Great Gable and Kirk Fell is a 7.5 mile loop trail located near Wasdale Head, Cumbria, England that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking.

Length7.5 miElevation gain3,408 ftRoute typeLoop
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Great Gable ranks as highly as Helvellyn and Scafell Pike in Lakeland. When seen from the foot of Wastwater, framed by Yewbarrow and Lingmell, it is the most classic of Lakeland views, and as an outline is the emblem of the National Park. Kirk Fell on the other hand is a lot less popular destination. It’s extensive summit plateau is defended by crags and steep slopes, but the views to the surrounding tops can not be bettered. From the Green at Wasdale Head the route is to Sty Head Pass on an easily angled track. This is the route most often used, but there is a lesser used track that keeps besides Linmell Beck called the Pony route which is less rocky. From the crossroads and stretcher-box at Sty Head Pass (a road over here from Borrowdale was once contemplated) it is up the Tourist or Breast Route which is well pitched and which blends in so well that it is difficult to distinguish from even a short distance away. It arrives at the summit directly. On remembrance Sunday each year fellwalkers converge to attend a short service organised by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club to remember those who have fallen in the conflict of wars. Anyone visiting Great Gable summit cairn must wander over the short distance to the Westmorland cairn, alas the majority don’t. It is named after two bothers named ‘Westmorland’ and not the once named former county of Westmorland. This spot simply takes your breath away as you contemplate Great Hell Gate, The Napes and the patchwork of fields far below. Allow yourself some time to take in the atmosphere and your good fortune to be in this spot. The way off is to join the North West Ridge route to Beck Head. It is rocky and has loose scree in places but just keep to the ridge. The views over Ennerdale are rewarding. From Beck Head it is a simple climb to the summit plateau of Kirk Fell via Rib End. There are two ‘tops’ the southern one with wind shelter being the higher. Fine views are to be had in all directions not least back to Great Gable. The way off to Black Sail Pass is via Kirkfell Crags where a very loose and boulder filled gully is the route followed. After the loose scree descended a more pleasant descent into Mosedale with views of Pillar are the reward. Mosedale is a delight with impressive Red Pike and Yewbarrow for companions.

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Matt Hill
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