The Mosedale Horseshoe

Another beautiful, warm day, just right for a long and hard walk around the high fells of northern Wasdale.  This time we were accompanied by Martin Roberts, as on two previous Wainwright walks, who had driven 2½ hours to get there and had had little or no breakfast as a result. I, on the other hand, had driven nowhere and had had a quite enormous Wasdale Head Breakfast.  He certainly wanted his lunch before I did!

Here are the pictures (click on any picture for a larger version):



View from our front door at the Wasdale head Inn.  When we arrived in Wasdale, we hadn't been able to see the little church in the trees; in fact, we couldn't see the trees at all.

Our path took us between Kirk Fell, on the left, and Great Gable on the right.
Initially, we climbed on grass to about this point, where we could see right down the valley.  On the left is Lingmell and, beyond it, the Screes where we had been the previous day.  Yewbarrow is on the right.

Some of the famous Gable crags.
The path from Wasdale up to Beck Head, the col between Kirk Fell and Great Gable, is called Gavel Neese, and this is where it turns from grass to rubble.  Not pleasant, but also not so steep as the first part.


The path up Kirk Fell from Beck Head, which is about 200 yards to the right of the camera.
Nobody messes with me!  Gable from near the top of Kirk Fell.  Beck Head is visible on the left, and the path up to the summit of Gable goes more or less straight up the ridge.  You can see Gavel Neese at the bottom of the picture, and, branching off it across the scree, the Climbers' Traverse which takes you across to the crags and needles.


Which you can easily see from the eastern top of Kirk Fell.  It was some time ago, when seeking to attend a very wet and murky Remembrance Day service on the top of Gable, that I discovered that there is at least one scrambling (not climbing) route up these crags.  I was with the dogs and followed three young men upwards, having asked  them whether it was OK for dogs.  We finished with me pushing the dogs up the difficult bits, and them pulling.  All good fun, but it was probably a good thing I couldn't see too much of the surroundings...
Pillar and Scoat Fell, from the real top of Kirk Fell


Sophie is not too good at taking pictures, so this is a rare photo, taken by Martin, of yours truly with dog.  Note the blue sky, which was not going to last for too long.
The view north-west from Kirk Fell, with Grasmoor dominating the far distance behind Scarth Gap.  Haystacks is the nearest fell.


Pillar from Black Sail pass, which links Mosedale and Ennerdale.
Light clouds are coming in over Mosedale.


Ennerdale and the Buttermere ridge.
Here you can see  the vast bulk of Kirk Fell on the other side of Black Sail pass.  The path down from Kirk Fell is directly over the crag above the pass, and has a number of "bad steps", all of which can thankfully be circumvented.


Looking right down Mosedale, with Burnmoor Tarn visible in the distance.  No, I haven't got camera shake, Yewbarrow really has that shape, with a long summit ridge.
The top of Pillar Rock, from near the summit of Pillar.  You can just see two people on the top area of the rock, which gives you a sense of its size.  Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team have a special 3000 ft rope to deal with accidents occurring on this huge rocky outcrop...


I was in such a hurry to get a picture of Pillar Rock that I nearly forgot to record our visit to the summit of Pillar.  Sophie reminded me.
After Pillar you drop down the ridge, and then up to Scoat Fell, which we had difficulty finding in the bad visibility.  The summit cairn is here, on top of a wall.  That in the distance is Red Pike.


First however we turned north to visit Steeple via a narrow ridge.
Here is the reverse view: Scoat Fell as seen from Steeple.

It was a pity we didn't have enough time to explore Steeple.  Here are some of its other tops, looking north.  We had to return south, via Scoat Fell and Red Pike.  Unfortunately the mist descended even further, and I deleted by mistake the only picture I took of this section - which was characterised by low cloud covering everything in the Mosedale valley, and most of the high ridge.
From Red Pike we had a long descent towards Dore Head, where we were treated to this view of Stirrup Crag, our route up Yewbarrow.  I must say it looked a bit daunting, largely because we couldn't see a path.  However, on we went and eventually managed after some head-scratching to scramble up to the top, Sophie showing us the way.
The view down to Dore Head from half way up Stirrup Crag.  The first part was just steep; the second half was steep and seriously craggy.  Martin and I agreed that, if this was a Grade 1 scramble, we didn't want to see any Grade 2s!  Just what you want after nearly 7 hours walking...
Here you can appreciate the length of the top plateau of Yewbarrow.  This summit cairn is about half way along.
And here is the other end of the fell!  A mini-Matterhorn - no scrambling but lots of steep scree.  We were very glad, after 8 hours walking, to see Joanna waiting for us at the bottom car park


If you would like to sponsor me and Sophie in our quest to walk all the Wainwrights for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, please click here - and thank you for your generosity!