IRTON PIKE, IRTON FELL & GREAT BANK

 


Summary

Date - 14th October 2011 Distance - 5.25 miles
Ascent -
1400 ft
Map - OL6 Start point - Old quarry on Eskdale Bridge to Santon Bridge road (NY 1217 0123)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Irton Pike 751 229 NY 1207 0154
Irton Fell 1296 395 NY 1434 0260
Great Bank 1079 329 NY 1438 0192

 

Foreword

During 2021 we were continuing the project to rewrite and enhance our original stories of 2008-12. This adventure was rejected for a story in 2011 due to few pictures being taken, because of the poor visibility.. However we have now decided to write an account, to revive our memories of the day. We have been able to increase the number of pictures by using some from an ascent of Irton Pike in 2006, and when we climbed Whin Rigg and Illgill Head in June 2021. Also the narrative can be written, thanks to Dad writing a precis of each walk within the spreadsheet records.

 

Preface

Shaun, with Little Eric riding on his back and carrying the flasks, trotted in to find Allen, Grizzly and Tetley, huddled over a map with the Birkett book beside them.

"What are you looking at", asked Little Eric.

Looking up Allen said, "ooh tea. I'm gasping for a cuppa. I'll get the mugs."

Grizzly said, "we'll update you once we are settled with tea and biscuits", as he got the tuck tin.

This done, and Allen having a contented look on his face, he said, "as you are aware there are just two Birketts to climb for Shaun, Tetley, Grizzly and I to complete the challenge. Dad has decided that Pen is to be the final one, so we have been looking at the walk to tick off the other, Great Bank."

"Birkett 's route takes in Irton Fell too, the start being from old quarry car park beside the road from Eskdale Green to Santon Bridge", went on Tetley.

"So another trip across Birker Fell then", commented Shaun.

The initial route climbs the slopes of Irton Pike", said Grizzly. "This is a Wainwright Outlyer that we bagged in June 2006.That was before you were born Little Eric, so the plan is to take the short diversion to summit it again, so you can tick it off."

"Aww that's kind pals. I am hopeful that eventually I will be able to join the rest of you in completing this challenge."

"So we need to see when Dad can take us on this walk. Will you go and ask him Allen, please?", said Shaun.

"Yes pal, just let me finish my third mug of tea."

"You truly are the arch tea belly", laughed Tetley. "So much like Dad."

Draining his mug off he went, and in a little while returned. "Dad has said next Friday."

"But that is usually chip shop day", queried Grizzly.

"Yes pal, but it is so busy now on Friday, they have changed to going on Tuesday which is much quieter."

"Roll on Friday", cheered Little Eric, raising his mug.

 

The Walk

Making sure to be up early and ready, as we heard Dad slam the boot of the car shut, we ran out, Tetley calling, "Goodbye Uncle Brian. Have a lovely quiet day."

"I will Lads. Make sure Dad takes care as it is seemingly not going to be the clearest of days."

It was cloudy as we left home, but as we climbed over Birker Fell the mist was down and all the fells normally in view, were obscured.

"Looks like these conditions are what we will have to contend with today", commented Tetley.

"Good job we are not going on the highest fells, then", went on Grizzly.

Through the village of Eskdale Green, the road wound on, Shaun saying, "we will come to a sharp left bend, after which we will soon come to the parking in the old quarry. This is on the right."

While Dad got his boots on, we snuggled into the rucksack, ready for the off.

"Our route is the path on the left side, signed footpath to Wasdale Head", instructed Shaun.

This climbed steadily through the trees, coming to a junction. "To take in Irton Pike, need to go left here", commented Tetley.

As the climb levelled, we reached another junction, Shaun instructing "it's left again here."

The clear path, climbed gently towards the rocky top of Irton Pike. This shot was taken on our first ascent on 18th June 2006.

Grizzly said, "Wainwright promises a great view of the Wasdale Fells, but all is lost in the cloud today."

"Ironically there was no view either when we were here in 2006", went on Tetley.

"I took a picture, thinking this is why were are not climbing Pillar today", said Dad.

"What is important now is to have our picture taken, to record my bagging the summit with the rest of you", stated Little Eric.

"Quite right pal", agreed Allen. "Can we have the flag too, for some colour, please."

Settled back in the rucksack, we then retraced the route, keeping ahead at the junction to soon come to a wire fence. Dad climbed the stile out on to open fell. A clear path led on, but a herd of cows with big horns were straddled across it.

"They look a bit fierce", said Tetley, seeing them give us a long hard stare.

"Aye lad, a detour round the the left to avoid them is in order."

The path led on but began to descend, Shaun saying, "we need to strike up right towards those rocky outcrops."

Here we found the main path along the ridge, that kept close to the wall on the right.

At the point where a path comes up from Miterdale, forestry operations were felling a wide swathe of trees. One man with a tractor and cutting attachment. This sawed through the trunk then pushed the tree over.

"Timber!!", shouted Grizzly.

The results of his efforts can be seen in this shot taken in 2021.

Walking on we crossed a wall, to continue the climb into the mist. Had it been clear, we would have had this view of Whin Rigg.

And also this superb view of Yewbarrow.

Sadly all we could see today was the mist, Shaun saying, "we should strike right a little way to get to the cairn at the summit of Irton Fell.

"Now for Great Bank", said Allen as we snuggled into the rucksack.

The pictures of the views we should have had were taken on a superb day in June 2021, when we climbed Whin Rigg and Illgill Head, to enable Little Eric to tick these summits off. The initial ascent route is up through Miterdale Forest, from where we had this superb view of Great Bank.

Looking up from the map, Shaun instructed, "we now head south to come to the old wall and then follow this right to the corner of the forest. "

On from there a fence was soon reached. "Cross this to get to the summit", called out Shaun.

There was no path the terrain being thick heather and tussocky grass.

"I guess this is little visited", remarked Grizzly.

"Only determined Birkett baggers like us", went on Tetley.

Soon the flat top was attained and we sat amongst the heather for our picture.

We all let out a shout of,"only 1 left now."

Tetley then said, "we'll not be coming back here again."

"No lad", agreed Dad.

Ready for off again, Shaun instructed, "we return to the corner of the forest and then follow the wall on the left to come to the path by the gate."

Today the paths were very muddy and wet, nearly every step Dad took being squelchy.

Keeping by the wall we descended the fell to a stile by a gate.

There's those cows again", said Little Eric. "They look ever so fierce with their long horns.

Through the gate the path descended to the junction, where we used the outwards route to the car.

We had encountered no other walkers and Grizzly said, "it was a very lonely feeling on Irton Fell surrounded by the mist."

"A sheep picture free day too", cheered Allen. "Mind you sensible people and even sheep, would not be wandering around up there on a day like this."

We quickly decamped and settled in the car while Dad got his very muddy boots off.

"So time for lunch, Dad", said Tetley. "I bet you are going to Jane and Sam's at Yew Tree Barn."

"Spot on lad."

"Great" cheered Allen, "that means we get to go in as well."

He had the lovely piping hot vegetable & chick pea soup and then delicious apple & blackberry crumble with custard.

It was so nice to see them again and chat with the usual banter.

Returning to the car we saw this unusual wooden eagle . "That's an oddity", commented Little Eric. "Take a picture to round off our story, please."

As we drove home, Shaun said, "so, just Pen to climb to finish the Birkett challenge."

"When Uncle Brian pointed the book out to me at Westmorland Services, and I perused it later at home, I can honestly say that I did not expect to climb them all", said Dad.

"Yet here we are with just one to go", laughed Tetley.

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