~Kirk Fell to Red Pike~
16th April 2016
Ennerdale from Pillar
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
An 04:30hrs start from home for the 110 mile drive to Wasdale Head. 2hrs and 30 mins later we were having breakfast by a rather chilly Wastwater.
To Kirk Fell
The direct ascent of Kirk Fell from Wasdale Head is said to be "the straightest and therefore the most direct ascent in Lakeland" by Wainwright and "the steepest - a relentless and unremitting treadmill, a turf-clutching crawl, not a walk". The first claim may be true, I'm less sure about the "steepest" claim. Suffice is to say it's uncomplicated and presents even the most directionally-challenged walker with a difficulty if they want to get lost.
Generally, I have shyed away from long drives with Molly in the car, favouring walks closer to home - including those in the Lake District within a maximum 2 hour drive. This is a "trial run", the early start and a more modern car allowed for a relatively easy drive.
Red Pike (Wasdale)
Both Yewbarrow and Red Pike are on today's agenda. What could possibly go wrong?
The upper reaches of this direct route are a little tricky across loose scree. In case I haven't mentioned it - it's mighty cold up here just now with a stiff northerly breeze.
Parking is free of charge in the area shown, so walkers can explore the fells without cost! It's a dangerous game to believe that fell access bears no costs; just as parks don't maintain themselves for runners and cycle routes don't look after themsleves.
Illgill Head and the Wastwater Screes.
Whilst there is great toil in this way up Kirk Fell, the rewards come with the expanding view in retrospect.
Kirk Fell Summit 2,620ft asl
We reached the top at about 09:15hrs; the ascent of 2,330ft and 1.25miles took 90 minutes.
Ah well, 800ft of descent to Black Sail Pass and 1,150ft of ascent to the top of Pillar.
Black Sail Pass
Sad reminders of a time when fences and gates mattered.
Yewbarrow from Black Sail
Black Sail Tarn
High Stile Ridge
When I started this website-lark, one rule was not to underpin any one photograph with more than five lines of text and I think I've stuck to it. You, the viewer, have landed here to look at photos, haven't you? I don't mind if other folk in this game have lots to say and say it; I just haven't and don't. Each unto their own. Let the photos tell the story...
Great views to the north of Pillar and a dramatic environment close to the edge.
Pillar Summit 2,927ft asl
It's always sunny on Pillar! Or at least whenever I've been here. I made a direct ascent of Pillar sometime around 1987 and since then have hit the top via ridge routes. I hope to take the direct route via Robinson's Cairn and the Shamrock Traverse once again in the future.
Molly Taps The Trig
To Scoat Fell
The cool "Arctic Wind" has brought crystal clear air along with sub-zero felltop temperatures. In the distance, views extend across the Solway Firth and comfortably as far as The Isle of Man.
Scoat Fell Summit 2,760ft asl
Those familiar with the area will know that for minimal effort walkers can walk to the summit of Steeple. I'm done with that; next time I hit the top of Steeple it will be from the bottom of Steeple!
"They" are repairing / rebuilding the fence along the Ennerdale watershed in order to protect plants and stuff from grazing sheep. In time, they say, the wall be rebuilt and the fence can be removed. In time, Burnley will win The Premier League and who knows? the pension ages may return to 60 and 65 for the hard workers of this country. Time is a wonderful thing.....
Red Pike (Wasdale)
There are two Red Pikes and hence they are often seen with a bracketed qualification. The other one is redder.
Red Pike (Wasdale) Summit 2,707ft asl
The sky is slowly filling up with clouds and there could be some hail showers - as per the forecast for the afternoon. The wind has eased.
The Scafells from Red Pike
Molly on The Chair
A dilemma troubled me. The way up Yewbarrow involves a steep climb up Stirrup Crag and Molly is no rockclimber. The alternative is a 1,000ft of steep descent from Dore Head to Mosedale. Here's a photo taken earlier.
Dore Head Descent
In the event, I watched a couple struggle to bring a dog down Stirrup Crag and so opted for the red-dot route. Not doing that again! Yewbarrow will have to wait for another day and might, for the sake of Molly's fell count, be an "out-and-back" from the southern aspect.
A straightforward walk back to Wasdale Head.
Kirk Fell and Great Gable (r)
The walk completed by 14:50hrs and we retired to The Wasdale Inn for light refreshments.
Walkers: Molly The Dog and Me.
Route: Wasdale Head, Kirk Fell, Black Sail Pass, Looking Stead, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Red Pike (Wasdale), Dore Head, Mosedale Beck, Wasdale Head.
Weather: Cold and breezy, improving to less breeze, less cold and one short hail shower. More showers followed when we were in the pub and later.
Time Taken: 7 hours over a distance of about 8 miles and 4,300ft of ascent.
Refreshments: The Wasdale Inn has a fine lunchtime menu and even though it was busy, service was prompt and the food was good. Dogs welcome.
Five lines of text...this applies to standard computer screens. Little screens which are not ideal for viewing this kind of thing might generate more lines of text, I suspect you know what I mean.
LMS Jubilee Class 6P 4-6-0 no 45699 Galatea
Brings the "Spirit of The Lakes" through Grange-Over-Sands. I intended to go to Arnside, but took a wrong turn and ended up at Grange.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2016 ©