walkhighlands

This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky!

Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky!


Postby Alteknacker » Mon May 04, 2015 11:22 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Esk Pike, Great End, Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Lingmell, Pillar, Red Pike (Wasdale), Scafell, Scafell Pike, Scoat Fell, Yewbarrow

Hewitts included on this walk: Esk Pike, Great End, Great Gable, Ill Crag, Kirk Fell, Kirk Fell East Top, Lingmell, Pillar, Pillar - Black Crag, Red Pike (Wasdale), Scafell, Scafell Pike, Scoat Fell, Yewbarrow, Yewbarrow North Top

Date walked: 01/05/2015

Time taken: 11.5

Distance: 27.2 km

Ascent: 3099m

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



ImageRoute Profile

I'd done this walk twice before, the first time in May 2013, and then again in February this year. On both occasions the weather was pretty poor, the first time in clag from beginning to end; and the second time with the tops in clag, with visibility down to 50m. So I was determined that, if I did the walk again, I'd do it in fine weather so that I could get the spectacular views that others' pictures promised.

While taking a preparatory look over the route, I'd noticed that there are 12 named peaks - albeit a couple of them - Broad Crag and III Crag - stand only 10s of metres over the general level in the area. Perhaps a more reasonable name would be the Wasdale Horseshoe 10....

Due to an unfortunate conjunction of personal and work commitments, I'd been unable to make any use of the wonderful weather that the country enjoyed around Easter; and seeing the pics in WH reports was driving me stir-crazy.
Stir crazy.png


I was scanning all the forecasts, probably in the subliminal belief that if I hoped hard enough, the weather god might react; but it didn't look too brilliant for the week up to the bank holiday - at least in terms of clear summits - but then about a week out, the Friday began to emerge as a potentially good day. And the MWIS remained constant in spite of the Met Office forecasters saying up until the Wednesday that they couldn't be sure which way it would go...

1.png


Knowing I'd only have the one day, I decided to go for the Wasdale Horseshoe again, the drive to the Highlands being just too far.

Having already reported on this route, albeit with multiple pictures of clag-bound hills...
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=49656
... this report will be short on text and long on pics - because this time the weather was just perfect, and this is a truly wonderful area.

So: my mood buoyed by the very favourable and constant MWIS forecasts, I set off for Wasdale at 4pm on Thursday. I decided to go up the night before this time so as to allow plenty of time for a long walk; and also I wanted to try out my new down sleeping bag.

With good conditions the drive is about 3.5 hours; but sadly, conditions weren't good - the M6 was more like the evening before a bank holiday!

Image

But I did have plenty of time to notice how incredibly clear the air was - the Isle of Man was plainly visible from the M6. I just hoped this presaged well for the morrow.

It was a fraction under 5 hours later that I arrive at the turn-off to Wasdale Head, and as I drove up the dale - miracle! - the Horseshoe hills were beautifully clear.

ImageIMG_0929.

ImageIMG_0930.

ImageIMG_0935. Tomorrow's goal - Scafell - in the evening light.

Tent quickly pitched, I paid a quick visit to that building of cultural, architectural and historical interest that is the Wasdale Head Inn for some sandwiches and a pint, and then crashed out in my new down bag.

Being quite pumped up by the prospect of the next day's walking, I didn't sleep particularly well; and in spite of a frost, the bag was ridiculously warm, such that I had to uncover my head and arms in order to remain cool enough to be able to sleep. :crazy:

I was up at 4.30am, to a wonderful clear frosty morning (cue: pulse rate accelerates!); and having packed the tent and reparked the car, I was setting foot on the base of Yewbarrow at 5.30am.

The last time I did the route I felt unreasonably tired at the end of it, and judging by the amount I drunk after I finished, I'd become dehydrated, not realising in the cold temperatures how much fluid I was losing. So this time I have 4 litres with me!

ImageIMG_0937. Kirk Fell and Gt Gable at dawn. This looks auspicious indeed!!!

Image]IMG_0936. Yewbarrow just before the rising sun catches the crags.

The ascent of Yewbarrow is quite a steep slog, but the views compensate for any effort.

