ACROSS BIRKER FELL

 


Summary

Date - 2nd May 2009 Distance - 8.9 miles
Ascent - 2420ft
Map - OL6 Start point - Birker Fell road by Freeze Beck (SD 184959)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Great Worm Crag 1400 427 SD 1937 9688
White How on Birker Fell 1457 444 SD 2050 9744
Green Crag 1604 489 SD 2001 9827
Crook Crag 1539 469 SD 1999 9874
Great Whinscale 1394 425 SD 1980 9896
Kepple Crag 1076 328 SD 1988 9990
Broad Crag on Birker Fell 1220 372 SD 1950 9784
Great Crag on Birker Fell 1109 338 SD 1864 9781

 

Preface

Shaun and Grizzly had arrived with the tea and biscuits. "Great", cheered Allen, as he went to get the mugs.

These were soon charged with steaming tea, and we all dived into the tuck tin.

"Wagon Wheels", cried Tetley. "It's a while since we had those. Lovely."

"Dark kit kats too", said Little Eric. "Just love them."

So content, Shaun mused, "it's bank holiday weekend. I wonder if Dad will be taking us walking?"

"Well the weather forecast is ok, so it is quite likely, but probably to some more remote area", replied Tetley.

"I'll go and ask", volunteered Allen, draining his mug.

"Ok pal" replied Shaun. "I'll give you a refill for when you get back. Can't have tea belly getting thirsty."

"So like Dad for tea", said Grizzly with a laugh. "Allen is such a character and I love him so much."

"As do we all", added Little Eric.

It was not long before Allen returned. "Thanks pal", he said to Shaun, accepting the mug of tea. "Yes pals a walk is on. We are going to Birker Fell to tick off quite a few Birkett summits. But more importantly this will include Great Worm Crag, one of the few remaining Outlying Fells."

"Super", cheered Tetley, "it will be good to finally get that done."

Allen then went on, "the tops also include Green Crag, a Wainwright, which you will bag Little Eric."

"Magic", cried Little Eric."

"Can't wait for tomorrow ", cheered Grizzly.

 

The Walk

It is a lovely drive to get to the start of this walk. Along the A590 as far as Greenodd, there turning right onto the A595. Through Lowick and then up over the tops past the slate quarries, then via Foxfield and bypassing Broughton in Furness to come to Duddon Bridge.

Although Dad needed no directions, Shaun nevertheless said, "we do not cross the bridge but turn right up the beautiful Duddon Valley."

We have been along the narrow road many times but never tire of the truly stunning scenery. Coming to Ulpha, Tetley pointed, "that's The Pike. We climbed that in February 2006."

Shortly after Ulpha Bridge we turned left onto the Birker Fell road, initially climbing steeply round sharp bends. Soon then passing to the left, Hesk Fell. "We climbed that on the same day as The Pike", commented Allen.

After crossing Crosbythwaite Bridge, Shaun said, "Birkett says to park just south of Freeze Beck. The road is unenclosed so we can get onto the verge."

Just minutes later Dad said, "here will do."

We were excited to be off, Grizzly said, "it's going to be a great summit bagging day. Eight in all."

Dad called out, "I'm ready."

"Ok", called back Little Eric, as we got settled in his rucksack.

"Checking the map and Birkett book, Shaun said, "we walk on the left bank (true right) of Freeze Beck."

"What does he mean by true right?", asked Little Eric.

"The beck starts up on the ground ahead and is flowing down towards us. Therefore in the direction of flow this is the right bank", explained Tetley.

"Ahh, I see."

As indicated we soon gained a sort of track that climbed right of Rough Crag.

Pointing ahead, Allen called out, "there's the first objective, Great Worm Crag."

A steady ascent soon brought us to the summit. "Yippee", cheered Allen. "Another of the few remaining Wainwright Outlying Fells summited at last."

The summit is crowned with this neat cairn, seen here with Devoke Water in the distance. "That rounded hill is Seat How that we climbed in March 2005, as part of the Circuit of Devoke Water", pointed Tetley

"Also the first Birkett of the day", said Little Eric. "Come on pals time for our picture on the cairn."

The craggy ridge of Birker Fell stretched away to the north-east. "This is real Lakes scenery", enthused Grizzly. "We are looking forward to the traverse of the ridge, Dad."

Allen said, "the highest point is Green Crag, and to the left the rounded summit is Crook Crag. The lower hill in shadow in the foreground is Broad Crag, which will be the penultimate summit today."

"Over to the right is dominant Harter Fell", pointed Grizzly, for Little Eric's sake. "The walker we can see is standing on Far Hill and immediately behind is White How. That's the next summit."

So first a gentle descent to cross a shoulder to the right, from where we could clearly see White How. Grizzly told us, "according to Diana Whaley's book, the name means 'the pale hill'."

