Fell Guide: Great Carrs


Great Carrs sits at the northern end of the Coniston Fells, but it feels more like it belongs to the Duddon, where it overlooks Wrynose Bottom at the upper reaches of the valley, and to Little Langdale, from where it is seen above the Greenburn valley.

Great Carrs is a fell of two very different halves The eastern side is made up of a line of dramatic crags that overlook Greenburn. To the west is a more gentle largely grassy slope, covered with scattered boulders.

The size of the fell depends entirely on if you allocate its northern ridge to Great Carrs or see it as ending at Little Carrs. For me the ridge belongs to the parent fell, and so Great Carrs stretches out all the way to Little Langdale Tarn. In the west the fell drops down to Black Spouts and the wide col that leads up to Great Friar. To the south Great Carrs merges into Swirl How - if it wasn't for the cove formed by Broad Slack the two fells would be one. There certainly isn't any reason not to visit Swirl How once you've come this far, especially as the two fells offer significantly different views, as each cuts off a large part of the view from the other.

The views from Great Carrs are impressive enough, especially to the east, where there are expansive views down Little Langdale, to the south where Dow Crag is seen from a dramatic angle and to the north and north-west where the central fells form the skyline.

Just to the west of the summit is a memorial to the eight crew members of a Halifax bomber who died when their aircraft hit the mountain on 22 October 1944. Part of the landing gear is built into the memorial.


Grid Reference of Summit: NY 270 009
Height: 2,575ft


Routes of Ascent

The only direct route up from a valley bottom comes up from Little Langdale. Follow the long ridge that runs along the north side of Greenburn, west to West Side Edge, then over Hell Gill Pike and Little Carrs up to the summit.

It is also possible to join this path from the vicinity of Three Shire Stone at the top of Wrynose Pass.

The other ways to the top are ridge walks from nearby fells. A broad col connects Great Carrs to Grey Friar in the west. The eastern part of Grey Friar feels like a ridge, but the western slopes of Great Carrs are a more even slope. Head straight up this slope for Great Carrs or veer right to get to Swirl How.

The more impressive ridge approach comes up from the direction of the Old Man of Coniston and Brim Fell. This path crosses Levers Hawse, then climbs up to Swirl How. Turn west here and follow the path around the top of Broad Slack to reach Great Carrs.


Our ascent of Swirl How visits Great Carrs twice, on the way up and way down.

Our ascent of the Old Man of Coniston from the Duddon visits Great Carrs on the way up

The Summit

The summit area runs from north to south above the crags overlooking Broad Slack, with rocky slopes running north and more grassy boulder-strewn slopes to the west and south.

Streams and Tarns

Greenburn Beck rises in Broad Slack, between Great Carrs and Swirl How, and runs north-east towards Greenburn Reservoir then east into Little Langdale.

In the north-east the boundary of Great Carrs isn't entirely clear, but if we take it to include the entire ridge down into Little Langdale then the north-east boundary is formed by Widdy Gill, then the River Brathay.

The northern boundary of the fell is formed by the River Duddon, flowing west from Wrynose Pass.

The western boundary is formed by Doe House Gill, which flows north down the slopes into the Duddon, and by the upper reaches of Tarn Head Beck (or its nameless sources), which flow down the south-western slope shared between Great Carrs and Swirl How

A number of becks rise on the northern slopes of the fell and flow into the Duddon, including Hell Gill.

Great Carrs can claim part of Greenburn Reservoir which sits south of the long ridge running into Little Langdale.

A tiny part of Little Langdale Tarn could be claimed by Great Carrs, sitting between Greenburn Beck and the River Brathay,

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