The Western Fells

I will never forget the day, in October 2004, that I drove to Wasdale Head - my first visit to the Western Fells. I was staying in Keswick and the weather was awful. Richard, the owner of the guest house I was staying at, suggested the Western Fells might have the best weather - so I drove around the North of the Lakes and came into Wasdale Head from the west.

As I drove in, I thought I was wasting my time. The rain was coming down in sheets, buckets and anything else it could find! The wind was up to gale force. But, as I arrived in Wasdale it seemed I had found a pocket of calm amidst all that turmoil. It was still incredibly windy, but the clouds had broken up a little, the rain had stopped and the mountain peaks were in view. And it was awesome. Truly awesome.

It reminded me more of the Scottish Highlands than anywhere else in Lakeland. After all, many of the tallest mountains in England are situated here - Pillar, Steeple, The Scafells (although AW classifies these as a Southern Fell, the quickest ascent of Scafell Pike is from Wasdale), Kirk Fell, Great Gable and let's not forget Yewbarrow.

How could anyone forget Yewbarrow? Its the mountain that greets you as soon as you get alongside Wast Water. Like Etive Mor in Glencoe, it may not be the biggest mountain in the area, but it acts like it is. Rugged and handsome, inviting and yet threatening, it says 'Welcome' and 'Beware' in the same breath. Every time I visit the area, I come away with more photos of Yewbarrow than any other fell. It poses for you. Its south face is awesome, its north face is foreboding. Its eastern flank, about 2 miles in length, is a thing of beauty.

Whichever path you take, the ascent of Yewbarrow is not easy - rocks and scree runs guard every approach and traps, such as Bell Rib in the south face, invite the unwary traveller in only to betray him.

Wainwright called Blencathra a 'mountaineer's mountain', but Yewbarrow deserves its own accolades - certainly a 'photographer's mountain' and especially an 'adventurer's mountain'.

I love this area. It is so vast (in height) and yet so compact. From the head of Wast Water, at the National Trust campsite, the whole valley and many of the summits can be explored without needing to use a car to reach the starting point. The Buttermere fells are also within reach, as is Ennerdale. And the biggest of them all, Scafell Pike, is only a short stroll away. Actually, an arduous clamber up a rocky path, but a short rocky path at less than 3 miles. It's the perfect base for exploring the most incredible area in England (in my opinion) and the pub at Wasdale Head, with its excellent food and fantastic beers, is the place to relax at the end of each day.

Except in summer, the area is usually quiet. I've had whole valleys and mountains to myself. It's the ideal area for the solitary walker seeking peace and quiet, away from the bluster of 'normal' living.

This page is a work in progress. As fells are visited, climbed and photographed, they will be added.

Here's a list of the Western Fells, as Wainwright classified them. Where available, click on the mountain name to read more and see the photos.

The Tallest Fell


Great Gable: 2949 feet.

The Shortest Fell


Low Fell: 1352 feet

Number of Fells above 2000 feet



The Western Fells - Fells with pages on this site

Height - 1410 ft

Height - 1959 ft

Height - 2058 ft

The Western Fells - List of all fells

Base Brown

Height - 2120 ft

Blake Fell

Height - 1878 ft


Height - 2344 ft

Height - 1410 ft

Burnbank Fell

Height - 1558 ft

Caw Fell

Height - 2288 ft

Crag Fell

Height - 1716 ft


Height - 1363 ft

Fleetwith Pike

Height - 2126 ft

Gavel Fell

Height - 1726

Great Borne

Height - 2019 ft

Great Gable

Height - 2949 ft

Green Gable

Height - 2628 ft

Grey Knotts

Height - 2287 ft


Height - 1601 ft


Height - 2618 ft

Height - 1959 ft

Hen Comb

Height - 1670 ft

High Crag

Height - 2443 ft

High Stile

Height - 2644 ft

Kirk Fell

Height - 2630 ft

Lank Rigg

Height - 1775 ft

Low Fell

Height - 1352


Height - 1676 ft

Middle Fell

Height - 1908 ft


Height - 2927 ft

Red Pike (Buttermere)

Height - 2479 ft

Red Pike (Wasdale)

Height - 2707 ft

Scoat Fell

Height - 2760 ft


Height - 2266 ft

Starling Dodd

Height - 2077 ft


Height - 2687 ft

Height - 2058 ft