Great Dun Fell

Little (Left) and Great Dun Fells
Little (Left) and Great Dun Fells

Where is it: Near Blencarn, Dufton, Alston and Kirkland – closest largest town: Penrith

In which Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: The North Pennines

How high is it: 2,782′ or 848M

This is the second of three North Pennines’ Fells to feature in the top thirty Highest English Mountains. Physically this peak is on the same escarpment that contains its’ slightly smaller sibling – Little Dun Fell and the mighty Cross Fell. These peaks form a seven miles ridge stretching across the remote and somewhat isolated North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Because of this remoteness these peaks are most often ascended by walkers in the midst of the Pennine Way long distance path however two very obvious routes from Kirkland the western approach which takes in Cross Fell and Little Dun Fell first and Knock – the south east ascent, are becoming more popular amongst Peak baggers and those whom have sadly discovered that their favourite ‘secluded spot’ in the Lakes is no longer so ‘secluded’.

There is no point in pretending that there is not quite a large elephant on the summit …moreover a very large Radome containing Primary Surveillance radar (PSR) and Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) antennae. If nothing else this brings to the eye of the beholder the three tightly packed summits of this relatively hitherto undiscovered area. Approach slopes all round tend to be a coating of grass overlaying a bed of carboniferous limestone and in odd random patches a mixture of Shale and Gritstone – if man had not seen fit to build upon this summit it is likely that it would have been a rather soggy and boggy end to a day’s walking! Although the top of the mountain is not the most hospitable environ that one would ever encounter the views (when not shrouded in mist) of the neighbouring fells and across the Vale of Eden to the Far Eastern and the Eastern Lake District fells would cause any lover of scenery to linger. Whilst the neighbouring giant Cross Fell offers no sense of depth because of its’ enormous summit width; here one can observe the fullness of the gulf of the Vale of Eden…and thanks to the array of metalwork the signal on your mobile phone will never be stronger!

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