25th September 2010

Black Sail Pass, Kirk Fell and Beck Head


Walk Overview
Time 08.30 to 13.00
Duration 3 hr 30 min
Distance 6.1 mile
Ascent 2600 ft
Walking with On my own
Wasdale Head - Mosedale - Black Sail Pass - Kirkfell Crags - Kirk Fell - Kirkfell Tarn - Rib End - Beck Head - Gavel Neese - Burnthwaite - Wasdale Head
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Wasdale Head

Wasdale can boast possession of the highest mountain, the deepest lake and the smallest church. What I'd like to do is add the busiest car park onto this list. During the summer months this is an incredibly popular place, particularly in June when the three peak walkers are out in force.

Unbelievable I know, but parking is actually free. This tiny hamlet also has a hotel / pub, a shop, a camp site and all the facilities you expect to find with it.


Route Map

Kirk Fell has been on the cards for ages now and I've been deliberately waiting for a day like this to do the walk. Although I was against the clock today, there was still enough time to enjoy a walk up this great bulk of a fell.

This is a lovely old bridge over Mosedale Beck, it's just a pity someone thought it a good idea to lay concrete across the top.

Yewbarrow seen over on the sunny side of the valley.

Sorry about the shadow but it was so clear looking across here I took the picture and used it anyway.

Just about to cross Gatherstone Beck. Given the amount of rain we've had over the last couple of weeks I expected there to be much more water in than this. As it turned out, I got from one side to the other with hardly a drop of water on my boots.

Red Pike.

Walking along or rather up the Black Sail Pass. The path leads you to the low point on the skyline.

Looking towards Pillar, Scoat Fell and Red Pike from the summit of Black Sail Pass.

Still at the top and now looking in the opposite direction. The high fell in the middle of the picture is Dale Head.

Looking back down to the top of the pass.

A close up of Black Sail Hut, found at the head of Ennerdale.

Once I got past the craggy bit I left the path and had a wander around the area above Baysoar Slack. The view I got when I decided to head up to the summit shows a whole range of fells from Skiddaw, Blencathra and the eastern fells in the distance, to Hindscarth, Dale Head and Fleetwith Pike in front.

Kirk Fell summit. In the background you have, Wast Water, Burnmoor Tarn, Illgill Head, Yewbarrow, Middle Fell and the Irish Sea. I had to stand on tip toes, on top of a big stone to get this picture.

Still at the summit and looking across to the tops of the Mosedale fells - Red Pike, Scoat Fell and Pillar.

Well you can't mistake Great Gable on the right, but you might have to think a little before naming everything in the distance.

The bigger of the two Kirk Fell tarns.

A view back over the tarns to the summit.

A close up of Burnmoor Tarn. Notice Burnmoor Lodge on the far side of the tarn.

Beck Head and its tarns, seen from the steep path down Rib End.

I'd have loved to continue onto Great Gable, but time was against me today because had an appointment at the opticians. I'm sure you don't need to tell you that time, tide and opticians wait for no one.

Despite it spoiling the opportunity of a longer walk, I have to admit it will be nice to have a pair of glasses that aren't held together with sticky tape. The ones I have now broke at the end of August when I was on Seatallan, so I suppose it is about time I did something about it. The not so funny thing is, the glasses are exactly the same colour as dead grass, so when the arm fell off on Seatallan, it took 15 minutes of crawling about on my hands and knees to find it again.

Brandreth seen behind the larger of the two tarns at Beck Head.

Beck Head Tarn and the path down (or up) Rib End.

Time to head down from Beck Head now and what a view I had to enjoy for the duration.

, , , see what I mean.

Burnthwaite farm and the Wasdale Head drystone walls.

This is a steep one, and to be honest it's just about as hard walking down as it is walking up. At least when you're walking up, all you have to do is keep stopping to get your breath back. Walking down; your legs are on the breaks from top to bottom.

This is certainly easier on the legs.
The low point on the left is Beck Head where I'd just came from, the fell is the unmistacable Great Gable and the low point on the right is Sty Head.

A broadside view of Yewbarrow, taken on the walk to Burnthwaite farm.

A valley level view into the Mosedale horseshoe.

St Olafs church from the outside, , ,

, , , and from the inside.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks