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Mosdale Horseshoe - Lakes Day 2

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:37 pm
by stevesey
After a second breakfast (a mug shot!) back down at Wasdale Head I was off again on the Mosdale Horseshoe (including the shamrock traverse). Packed some extra water as the weather was glorious (was almost tempted to leave out waterproofs).

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Having got to the end of this report I realise this is a report about the number of different people you can meet, chat to and walk with when you are out on your own!

The route up Black Sails pass is fairly obvious - with just a quick check of the GPS/Map at any junctions. I'd already spoken to a group on the village green who were waiting for their guide before attempting Pillar Rock, on the way up Black Sails I met a second guide with a single client. Once at the pass I turned left and headed for Pillar. I spotted someone ahead of me heading right, onto the traverse, although I still managed to miss it and turned right about 10 yards further up (only looking back down did I see the more obvious path).

The traverse bumbles along for quite a long time - and has more undulations than I expected from the word "traverse". At one point I could see the chap ahead was much higher up than me. A quick check on the GPS gave me confidence that I was right and he was wrong. I then passed a guy with a massive pack (wild camping with the kitchen sink?) who was taking it slowly. After that I met up with the "high up" chap at Robinson's cairn (he'd been looking down at me wondering who was on the right path). We then made our way together to the base of Pillar Rock - were we met up with a "senior" lady on her own. She did say her age at some point in the conversation, but being the gentleman I'm not telling, however she was an experienced walker and made good pace as the three of us scrambled up to the Pillar summit together. After a short chat and rest stop we went our separate ways and I headed of the Scoat Fell (although we would all meet again in the next 24 hours).

I paused on Wind Gap to take in the breeze - it was very hot by now. Whilst say down I was assaulted, by a friendly German Shepherd who snuck up over my shoulder and gave me a big lick on the cheek (a quick rub under chin/ears distracted her). I looked around expecting to find an owner calling her back, but instead got an apology from a parent with a group of children. She wasn't their dog but had followed them up from Ennerdale (I have had a farm dog follow/lead me for 3-4 miles on Dartmoor before now).

On Scoat fell I met chap and a couple of girls, we had a brief chat about the sale of Blencathra (as a member of the Friends of Blencathra FB group I gave them the latest news). The girls and I then headed of to Steeple, however one of them had problems with even slight exposure - so the path was to much for her and they headed off to Red Pike. I stashed my rucksack between some rocks for the out and back again trip. After that I also headed across to Red Pike. I met my earlier companion from the traverse again having a rest on the hause before he headed off down the valley (rather than over Red Pike).

Then I met the girls again (coming back down from Red Pike) and a chap from Manchester who was also heading for Yewbarrow but seemed a bit wary because people had told him it was difficult (I suppose there is a bit of a scramble at either end). He held back a bit on the descent from Red Pike. As we approached Yewbarrow I could see a couple with a dog starting on the path that is visible for the first 2/3 of stirrup crag - they reached the top of that section as we reached the bottom so we decided to keep a close eye on them, so we could follow. Alas they didn't know the way either and had explored a couple of options before we were close enough to ask if we knew the way (we didn't). Anyway a check of map/GPS showed we were looking for a path slightly to the left staying on the "nose" of the fell. I scrambled up a short chimney (that although not difficult - wasn't dog friendly - and I knew from reports here that dogs could manage the route - perhaps with a little helping hand). However once up higher I was able to look down and see the eroded gravel between the rocks that showed you needed to go one bolder left to find an easier route. The Jack Russell was a bit tired at the end of a second long and hot day's walking and was laid down watching most of this - with a "you must be joking look on it's face". Anyway by checking for easier routes from above and turning round and sitting down on then having the dog passed up we made good progress.

Once up on top the dog perked up, especially when sheep were sighted (she was on a lead). About half way along we met another couple asking how tricky as they had just found the way up from the south end quite hard. We said it's a bit of a scramble - but if you look for the eroded bits/gravel you should be able to pick your way down OK (on the map there also a bypass path that they were hoping to find). More about them later.

Once we got to the south end route down to dropping crag appeared on the right - being the end of a long day I decided to go this way - rather than the trying to find the scramble on the Wast Water side. There are some very loose sections on the way down - with fist size scree (rather than small stuff that will "run"). Thankfully is wasn't too long before we hit some steps - and although I don;t normally like steps it was a relief just to be able wander down those on my toes (to reduce knee impact). I assume there will be plans to take these further at some point making the ascent from the south end very simple.

Once at the stile over the all I was slightly confused to see people walking on both sides of it. Checking the map the "green" OS 1:25000 path runs on the right (looking down) and the black on the left. I never trust "green" paths anyway (some seem very arbitrary and sometimes not there at all on the ground) and the one on the left looked smoother. Wasn't long before we were down on the road and went our separate ways.

I said, more about the couple we met on Yewbarrow going the other way, stopped to chat to them in Wasdale Head later that eve. They mentioned they were from a place in Devon, which I said was odd as I was walking with a GP from there last year when we met a couple on the summit of Hem Comb who were registered with her. Was the same couple of course.

People have asked before now, about what I do when I walk on my own - well some days I might start on my own - but on the more popular fells there's always someone to talk to - never more so that today.

Photos here: https://plus.google.com/photos/106459429880001195754/albums/6160227583444677041

Re: Mosdale Horseshoe - Lakes Day 2

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:49 pm
by Alteknacker
You had a cracking day of it, to judge from the pics, not to mention the company. It's a brilliant area.

As per our previous exchange, I was on the east side of Glen Etive on the same day, enjoying similarly fabulous weather (also just published the WR for it).

Re: Mosdale Horseshoe - Lakes Day 2

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:34 am
by johnkaysleftleg
Wonderful fells on a wonderful day, like the way your report really expresses that sense of friendly camaraderie on the Lakeland fells.

Re: Mosdale Horseshoe - Lakes Day 2

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:24 pm
by ChrisW
Great report Steve with excellent photos, you could have left those waterproofs behind after all, and with 1780m of ascent every bit helps :lol: