1102 Metres Ascent
Today was going to be a big walk and the weather was firmly on my side. Clear blue skies for the second day in a row. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was woken up early by the sound of a Sea King buzzing around Scarfell. I had hoped it was an exercise, but the time of day suggested otherwise. (I learnt later it was looking for a missing walker, who was sadly found later at the bottom of a waterfall).
Heading out from the campsite, I followed the bridle path towards Wasdale. This involved crossing a river, luckily it wasn’t flowing to strongly, though I still got wet feet. The route passes the Wasdale Head Inn and the bottom of Kirk Fell. This is an option on this walk but the path straight up Kirk fell just looked ridiculous!
I followed the path round to the bottom of the Black Sail Pass, my ‘easier’ route up to the tops. It was steep and hard work. Following Gatherstone Beck, I had plenty of fresh water (filtered via a Sawyer Squeeze), which on a warm day allowed me to pack pretty light. It was again a quiet day, despite it being a perfect day.
After a slow climb up to the top of Black Sail Pass, I turned left towards Pillar. It soon was becoming quite apparent that this route would be ‘rougher’ than planned. The map suggested more of a grassy walk where the reality was a lot rockier with multiple scrambles. The views on both sides, Wasdale and Ennerdale, more than made up for the effort.
After 3 short scrambles the summit of Pillar was in sight. A flat and open summit, it still afforded some great views, and a couple of shelters gave plenty of cover to have a snack or two. I needed a break to be honest! This was a ‘proper’ walk over rough ground.
Heading down from Pillar towards Wind Gap was again a bit of a rough scramble; I had the choice here to head back down into Wasdale, but decided to press on. I felt good, despite the hard route. Another scramble led up above Black Crag, before another scramble to Little Scoat Fell. I had a choice here to head over to Steeple, but that looked like a proper ridge/scramble and outside of my comfort zone.
Red Pike was, again, a short scramble but mainly grassy fell. I could see why this walk is so popular, it has great views but it’s not easy, well not easy for a lowlander like me! Heading down to Dore head I had three options, down the Dorehead Screes to Wasdale (stupid steep scree scramble), up Stirrup Crag onto Yewbarrow (steep hard looking scramble) or follow the path round the bottom of Yewbarrow.
I took the easy option down above Over Beck. I filtered some more water, and took the long but relaxed walk down. The path is steep down the nose of Yewbarrow, before hitting the road back to Wasdale.
Great walk, great weather, but not one to be underestimated. Loved it!