Birkhouse Moor is a fell in the English Lake District, an outlier of
the Helvellyn range in the Eastern Fells. It is properly an eastern
ridge of Helvellyn but was treated as a separate fell by Alfred
Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. That convention
is followed here.
Running east from the summit of Helvellyn is Striding Edge, a
knife-edged arÍte which provides the most famous fell-walking in the
District. The ridge turns a little to the north at the rocky turret of
High Spying How and then drops to a grassy saddle known as
North east of here the ridge broadens into a
wide plateau, appearing in plan like a three taloned claw. This plateau,
about a mile wide, is Birkhouse Moor. The three talons are the short
spurs of Keldas, The Nab and the unnamed northern ridge.
To the south of the Striding Edge, Birkhouse
Moor ridge runs the long valley of Grisedale, emptying into the head of
Ullswater. There are small pockets of mixed woodland on the lower slopes
and above these the valley wall is steep sided with some outcropping
The northern side of Birkhouse Moor is bounded by the more
complex Glenridding valley system.
Glenridding Beck has three
principal southern tributaries, Mires Beck, Bleacove Beck and Red Tarn
Beck. Mires Beck flows from Little Cove, a small corrie separating
Keldas and the Nab.
Bleacove Beck empties Blea Cove, a short side
valley between The Nab and the north ridge. Red Tarn Beck forms the
western perimeter of Birkhouse Moor, draining the large tarn of that
name nestling beneath the summit of Helvellyn.
There is more rock
on this side with Nab Crag rising above Blea Cove and extensive
outcropping on all three ridges. There remains evidence on the
Glenridding slopes of the former activities of Greenside Lead Mine.
Several pipelines can still be traced which once captured the water of
these streams for industrial use.
Keldas is separated from the
main body of Birkhouse Moor by a small depression containing Lanty's
Tarn. This small waterbody gains its name from Lancelot Dobson an
It was later bought by the owners of
Patterdale Hall, the Marshall family, and extended by damming. In
addition to fishing, the tarn was used as a source of ice in winter and
the ice house still stands nearby.
The summit of Keldas is
privately owned but public access is permitted. Standing above the head
of Ullswater it provides superb views down the lake, with the 'Keldas
Pines' giving an excellent foreground for photographs.
Moor has two summits, the true top is on the main ridge to Striding
Edge, which is followed by a stone wall. A cairn has been built a little
to the west, but the wall appears to cross the highest point.
north top (2,315 ft) lies a quarter of a mile away at the meeting point
of The Nab and the north ridge. A cairn has also been built here and
there are good views to the north. Between the two tops is an area of
marshy ground with a number of small tarns.
Acting as a staging
post on the popular ascent of Helvellyn from Patterdale, Birkhouse Moor
is crossed by a number of major routes.
The ridge can be gained
from the Glenridding side via Mires Beck or Lanty's Tarn. From the mouth
of Grisedale a path climbs to the Hole-in-the-Wall, with variations
allowing the summit to be visited or bypassed. Pathless climbs can also
be made up The Nab or the north ridge from Glenridding.
from the true summit is dominated by Helvellyn and the encircling arms
of Striding and Swirral Edges.
routes near Birkhouse Moor