Date & Time: Sunday 4th June 2006. 10.15 am start.

Location of Start : Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( Map ref: NY 186 085 )

Places visited : Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Red Pike and Yewbarrow. a circuit of the Mosedale Valley.

Walk details : 9.5 mls, 4,750 ft of ascent , 9 hrs 30 mins. (That about a mile an hour including stops today)

Walked with : Jo, John, Ann and the five dogs.

Weather : Sunny with a slight cool breeze. High Clouds came and went, good visibility but getting hazy.

Starting point at Wasdale Head - and our end of walk target - Ritson's Bar.


The forecast was good for today and the prospect of a long summer days walking was possible, so we chose to walk the classic Mosedale Horseshoe. Today we were outnumbered by the dogs, what with our two, Jo's two, and John's new dog Polly. Still there was plenty of open fell ahead and room enough for them all !

With one car parked at the Yewbarrow end of the walk, we all piled in one car, drove the short distance up the valley, and parked on the Green near the Inn.

On the way now and looking up Mosedale Valley with the mighty bulk of Pillar Fell at the head.

We planned an anti-clockwise walk around the skyline, give or take a few diversions.

Across the valley, to our left, was Yewbarrow and the light coloured Dore Head Screes.

At the end of the walk we planned to climb the former, rather than descend the latter.

The long pathway up Black Sail Pass, very warm and slightly airless in the mid morning sun.

Rather than take the short cut we continued up on the stone pitched path to the top where we got great views across into Ennerdale.

Black Sail Pass summit cairn
A sentinel sheep below the Kirk Fell Crags.


Turning left at the pass we set off for Pillar.

The dogs enjoyed the cool water of a small tarn along the way.

Onward and upward on a good path towards Pillar.

We decided to take the Pillar high level traverse rather than walk to the summit via the normal path.

The route leaves the ridge at the end of the grassy section, just below the first of the steep crags in the photo above.


This is not the simplest or easiest walking routes on Pillar, but it is a good one. It ascends and descends across the crags and rocks of the northern face of the mountain and ends up at the base of Pillar Rock.

Along the way the route passes Robinson's Cairn and then climbs steeply up past the Rock to emerge near the summit of Pillar itself.


Here John has foregone his walking poles in order to scramble down a short rocky section.


The dogs seem to be leading the way.

Although not always obvious from a distance, there is a well defined path to follow.

Wonderful views down into Ennerdale Valley.

Above a re-growth of trees is Black Sail Youth Hostel, the most remote in Lakeland.

This was a longer traverse than we remember, but then Pillar is a big fell,

and the direct walk to the summit is no doubt equally long !

Robinson's Cairn, three quarters of the way along,

and a good time for a quick refreshment.

The cairn has a great view of Pillar Rock too.

Ann and Bethan at Robinson's Cairn.
The sunshine highlights two white dots that are climbers

Higher up two climbers at Pisgah and another two on the centre section in blue and red jackets.

This is real rock climbing territory.

The final part, the Shamrock Traverse, is quite narrow.
The final climb leaves the rock behind and heads towards the top.

Nearly there.

A sudden and dramatic long distant view of the high fells above the final ridge of Pillar.

John reaches "the top of the world".

having spent the last hour or so close under the crags.

The wide, flat summit plateau of Pillar

with its trig point and stone shelter.

Leaving the top we make our way over towards Scoat Fell.

Ahead in the dip is Wind Gap, then we climb across Black Crag and on to Scoat Fell and Steeple.

Here Harry looks down on the distant and hazy Ennerdale Water.

Red Pike from Wind Gap.
Steeple and Mirk Cove from the same place.

Black Crag,

a fine intermediate summit on the ridge

The summit cairn on the wall of Scoat Fell

Behind are Great Borne and the Loweswater Fells.

Steeple Fell

is an outlier of Scoat Fell but also a fine peak in itself.

The climb from here is quite short and sweet.


John decided to take time out

in order to photograph us on the summit.


Below is our picture of him.

Scoat Fell from Steeple.

He's the one on the left.

Scoat Tarn from the slopes of Red Pike

as we make out way down the the southern leg of our walk today.

Great Gable from Red Pike
The Scafells from more or less the same place

The last of the the three summit cairns of Red Pike is shaped like a stone seat,

wide enough for Ann and myself it seems. Can't be carrying too much weight then :o) !

Losing height fast now we head for Dore Head.

Below is a small mountain tarn and what looks like unusual black sheep.

When we got closer is became apparent that they were not sheep but cattle. It was most unusual to see them at this height (1500 ft) on the British fells.

( To appreciate the height, check back on the Dore Head picture at the top of the page. )

This picture of calm and beauty was slightly marred, to say the least, when the cattle took a dislike to Jo's smaller dog.

Presumably they were protecting their young calves. At least they picked on Megan, she can run a lot faster then we could have done !

A really rough looking Dore Head Screes.
Our final climb up Stirrup Crag onto Yewbarrow.

Two shots of Great Gable showing this fell living up to its name.

This one is from the summit of Yewbarrow.

The early evening light and high cloud casting different light of Gable this time

as we start our descent of Yewbarrow.

Looking back up Yewbarrow
and down from the same place.

At the end of this hot day the ascent and descent of Yewbarrow took longer than expected.

The path also seems to have deteriorated a lot in recent years and caused all of us slight problems due to the dry, slippery nature of the stones and gravel.

The view ahead was superb as the evening sun broke through a high cloud layer

and gave the screes of Illgill Head colour and texture that they had been lacking for the last half hour.

The final grassy descent to Overbeck
and back to where we started.

Time for a well earned refreshment in a glass, brewed by the Great Gable Brewing Company.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed . . . with the satisfaction of a fine summer walk, successfully completed.

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A previous time up here - 4th February 2003 Yewbarrow in Wasdale with Hilton and Dave