ImageAs I near the top, I hear a half-remembered bird call, and then suddently I get a fantastic view of a Ring Ouzel.
(Not my picture, unfortunately - it was away before I could get my camera out)

ImageIMG_0941. Sunrise over Scafell and Scafell Pike from half way up Yewbarrow.

ImageIMG_0944. The rising sun just catches the top crags of Yewbarrow as I arrive.

ImageIMG_0948. Wastwater from near the top of Yewbarrow. This is going to be a fantastic day for views!

ImageIMG_0955. The sun rises from behind Gt Gable, at about 6.40am.

ImageIMG_0953. Looking towards Red Pike from the Yewbarrow ridge, with Red Pike in the foreground, and a snow-capped Pillar to the right.

Image20150501_438. Looking back at Red Pike from Scoat Fell.

Image20150501_652. The ascent to Pillar.
The sun is now quite strong, but temperatures still feels to be around freezing.

So far I haven't met or even seen anyone. Magic :D

Image20150501_090123. Pillar Rock is quite impressive...

Image20150501_091023.

Image20150501_092006. Looking back at Pillar from Wind Gap, with Scoat Fell in the background.

Image20150501_093936. The ascent to Kirk Fell. An easy path.

Looking around on the top of Kirk Fell is quite a strange feeling. I've been here twice before, but only in quite dense clag, so I had no real idea at all of the lie of the land. This is really quite disorienting!

Image20150501_100331. Looking back at Pillar from Kirk Fell summit, with (right to left) Scoat Fell(s) and Red Pike.

Image20150501_101713. Scafell Pike and Scafell to the right, and Great End to the left.

Image20150501_101725. And panning left, an awe-inspiring view of Gt Gable

The last time I did the route, Gt Gable was completely shrouded in cloud, so I couldn't see the screes; and instead of taking the path to the left, I just yomped straight up the scree. This was a very bad idea indeed, not least because there was a very strong wind that frequently blew me over. And of course, there was the usual scree ascent experience of 1 step back for every 2 steps forward. Thank goodness this time I could see the stark difference between the 2 routes: on the map last time the great difference in the terrain had not been apparent to me.

It was MUCH easier this time!

On Gt Gable I meet the first people that day.... Pretty good for this area, I think.

Image20150501_111448. Looking down on to Kirk Fell from the top of Gt Gable. Much of the ridge route I've just come along is visible from here.

Then down the path to Sty Head, and then on up the valley behind. Massively easier than when the wind is howling about your ears!

ImageIMG_0969. Descending from Gt Gable to Sty Head, with Great End looming ahead, reminding you how far you have to ascend again!

ImageIMG_0970. Looking back down the path towards Sty Head, with Gt Gable in the background. Easy walking.

Easy or not, as I turn off the valley path and up towards Scafell Pike, and the path steepens, I begin to feel quite tired, notwithstanding having kept well hydrated. Damn, I'm definitely not as fit as I'd conned myself into believing!

Image20150501_122603. Up on the plateau, the Langdale Pikes are clearly visible to the East.

A short diversion to take in Esk Pike, then on to Great End. There are quite a few more people around now - unsurprising, I guess, given the wonderful weather.

Image20150501_130543. Looking back from Great End towards Gt Gable. Wonderful view of the route, with even Yewbarrow showing on the left hand side.

Image20150501_130608. And to the South West, Scafell Pike, with III Crag just peaking out on the left of the pic.

Image20150501_133350. III Crag - not very dramatic, to say the least!

Image20150501_133433. And Broad Crag, taken from III Crag.

Image20150501_133455. Not forgetting the Pike itself.

15 minutes walk gets me to the summit; which is pretty crowded now, it being 13.45. Across Mickledore I can also see people on Scafell itself.

Image20150501_143011. Looking back along the route from Scafell Pike summit. Lingmell Crag in the foreground, Stirrup Crag on Yewbarrow just visible on the lhs, Gt Gable just visible on the rhs.

Only one more to go now. After a long lunch break, I continue South West down to Mickeldore. The plan is to take the Foxes Tarn route. However, as I'm descending I see a very narrow-looking gorge-like gulley that starts well above the Foxes Tarn stream, and decide to give it a closer inspection. Either side of the gulley entrance itself, overhanging walls of rock give it quite a sinister air.

When I get there it looks quite challenging: very damp within the confines of the almost vertical sides of the crack, and some major obstacles to overcome in the stream. The stream bed itself looks much too mossy to climb, so it will have to be the sides.

Image20150501_144833.
I scramble up about 8 metres on the left hand side rock. But now I have a better view of what's there, and the idea of reaching an impasse somewhere near the top and then having the scramble back down that wet mossy slippery gulley doesn't appeal. Also I'm pretty cream crackered now. So I climb back down, and head for the Foxes Tarn gulley.

Image20150501_151222. Foxes Tarn gulley. This is very straightforward, barely a scramble even.

Image20150501_151237. Looking back from the top of the Foxes Tarn gulley towards Scafell Pike.

When I reach Foxes Tarn - about half-way up the ascent, I'm really feeling weak. Boy, I need to get fit :( . Just one last pull now....

When I eventually arrive at the summit, puffing and panting like a steam engine, there are only 2 guys there.

Image20150501_155558. Looking more or less North from the summit stone circle.

Image20150501_155636. And slightly further clockwise around, looking just East of North to Scafell Pike.

It's all downhill from here... :D .
Image20150501_160357. The way back: Wastwater and the sea. The Isle of Man is clearly visible.

Image20150501_160403. On the way down I'm treated to the most fantastic panorama of the whole horseshoe route. Just brilliant![/url]

Image20150501_170843. A final look back at Scafell just before I get to the car park, the evening sun illuminating the upper crags. Wonderful!

Then a quick change, and on to a place of high cultural, architectural and historical interest...
Image

Yep, this route definitely lives up to its top billing. Certainly the best vistas I've experienced in the Lake District.
Just a pity the skies don't clear more often...
And I'm not a bit fitter.. :(

Exhausted.png
Last edited by Alteknacker on Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:13 am, edited 9 times in total.
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby mamoset » Tue May 05, 2015 9:28 am

Great looking walk that alte, good pics too :clap:
mamoset
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1460
Munros:137   Corbetts:2
Donalds:1
Hewitts:115
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 12, 2011

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Mal Grey » Tue May 05, 2015 12:08 pm

Excellent report, what a day out on the hills.


As for fitness, you've every right to be tired, that's one hell of a lot of hills, most people would consider that about 3-4 different days out! Hats off!
User avatar
Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2886
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Alteknacker » Thu May 07, 2015 9:11 am

mamoset wrote:Great looking walk that alte, good pics too :clap:


Thanks - it was great to actually see it this time!

Mal Grey wrote:Excellent report, what a day out on the hills.
As for fitness, you've every right to be tired, that's one hell of a lot of hills, most people would consider that about 3-4 different days out! Hats off!


Thanks MG, it was spectacular - particularly surprising to me was the lack of crowds everywhere except on Scafell Pike.
As regards fitness, I guess one always looks back at what one has done in the (not too distant) past, and compares. And it can be hard to admit that getting older at some stage begins to have a detrimental effect on performance :(
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby trailmasher » Thu May 07, 2015 11:11 am

Now that's a walk and a bit Alte. :clap: Great report and photo's with weather to boot. And you're right about looking back at past conquests. But unfortunately, time waits for no man :roll: :(
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1129
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Alteknacker » Fri May 08, 2015 11:45 pm

trailmasher wrote:Now that's a walk and a bit Alte. :clap: Great report and photo's with weather to boot. And you're right about looking back at past conquests. But unfortunately, time waits for no man :roll: :(


Too true. Actually it was partly your 2006 report posted recently that helped me gather the resolve to do it again. So thanks for that.

And now having done it in the right weather, I'd definitely do it again!
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby petenelliewalking » Sat May 09, 2015 12:09 am

Lovely set of photos, especially of the ringed ouzel - a real cracker.
Peter
User avatar
petenelliewalking
Ambler
 
Posts: 19
Munros:18   Corbetts:7
Grahams:9   
Hewitts:75
Wainwrights:13   
Joined: Apr 19, 2015
Location: Aberystwyth

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby trailmasher » Sat May 09, 2015 1:43 pm

Alteknacker wrote:
trailmasher wrote:Now that's a walk and a bit Alte. :clap: Great report and photo's with weather to boot. And you're right about looking back at past conquests. But unfortunately, time waits for no man :roll: :(


Too true. Actually it was partly your 2006 report posted recently that helped me gather the resolve to do it again. So thanks for that.

