Where is it: Close to the villages of Dufton, Kirkland, Alston and Blencarn.
In which Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: The North Pennines
How high is it: 2,930′ or 892M
Outside of the Lake District this is the highest Mountain in England. It sits in a commanding position as the head of a chain of less-frequented hills at the ‘other side’ of the M6 from the neighbouring Lake District. Cross Fell marks the apex of a chain of summits covering over seven miles from peak to peak at the western section of the beautiful and remote North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This and its’ two neighbouring summits are the only mountains in England to make it into the top thirty summits of England which are not in the Lake District which make s them somewhat less frequented.
Here the solo walker can truly find peace and quite…unless the Helm Wind – England’s only named wind, roars in. Cross Fell receives the extremes of weather, snow can cover the summit for over and hundred days per year, it has the fiercest wind and no less than three mighty industrial rivers rise on its’ slopes – The South Tyne, The Wear and The River Tees.
In spite of its’ isolated position there are two Long Distance Footpaths which cross the enormous stony summit: The Helm Wind Walk and The Pennine way, yet, traverse this summit on any day of the year and it is unlikely you will see more than five people, ten at the most. The mist that can befall this vast stony plateau would confuse the best of all navigators relying upon compass alone and as such former ascenders of the mountain have created Curricks aplenty. These (sometimes huge) stone pillars aid one’s progress across the stones and safely off the mountain giving one a fighting chance if the ever-threatening mist does descend.
The routes of ascent are strictly limited to from the North and South West. Kirkland serves as the main route for those whose main focus is the mountain itself and Dufton and Alston for those who are walking the Pennine Way. The south west route splits further to head either to the neighbour fell of Little Dun Fell or towards the nearby Grumply Hill down steep but not impassable pathways.