of descent, this was made much easier and better. But without a car, this is a long way from anywhere and all in all these are two summits that I’m glad are now done twice.

[ << Heron Pike     Heughscar Hill >> ]


2 Responses to “Hesk Fell”

  1. […] ‘Devoke Water circuit‘ including the very cute little tor of Seat How (pictured). Then Hesk Fell and its subsidiary, The Pike, were added to make five summits for the day. Despite chill winds and […]

  2. […] summits down in the south-west corner of the District, from the Whit Fell, Stainton Pike and Hesk Fell chapters of volume […]

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