And now having done it in the right weather, I'd definitely do it again!


Thank you, and pleased that my report helped to inspire you for this trip. Well done again :clap:
User avatar
trailmasher
Walker
 
Posts: 1129
Munros:11   
Hewitts:180
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Nov 26, 2014
Location: Near Appleby - Cumbria

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Petr Dakota » Sun May 10, 2015 11:30 am

Wow ! You are really good reporter :clap:
Nice photos from the great area and good effort too ! :clap: :clap:
I was in Scaffel Pike twice only ( once as a part of the Three Peaks challenge ), but I am planning to discover more the area like Helvelyn etc., after Snowdonia again...will be nice to refresh myself from the north sometime after climbing the scottish munros :D 8)
It's far away, but atleast once per year I am keeping going to England and Wales for some mountain walks :wink:
Once again - well done mate :clap: :clap: :clap:

greeting from Scotland 8)
User avatar
Petr Dakota
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1154
Munros:243   Corbetts:27
Grahams:8   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:16
Wainwrights:9   
Joined: Sep 3, 2014
Location: North Lanarkshire

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Alteknacker » Sun May 10, 2015 3:01 pm

petenelliewalking wrote:Lovely set of photos, especially of the ringed ouzel - a real cracker.
Peter


Thanks, but - sadly - the photo isn't mine! I was about 8 metres from the bird, but it flew off before I could recover from the excitement and get my camera sorted. I do actually admit this in the report.
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Alteknacker » Wed May 13, 2015 11:30 pm

Petr Dakota wrote:...

greeting from Scotland 8)


Thanks Petr. I'm also a Highlands addict; and it is definitely the pinnacle; but really, the Lake District is not too bad, eh?

For further south, I really think that the 15 Welsh 3000ers take a lot of beating (I think I commented to this effect to you before) - take a look see: it's not quite the Cuillin Ridge, but it's really not bad at all.

If you concentrated solely on Munros, I'm sure that, at your rate of hill climbing, you'd knock them off in a year; so then you could look a bit further afield :D :D :D
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby ChrisW » Wed May 20, 2015 4:48 pm

I'm pretty sure if I'd done that once I'd be either dead or close to it and would never go near it again :lol: 3 times is just madness, but I'm glad you went back because the views are stunning...great report, knackered just reading it :clap: 3rd time lucky eh :wink:
User avatar
ChrisW
Scrambler
 
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 26, 2015 10:14 am

ChrisW wrote:I'm pretty sure if I'd done that once I'd be either dead or close to it and would never go near it again :lol: 3 times is just madness, but I'm glad you went back because the views are stunning...great report, knackered just reading it :clap: 3rd time lucky eh :wink:


Indeed 3rd time lucky. I'd looked through quite a few WRs in this area, and got a fair idea of how fantastic it can be when clear (also a few tantalizing glimpses through the clag on the previous expeditions; so I was quite motivated to see it at its best.

I notice: not quite the surreal blue sky that you seem to have all the time in Canada... nor the grizzlies!
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 2727
Munros:167   Corbetts:29
Hewitts:205
Wainwrights:78   
Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby Riverman » Tue May 26, 2015 9:44 pm

Truly epic stuff. Great photos too!
User avatar
Riverman
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 271
Munros:60   Corbetts:5
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:77
Wainwrights:4   Islands:4
Joined: Dec 31, 2013
Location: Belgium

Re: Wasdale Horseshoe 12: Yewbarrow to Scafell - & clear sky

Postby dav2930 » Fri May 29, 2015 9:43 pm

Great report of what has to be one of the best big walks in the Lakes! This is one I had planned a couple of years ago and never got round to. Good fitness training for Cuillin Ridge I reckon. I'd say 11 hours is a pretty good time - I'm sure it would take me rather longer than that. Good effort! :clap:
User avatar
dav2930
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1331
Munros:237   Corbetts:13
Grahams:12   Donalds:42
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:161
Wainwrights:214   
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

5 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Outside Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests