The summit of Great Carrs sits perched on the precipitous edge of the ridge sweeping around the head of the Greenburn valley above Little Langdale Tarn. The highest point of the ridge is Swirl How, with Wetherlam further round.
A notable date in Great Carrs history is 22nd October 1944 when, circling lost in low cloud trying to spot a landmark to fix its position, a Halifax bomber hit the ridge killing its crew of eight. All that remains on the site now is part of the undercarriage which lays alongside a memorial stone and cairn with a cross and is situated just south of the summit. For the few people who gather at the site on Remembrance Sunday it is a rather moving setting.
Grey Friar stands a little over 1.0km (0.6 miles) to the south west, significantly quieter, perhaps it is only Wainwright baggers who go there. Its summit has two cairned outcrops the best views are from the north west most, whilst it is the south east cairn which is very slightly higher and consequently the official summit.
Our walk, considered a 'direct ascent', starts at the top of Wrynose Pass where there are a number of small informal parking spots. Three Shire Stone is just below the top on the Langdale side.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the very top of the pass look south, up to Wet Side Edge above you. Now look down at your feet! A very short signpost - and we mean short: it's hardly a foot tall - marks the start of the path. Cross the small boggy patch with stepping stones to join the bottom of a stone pitched path climbing the fell side.
The pitching is not continuous and the path becomes quite rough. After an initial short climb it bears right to climb more gently on a narrow terraced path. In another 500m (550 yards) rounding a corner you drop into a dry ghyll and then climb out in a short but steep zigzag. Another 100m (110 yards) of terraced path brings you to a sharp left turn, still climbing.
At the top you reach the ridge line of Wet Side Edge where there are two prominent cairns. Remember this as you will need to find the path again for the return journey.
Turn right on the ridge and continue climbing. Just above Hell Gill Pike, which isn't so obvious in ascent, the path drops slightly and splits. The right branch traverses around Great Carrs, and reaching above the col of Fairfield you can turn left to climb up to the memorial over rocky but easier ground.
Our route bears left at the split to climb a steep path near the cliff edge, first to Little Carrs and then to Great Carrs. Keep left and follow the path as it gradually becomes faint in amongst the boulders.
At the top of the steep rise, perched on a rocky outcrop is the summit cairn of Great Carrs.
Continue around the edge of the precipice, past the second small cairn perched on an outcrop just back from the edge to then bear right away from the edge. The Halifax memorial stands only 30m (33 yards) or so back.
Beyond the memorial Grey Friar can be seen across the col of Fairfield. Continue past the memorial, and pick up the boggy path across the col.
Continue ahead, and climb the rocky slopes. A path of sorts can be found which bears slightly left to reach the summit plateau. It gets a bit boggy here with a couple of small tarns.
There are two prominent cairns on rocky outcrops the left hand one is the Wainwright summit.
Return back to the col. The layout of paths appears complex but the way back is simple, bear first left and head back for the ridgeline just below Little Carrs.
The rough path meanders its way through minor craggy and boggy sections to rejoin the outward path at the small coll between Hell Gill Pike - which is well worth visiting as it's a cracking viewpoint - and Little Carrs.
Bear left and return to the cairn on Wet Side Edge to turn left onto the path dropping back to the top of Wrynose Pass.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Cold Pike and Pike of Blisco||130m (143 yards) away|
|Blea Tarn above Langdale||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|A visit to Cathedral Cavern from Tilberthwaite||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Steel Edge and Wetherlam Edge, from Tilberthwaite||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Bowfell, via Worneyside Force, Hell Gill, and the Great Slab||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|Rossett Pike, Angle Tarn, Esk Pike and Bowfell||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike||3.6km (2.2 miles) away|
|Crinkle Crags||3.6km (2.2 miles) away|
|The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick||4.1km (2.6 miles) away|
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||4.1km (2.6 miles) away|
|A very short walk to Hard Knott and Border End||4.7km (2.9 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011