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Knock Fell, Great Dun Fell, Little Dun Fell & Cross Fell from Dufton but finishing at Kirkland.

Knock Fell, Great Dun Fell, Little Dun Fell & Cross Fell

from Dufton but finishing at Kirkland.


Dufton village is situated to the north of the A66 road from Scotch Corner to Penrith. It lies almost due north of Appleby and is signed off the A66. Kirkland is a tiny hamlet which is best accessed from Penrith by taking the Alston road then turning off just past Langwathby and taking the road through Skirwith. There is a small car park with toilets in Dufton and just a smaller car park in Kirkland.


18 km walk + 12 km cycle      About 7 hours


Knock Fell, 794 m, NY 721 302.

Great Dun Fell, 848 m, NY 710 322.

Little Dun Fell, 842 m, NY 704 330.

Cross Fell, 893 m, NY 687 343. OS 1: 50 000, Sheet 91.


At 893 m, Cross Fell is the highest peak in the Pennines and the highest point on the Pennine Way. It is also the source of the River Tees. The route to Cross Fell is all on the Pennine Way which has been slabbed in the boggy dips between the tops. The worst sections now are near Dufton on the farm tracks. This route involves leaving a bicycle at Kirkland then driving to Dufton to start the walk. The descent from Cross Fell goes to Kirkland from where one cycles back to Dufton on undulating country roads. Alternatively, two cars could be used which means no cycling. Views are excellent especially to the Lakeland Fells where Helvellyn, Grasmoor, Grisedale Pike, Blencathra and Skiddaw are prominent on a clear day.


(1) From Dufton car park, walk left, NW, along the main street. Go past the green and pub then follow the road down and to the right, ignoring the left turn. Just after this turn, there is a farm track on the right for Coatsike Farm. Take the track to the farm and go straight ahead between the buildings to continue on the track heading roughly N. This track is quite boggy in places but improves before too long. A short distance after a right turn, a slabbed bridge is crossed and the track heads NE. A sign post marks where the track is left and a path continues to Swindale Beck where there is a modern bridge. Cross over. It can be confusing here as a way mark suggests crossing a wall by a stile but do not go this way. Go up some “steps” and follow a path heading NE which soon passes a Nature Reserve sign. Continue up this grassy path up Green Fell then to Knock Old Man which is a tall pointed cairn then continue NNE to a medium cairn which marks the summit of Knock Fell, 794 m.

(2)Walk NNW from the summit on a path which easily be lost in a stony patch but soon becomes a slabbed path in places. Follow this to reach a tarmac road where there is a Pennine Way sign. Walk up the road to the “Golf Ball” which marks the summit of Great Dun Fell, 848 m. The structure is fenced off but there is a cairn just outside which does not seem to be the highest point but it is difficult to tell how much of the ground inside the fence is natural. The usual route around the structure, taken by the Pennine Way, is to go around to its right, E. It is possible to leave the road sooner and walk up the hill side.

(3) Continue on the Pennine Way, descending to a col, then ascend up to a medium cairn which marks the summit of Little Dun Fell, 842 m. A much smaller cairn is just beyond it and there is a large shelter cairn further along the summit plateau just before the next descent.

(4) Descend from the shelter cairn, still on the obvious Pennine Way, to another col then ascend up the SE flank of Cross Fell. At one point there is a stone direction marker laid flat in the ground. The path picks its way through a small boulder field to reach a tall cairn. Continue to a second tall cairn then on to the trig point and large cross shaped shelter cairn which mark the summit of Cross Fell, 893 m.

(5) Walk NNW from the summit, following a line of cairns. When the path levels out the going may become boggy. It is about 1 km from the summit to a significant cairn at a T junction. The Pennine Way goes right, ENE, but this route goes left, WSW, on a fairly distinct track. The track becomes indistinct in places but some cairns help out. Follow it down and, eventually, it becomes a very pleasant grassy track and leads down to Kirkland and the bicycle or second car.


(a) This walk took place on 19th May, 2014.

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