A steady ascent via the green ride between the rock outcrops brought us to the rocky summit adorned with a cairn of large stones. We quickly scrambled out to sit by it. "Take our picture Dad", cried Tetley."

To our left Green Crag our next objective towered up, its slopes catching the sun.

"Right lads, get settled again so we can be on our way", said Dad.

Shaun said, "we follow the clear path that ascends past those craggy towers."

This Dad did, and reaching the last of the them, Little Eric pointed, "there's the cairn marking the summit. That's another Wainwright I have ticked off."

Once again Devoke Water can be seen in the background.

As Dad took the picture Grizzly told us, "the name is presumed to refer to the greenish tinge of grey in the rock."

There were a number of other walkers here, and being sociable, Dad spent a little time chatting to them.

Then with us settled once again, we headed on along the path.

Dropping to the col, Grizzly said, "that stone just off the path marks the boundary between the parishes of Eskdale & Ulpha."

Climbing again, Shaun said, "we ignore the next craggy tower the Pike that we will pass below, and go on to ascend the next to Crook Crag summit."

Arriving, Little Eric said, "that little hollow in the rocky spine of the summit will be an ideal place for us to pose for our picture."

"What's next", said Grizzly.

"Great Whinscale", replied Shaun.

"That next cairned top I think", said Dad.

However arriving at the cairn, Shaun said, "the GPS reading does not match. It is actually that rather unprepossessing rise to the left with the grassy top."

Soon there, Allen said, "picture time again pals."

"Where now?", asked Little Eric?

"Kepple Crag", replied Shaun.

Dad headed off towards what he thought was Kepple Crag, Shaun saying, "I don't think we are going the right way."

By now we were climbing and soon Dad said, "you are right lad. I have allowed my own preconceptions to rule, instead of listening to your advice. We are actually heading towards Dow Crag."

"We are Dad", replied Allen. "We should have walked more to the left."

"Never mind", said Dad as he made to clamber down the crags to gain the correct route.

"Well", said Tetley. "It added some extra interest to the walk if nothing else."

So, finally on the correct path we made it to Kepple Crag. "This is the point indicated on the map and ties in with the grid reference on the GPS", said Shaun.

"Ok", said Grizzly, "but I cannot help thinking that the rocky turret beyond the ravine should really be the top", as he with the rest of us hopped out for the picture.

"That's the furthest north, so now we have to turn south for the the long traverse below Crook Crag and Green Crag, to get to Broad Crag", said Shaun.

The map shows a footpath, and whilst this marks the right of way, in practice there was no actual path, just rough boggy terrain. It was hard going and again we were glad to be in the rucksack.

Tetley suddenly said, "look there's one of the wonderful Herdwicks. It is posing for you Dad."

Yes, we know we keep including pictures of them, but they are our favourite sheep and synonymous with the Lake District.

As we walked on, Dad said, "I'm at it again, letting my and own preconceptions rule, and making this part harder. I have assumed that the hill ahead is Broad Crag, but is actually Silver How. I have also got too low town, thus meaning we will have to climb over the ridge of Silver How"

"Never mind Dad, you do not get off track very often", replied Shaun.

As soon as we crossed the ridge of Silver How, Allen called out, "there's Broad Crag."

Striding out, Dad soon got us there and made the ascent.

"Hmm" said Little Eric, "there are three little tops comprising this hill".

"I have the GPS to paw", said Shaun. As Dad walked on, he finally said, "this one is the summit."

"Right, that's that one done", said Grizzly. "There's Great Crag ahead."

"Yes", agreed Tetley. "About half a mile and over slightly easier ground."

Closing in, Dad made the ascent to the rocky cairned tor via one of the many gaps in the ruined wall.

"Come on called out Little Eric, "time for our final picture of the day."

We surveyed the return route. Shaun said, "we need to recross the wall, then head approximately SSE towards Rough Crag."

This Dad did but keeping as high a possible to try to avoid the bog, crossing Rowantree Beck and Highford Beck in the process.

Rounding Rough Crag, Tetley called out, "there's the car."

Dad now headed over more boggy ground to pick up the path used at the outset and follow it to the road.

"That was a grand walk", said Allen.

"Aye lad", agreed Dad, "just hard going at times through the bogs."

"There were superb views too", commented Grizzly. "Across to Harter Fell, other higher Lakeland Fells, and also out to the coast."

And to reiterate, from the summit bagging viewpoint an excellent day. - 8 Birkett summits ticked off, including in these 1 Wainwright Outlyer, and not forgetting that Little Eric also bagged Green Crag as a Wainwright.

"Refreshment time now", said Tetley. "and well deserved too Dad."

"Yes lad I'm going to Jane and Sam's at Low Newton."

This meant that we got to go in too.

He arrived in time for tea and the last of Jane's gorgeous individual home made lemon meringue pies. Uncle Brian had had the first last Thursday. "Scrumptious!!!", said Dad.

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