Garrigill - Great Dun Fell - Cross Fell - Garrigill

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Garrigill - Ashgill Force - Tyne Head - Great Dun Fell - Little Dun Fell - Cross Fell - Garrigill

Garrigill lies in the remote Cumbrian valley of the River South Tyne surrounded entirely by high fells. The village grew up around the leadmining industry which at its peak supported a population of over 1,000. The population today is nearer 200.

From Garrigill the walk heads south, following the route of the South Tyne. In 1.5 miles there is a short detour to view Ashgill Force, a waterfall on the Ashgill Burn that flows under a road-bridge on the B6277 and falls an impressive fifty feet into a pool before flowing into the South Tyne. Over the ages the force of the water has eroded away the soft rock behind the falls, allowing passage without getting wet.

A couple of miles of fairly flat terrain follows before the South Tyne, fed by lots of small gills, sikes and burns, steadily rises to its source, where it emerges from a spring in the lower slopes of Tynehead Fell at a point marked by a large stone sculpture. The walk carries on to intersect and cross the infant River Tees a mere four miles from its source, before tracking the almost entire length of the isolated Trout Beck, a major tributary of the upper Tees.

The route then rises quite steeply up the side of a high ridge alongside a deep, man-made gully called a hush to intersect the Pennine Way long-distance walk on the highest surfaced road in Britain. (Hushing is the process of exposing lead ore by building a dam, filling it with water and then breaking the dam and letting the force of the water strip away the topsoil, leaving a gully).

A rollercoaster of terrain follows where the route traverses in turn the summits of Great Dunn Fell with its Air Traffic Control station, Little Dunn Fell and finally Cross Fell, the highest point of the walk. The three adjacent peaks form part of an escarpment that runs from the south-east to the north-west, with views to the west of the Eden Valley and the high peaks of the Lake District beyond, to the east the valleys of the Tees and South Tyne and to the north-west, the Solway Firth and the southern uplands of Scotland.

The golf-ball-shaped radar installation on the summit of Great Dun Fell was built in the 1960s and serves to support civil air traffic control over the North Atlantic. Meteorological equipment located on the fell has on occasions recorded wind speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour.

Cross Fell at 2,929 feet is the highest point of the Pennines and is also the highest point in England outside of the Lake District. It even has its very own wind known as the Helm Wind, a north-easterly that blows mainly during the spring. The top of the fell comprises a huge, relatively flat plateau over half a mile long. There is an open, cross-shaped stone shelter at the summit next to the trig point and from here a series of cairns guides you safely off the hill along the route of the Pennine Way, a reassuring aid if the cloud or fog descends.

From Cross Fell the route follows the Pennine Way along a wide, stony bridleway that passes Greg's Hut on its long, gradual descent back to Garrigill. Greg's Hut is a stone-built shelter (mountain bothy) formerly a leadmining building but now adapted specifically for use by walkers as a refuge. The shelter, which was established in memory of John Gregory, a climber who was killed in a climbing accident in the Alps, is regularly maintained and stocked up with fuel to fulfill its purpose as a welcome sanctuary against the elements in this remote area of the Pennines.

England - North England - Cumbria - North Pennines


Birds, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Moor, Nature Trail, River, Waterfall, Wildlife
7/2/2013 - Steven Brookes

Completed this walk on the 29th June 2013 as part of C2C training. The walk up to Cross fell is great. Very remote - never saw any other hikers all day. Fantastic views over to the lakes. Be careful coming down off Cross fell as it is easy to lose the path. On the whole the walk is ruined by the last 6 miles of hardcore/rubble access track which is an absolute killer on the feet. I wouldn't repeat this walk.

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