Pillar plus Looking Stead, Black Crag, Scoat Fell, Steeple and Red Pike

24 May 2009

Today was forecast to be cloud-free on the tops with the likelihood of unbroken sunshine, so time for a full day's high level walk.

The car journey to Wastwater was far busier than expected for 7.30 on a Sunday morning, with large numbers of minibuses throwing themselves round corners at me. When I arrived at Over Beck car park, I found the entrance blocked by a coach and the car park almost full of minibuses and vans. The road towards Wasdale Head was full of more minibuses and camper vans. It seems there was a "Three Peaks Charity Challenge" going on. I'm content to share the hills with as many people as want to come and respect them, but this fundraising exercise seemed rather inappropriate and shattered the peace and beauty of the area.

So after all that busyness, a more serene photo of the head of Wastwater. Note the cloud, which was not what had been promised.

Finally leaving the road to Wasdale Head, we take the parallel path alongside Mosedale Beck, with Kirk Fell ahead

We then cross Mosedale Beck on the little packhorse bridge: Pillar, our primary objective, is centre picture, with its head in the cloud

Leaving the bustle of Wasdale Head behind, we make our way up Mosedale: we will be walking the ridge around the head of upper Mosedale, from Black Sail Pass around to Red Pike

Making our way along the north side of Mosedale, a view of all of the dale and most of its fells, from Yewbarrow on the left round to Pillar and Looking Stead.

Ascending along Gatherstone Beck towards Black Sail Pass

Crossing Gatherstone Beck, a look back across Mosedale to Yewbarrow and the scree run of Dore Head

Black Sail Pass, with its dilapidated gate still in place. The weather is sunny here but there is still a lot of cloud and it is still covering the highest summits.

Heading towards Looking Stead and Pillar, now without cloud. I passed a man near here who had waited half an hour on top of Pillar waiting for the cloud to clear, before giving up - and was now looking back at the cloud-free summit.

The view of Pillar from the top of Looking Stead

Part of Ennerdale from Looking Stead

A panoramic shot of Ennerdale (click for larger version).

Haystacks centre picture, with Skiddaw peeking into view above Haystacks between Robinson and Hindscarth

Looking northeast from the summit of Pillar - the view includes Skiddaw and Blencathra left, the Pennines centre, and the Helvellyn range round to the right.

From near the summit of Pillar, looking down on Pillar Rock into Ennerdale.

Descending from Pillar towards Wind Gap, past which our route will continue on past Black Crag to Scoat Fell (centre-right).

Approaching Windy Gap, with George the mountain dog far more sure-footed than I am.

From the col of Wind Gap, looking down Mosedale to Wasdale Head

And in the other direction, Wind Gap Cove, Ennerdale Water, the sea (and Scotland, though it doesn't show up well on the photo).

Ascending Black Crag, a look back across Wind Gap to Pillar

From Black Crag, a view ahead to Red Pike (left) and Scoat Fell (centre-right).

Ennerdale Water and the sea from Black Crag

Scoat Fell and Steeple from Black Crag

Looking across Mirk Cove to Steeple

Steeple from Scoat Fell

Black Crag and Pillar from Steeple

Back on the flat summit of Scoat Fell after the very worthwhile diversion to Steeple

Taking a pathless but easy route down Scoat Fell towards Red Pike, with the Scafells behind.

Ascending Red Pike, a look down at Scoat Tarn our route of descent, with Seatallan beyond.

The top of Red Pike is right on the edge of the steep crag: looking back to the more rounded Scoat Fell.

Looking down into Mosedale from Red Pike

From the top of Red Pike, the valley of Nether Beck - our route of descent

We have descended from Red Pike to Scoat Tarn

Making our way down Nether Beck

That water looks very cold, but that woman on the left was under the waterfall a moment ago.

The Wastwater Screes

Looking back up Netherbeck, with the crags of Knott Ends looking down - probably relatively little explored, though away from Wastwater I saw only a handful of people even on a sunny Bank Holiday and half-term Sunday.

The glorious views of today's walk continued right till the end, with here Yewbarrow, the Scafells and the Screes below Illgill Head and Whin Rigg.

A closer view of the Scafells

And a last look at Yewbarrow past the bluebells as we walk the short way along the road back to the car park.

Zoom in for more detail, or click to view larger map in new window

A long walk, which could have ended being a flop if the cloud hadn't lifted, but which turned out really well with a high ridge walk.
Total distance 20.0 km and 1302 metres of ascent in 7 hours 33 mins.



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson