logo Walking Britain

Lake District Walk
Grike & Crag Fell from Ennerdale Bridge

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Western Fells

Wainwrights - Crag Fell, Grike

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Nigel Armistead

Length - 6.6 miles / 10.7 km    Ascent - 1350 feet / 409 metres

Time - 4 hours 40 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL4Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL4Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 89Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 89Digital Map1:50kBUY

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Grike & Crag Fell from Ennerdale Bridge
Click image to see photo description.

Nigel Armistead has painstakingly described many walks in his wonderful website Trails Less Trodden. Nigel's website notes that he often finds "a particular spot which evokes in me a sense of wonder and appreciation of nature, a spot that really does 'hit the spot'". This Lake District walk includes descriptions of one of these 'spots' enjoyed during this walk.

From Ennerdale Bridge, you could take the direct route up Ben Gill to the top of Crag Fell and return the same way but I prefer, whenever possible, to go up one way and come down another. So I took the roundabout route via Blakely Moss and Grike and came down Ben Gill. You start with 2k of pleasant road-walking, passing the Kinniside Stone Circle on Blakely Moss. This is not marked on OS maps because it has been 're-engineered'. The twelve stones had been removed but their holes were measured and the original stones recovered and replaced, having been used by local farmers as gateposts and cornerstones. Soon after the circle, turn left on an old mine track (preferable to the tarmac forest road which turns off lower down). Follow this to just below the summit of Grike.

Two incidents relieved the monotony of this 2.5k uphill trudge (actually the views are quite good towards Lank Rigg, Whoap and Boat How). First, there was a herd of horses being driven somewhat haphazardly down the fellside by a farmer on a quad-bike and on his mobile phone. The horses kept escaping but he eventually got off his phone, rounded them up and pushed them down the road. Then there was the distinct yelping of dogs passing through the forest. I passed a 'sentry' on the track and asked him what the dogs were so excited about. His terse reply: "Fox". So much for legislation.

A stile takes you over a forest fence to a path leading up to the summit of Grike, where a welcome wind shelter awaits you. The views are not that great but you can see past Crag Fell to Great Borne and the western end of Ennerdale Water is visible from just beyond the shelter. Further afield you can catch the summits of Grasmoor, the High Stile Ridge and the Pillar Ridge. To the west lies the coastal plain around Whitehaven.

Tear yourself away from the wind shelter and head across the col to Crag Fell - it can be a bit squelchy in the dip. The top of Crag Fell is a series of little humps with a cairn on the highest. However, my spot is considerably lower than, and to the north of, the cairn, in sight of Angler's Crag far below. From here, you get one of the best views of Ennerdale:

South-West - along the length of Upper Ennerdale with the eastern half of Ennerdale Water shimmering in the foreground; towards the south is the ridge leading past Haycock and Steeple to Pillar; Pillar Rock stands out on the northern slope of Pillar; beyond the forests of Ennerdale, the valley ends in the disappointing bump of Grey Knotts (where is Great Gable when you need it?)
West - across Ennerdale Water is the High Stile Ridge from Haystacks to Starling Dodd; this is the less attractive side of the ridge but it still rises impressively above the skirt of forest around its base
North-West - in the foreground, the top of Angler's Crag; on the other side of Ennerdale Water lies its partner, Bowness Knott, twin sentries guarding the entrance to Upper Ennerdale; above Bowness Knott rises the peak of Great Borne with its shoulder, Herdus, falling down to Floutern Pass
North - a bunch of lower fells that Wainwright calls the Loweswater Fells with Gavel Fell and Blake Fell prominent and ending with the perfect breast of Knock Murton; in the foreground, the western end of Ennerdale Water backed by the green fields around Croasdale
North-East - the coastal plain fading away towards the sea
East and South-East - the slope of Crag Fell you have just descended (the only poor view)
South - the summit of Crag Fell with its cairn

This is an exhilarating spot with the added frisson of an almost sheer drop nearby but try to come here on a balmy summer's day, not as I did on a blustery midwinter's one, when the wind was playing havoc with my efforts to record the merits of the spot.

To descend via Ben Gill, climb back up the slope and take the first turn right along a path that follows a line above Revelin Crag and then continues beside an embankment that leads to Ben Gill. If you detour to the right near the top you get a view of Crag Fell Pinnacles directly below you. The path turns right in front of a stile then crosses Ben Gill and goes down through a plantation to Crag Farm House and the car park at Bleach Green. From there it's a 2k road walk to Ennerdale Bridge, a walk I soon got fed up with at the end of every day's expedition.


Other walks nearby

Walk 2058 Ennerdale Skyline incl. Steeple & other fellsmod/hard13.8 miles
Walk 3667 Ennerdale Water Circularmoderate7.1 miles
Walk 1745 Grike and Caw Fell from Kinniside Stone Circlemod/hard13.5 miles
Walk 1082 Ennerdale Horseshoesevere18.0 miles
Walk 1302 Low Fell and Fellbarrow from Loweswatereasy/mod6.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking the Lake District Fells - Langdale

Walking the Lake District Fells - LangdalePart of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 25 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from the Great Langdale valley, Ambleside and Grasmere, with highlights including Scafell Pike, Bowfell, the Langdale Pikes and Helm Crag (the Lion and the Lamb). Includes suggestions for longer ridge routes.
More information

Lake District: Low Level and Lake Walks

Lake District: Low Level and Lake WalksThis guidebook describes 30 of the best low-level walks in the Lake District. From delightful wooded glades and sparkling tarns, to waterfalls and glacier-carved valleys towered over by craggy mountains. The walks described aim to seek out the best walking that the lower areas of the Lake District have to offer.
More information

Navigation

NavigationThis pocket handbook to navigation will help you master the necessary map and compass skills for mountain walking. Chapters include map scales, symbols and contours, grid references, map reading, bearings, route planning and night and bad-weather navigation, as well as navigating with a GPS.
More information

Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Lake District Walking

The Lake District National Park is seen by many as one of the scenic gems of the British Isles. The natural beauty has attracted many artists and writers through the centuries and today the same scenery provides the perfect backdrop to a wide variety of walks. The National Park is located wholly within Cumbria with Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick the main tourist towns. For many this is the finest area in England for walking with a wide variety of scenery. Even on the busiest weekends it is possible to get away from the crowds by carefully selecting one of the less-visited fells. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

Ghyll Farm B & B
Ennerdale
1.2 miles / 1.9 km away
Stay Lake District Accommodation
Gosforth, Wasdale
8.0 miles / 12.8 km away
Murt Camping Barn
Wasdale
8.1 miles / 13.0 km away
Midtown Cottages
High Lorton
8.4 miles / 13.4 km away
Bawd Hall
Newlands, Keswick
10.4 miles / 16.6 km away

Self Catering & Cottage Holidays - Properties throughout the UK & Europe

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news. Facebook Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.