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

"It's Bank Holiday, so I wonder if Dad will be taking us walking?", mused Shaun.

"I think he will, but probably to some more remote area", replied Tetley.

"I'll go and ask", volunteered Allen.

He was soon back to report.

"We're doing Birker Fell, which is great as we will tick off Great Worm Crag, one of the few remaining Outlying Fells, and also quite few Birkett tops."

"Magic", cried Grizzly. "Can't wait for tomorrow."

 

The Walk

It is a lovely drive to get to the start of this walk. Once past Broughton in Furness, we turned up the beautiful Duddon Valley, We have been along here many times but never tire of the scenery. Above Ulpha towers The Pike, climbed in February 2006.

Beyond Ulpha Bridge we turned left onto the Birker Fell road climbing steeply up. To our left was Hesk Fell, climbed on the same day as The Pike. Dad parked on the verge just south of Freeze Beck, then walked as directed in the book along the left bank (true right), to gain a sort of track that climbed right of Rough Crag. The first objective, Great Worm Crag was now in full view.

A steady ascent soon brought us to the summit. One of our few remaining Outlying Fells was bagged at last. There is a neat cairn, seen here with Devoke Water in the distance. The rounded hill just to its right is called Seat How. We had climbed this in March 2005, as part of the "Circuit of Devoke Water " walk.

While away north-east the rocky and craggy ridge of Birker Fell stretched away.

This is real Lakes scenery and we looked forward to the traverse we were to make. The highest point is Green Crag, and to the left Crook Crag. We were to climb these successively a little later. The lower hill in the foreground is Broad Crag, one for later in the day.

Further to the right is the dominant Harter Fell, standing even higher as you can see in the picture below. The walker is standing on Far Hill and immediately behind is White How the next top on our round.

First, we descended gently, then crossing to a shoulder to the right, a steady ascent brought us to the rocky summit of White How. To the left Green Crag our next objective towered up, its slopes catching the sun. There was a clear path that climbed to pass a number of craggy towers, to the last topped by a small cairn, being the top of Green Crag (this a Wainwright and bagged by Little Eric). It is about time we put in an appearance, don't you think? Again Devoke Water can be dimly seen in the distance.

Dad spent a little time here chatting to other walkers. Then settling us into the rucksack, we headed on along the path. In the col just off the path stands this stone. It marks the boundary between the parishes of Eskdale & Ulpha.

Passing below the next craggy tower the Pike, we soon then ascended to Crook Crag, with its rocky spine of a summit. A little hollow provided an ideal place for us to pose for our picture.

Next was Great Whinscale. Dad thought this was just the next cairned top, but not the case as indicated by his GPS. It was instead a rather unprepossessing top down to the left.

"Where now?", enquired Shaun.

"Kepple Crag", replied Dad.

He headed off towards what he thought was Kepple Crag, but admitted that he allowed his own preconceptions to rule, and not study the map closely enough and read the text in the book. He should have gone more to the left, but instead we were headed towards what is called Dow Crag. This meant we had to clamber down the crags to gain the correct route.

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

Finally on the correct path we made it to Kepple Crag, and the point as indicated on the map and by grid reference on Dad's GPS. However we could not help thinking that the rocky turret beyond the ravine should really be the top.

There was now a long traverse below Crook Crag etc, to the next objective Broad Crag. It was pretty hard going as the terrain was rough boggy and trackless. We came across one of our wonderful Herdwicks, that kindly posed for Dad. Yes, we know we keep including pictures of them, but we so like them and they are synonymous with the Lake District.

Yet again Dad admitted that he let his own preconceptions rule, so made this harder. What he thought was Broad Crag was actually Silver How. Also we were too low down, thus meaning we had to climb over the ridge of Silver How, instead of being above it. We nearly said "come on get your act together." However Dad doesn't often get off track and it would have been rather unfair. Once over the ridge Broad Crag came into view and the summit was soon achieved. There are in fact three little tops comprising this hill, so Dad utilised the GPS, to guide us to the correct one. That done it was just a half mile over slightly easier ground to the rocky cairned tor of Great Crag, accessed through one of the many gaps in the ruined wall.

Here Dad took our last picture of the day.

Descending, recrossed the wall and headed towards Rough Crag, keeping high to try to avoid the bog. Rounding Rough Crag we could see the car, and Dad headed over more bog to pick up the path used at the outset to reach the road. A good walk, but hard going at times through the bogs. We must say that we had great views all the time from this walk over to Harter Fell, other higher Lakeland Fells, and out to the coast. From the summit bagging viewpoint a good day - 1 Outlyer and 7 Birketts, not forgetting that Little Eric also bagged Green Crag as a Wainwright.

Refreshment time now. Dad went to Jane and Sam's and of course 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!!! This is one of his favourite tea stops. The food is always excellent and we recommend it unreservedly.

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