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Way out west (part one)

Way out west (part one)


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:46 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Caw Fell, Fellbarrow, Haycock, Low Fell, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple

Hewitts included on this walk: Haycock, Pillar, Pillar - Black Crag, Scoat Fell

Date walked: 03/08/2014

Distance: 28.5 km

Ascent: 1770m

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Low Fell and Fellbarrow, 3rd August 2014, 8.5km, 520m

Following a great week in the Cairngorms we headed for the Lake District for some Wainwright bagging out towards the Western edge of the district. Sunday wasn't a particularly good forecast so we set out sights low and headed for Loweswater.

It looked like a wild day over the higher fells but this quiet corner was still dry if somewhat blowy as we set off for the day.

ImageLooking across Loweswater to Carling Knott by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

An easy ascent, slightly altered by some cow dodging, saw us trudge up to the heathery top of Fellbarrow in a strong wind. The views were fine out towards Scotland but heavy shower filled clouds were skudding across the high tops to the east.

ImageFellbarrow summit by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageA windblown Grace & Hughie by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGloomy Grasmoor by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

It was a simple ridge walk over firm grassy ground over the high point of Low Fell to the slightly lower Wainwright summit which has a splendid view over Crummock Water towards the Buttermere Fells.

ImageCrummock Water by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLoweswater fell by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLow Fell by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

The return to the car was over Darling fell which had a surprising amount of re-ascent and fine views down to Loweswater.

ImageLooking down from Darling Fell by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

A nice easy start to the weeks hill bashing and a good warm up to a far more ambitious route planned for Monday.


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Pillar and friends from Ennerdale, 4th August 2014, 20km 1250m

An early start saw us turn up as Bowness Knott car park with a long day ahead of us. It was somewhat cloudy but with sunny spells promised back packs were well laden down with supplies and water. It's odd to start any Lakeland outing with a four mile level walk but at least it lets you get warmed up.

Ennerdale is currently undergoing a re-wilding and effects of this are evident with some felled plantations but overall the scene is certainly not typical of the Lakes. Ennerdale has a grandness you'd more expect in the highlands or even Canada with the River Liza attaining impressive width for such a young watercourse. As you make the long walk in first Steeple and then Pillar with it's rock peeking above the ridge grab the attention.

ImagePillar by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageRiver Liza by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Eventually we came to the start of our ascent which would have been all too easy to miss if not for the public footpath sign. From here it's a rough wet path up through the plantation with occasional clearings providing views of Ennerdale. Upon reaching the edge of the trees however you are greeted to a real wow moment as Pillar rock soars up above you looking every inch of its 800 ft protruding from the mountain side. A few steps further and the water falls come into view to give you what must be one of the finest sights in England, more like the lost world than the Lake district!

ImageLooking up Ennerdale by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImagePillar Rock by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImagePillar Rock wider view by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

By now the sun was breaking through and the going was hard on the intermittent path as we headed to the left of the magnificent cliff of Pillar Rock. We stopped for a break in these spectacular surroundings before struggling upwards towards the start of the Shamrock traverse.

ImageAbove the falls by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLooking past High Stile by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImagePillar Cove by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

The traverse is easy enough to find as it forms a sloping wide ledge heading gradually upwards to your right. It's straightforward enough but did have one section that was wet making it uncomfortably slippy but once this was passed it was easy going to the view point for Pillar Rock. The pictures just don't do the scale any justice but believe me this is certainly a place worth visiting.

ImagePillar Rock by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageOn the Shamrock Traverse by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

From here the path finds its way steeply up through the crags in enjoyable fashion with ever improving views before reaching the bowling green top of the mountain. This is probably my favorite ascent of any so far in the Lakes, wild and rough with spectacular sights and plenty of interest, far more like a Scottish hill when climbed this way. We had another break on the summit and enjoyed the rewards of our efforts before the rough descent to Wind Gap.

ImageLooking down on Pillar Rock by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageHughie takes a break by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGrace & Hughie on Pillar summit by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLight catching Yewbarrow by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGrand view to the Scafells by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Scoat fell may have some fine crags on it's north face but it's summit is less than spectacular as the Ennerdale fence(wall) passes directly over the highest point which prompted the building of a cairn on top of the wall. If Scoat fell is a disappointing top the next fell must be one of England's finest summits. Steeple lies at the end of a short airy arete and gives truly stunning views up and down Ennerdale and to the north.

ImageLong way back to the car by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageSteeple by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageRed Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGrace by Scoat fell summit cairn by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageSteeple by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageViews back to Pillar and Black Crag by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Following the short out and back to Steeple the going got easier as we pushed on to mop up the last two fells of the day. Fortunately we were all feeling good so the ascent to Haycock's rocky top wasn't too painful but still required a final break before the last few miles back to the car.

ImageScoat tarn beneath Red Pike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageThe terrible twosome on Haycock by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageFollow the Ennerdale fence by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

Wainwright was very scathing of Caw Fell but with it's remote western location it has a fine wild feeling and on a beautiful summers day it provided a nice finish.

ImageCaw Fell top by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageIron Crag and views to Scotland by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

The descent on the ridge between Caw Fell and Haycock was initially very pleasant but lower down the path through the heather became very stony, not very welcome after a long day. It was a relief to reach the valley bottom once again and a pleasant few miles back to the car.

ImageOn the way back down to the valley by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageEnnerdale Skyline by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

This route was absolutely fantastic and will live long in the memory. If your wanderings haven't taken you this way you might want to consider giving the honey pots of Striding Edge and the Scafells a miss and driving to the quiet backwater of Ennerdale for a really superb route that is every bit as spectacular but with far fewer people.


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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby poppiesrara » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:02 am

Great stuff, JKLL! - those pictures from below PIllar Rock are absolutely stunning.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby Phil the Hill » Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:11 pm

I did Pillar and Steeple as part of the Mosedale Horseshoe from Wasdale Head in cloud and never even saw Ennerdale from the tops. Your report makes me want to go back and do them from Ennerdale. One for the "to do" list next time I'm in the Lakes!
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:36 pm

poppiesrara wrote:Great stuff, JKLL! - those pictures from below PIllar Rock are absolutely stunning.


It was pictures of that view on the Stridingedge website that inspired me to climb Pillar this way. Hard going but so worth it.

Phil the Hill wrote:I did Pillar and Steeple as part of the Mosedale Horseshoe from Wasdale Head in cloud and never even saw Ennerdale from the tops. Your report makes me want to go back and do them from Ennerdale. One for the "to do" list next time I'm in the Lakes!


Well worth the repeat Phil, never climbed it from Wasdale but I suspect it's a total different hill from Ennerdale.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby Ibex » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:15 pm

Another great report. I also love the pictures of Pillar Rock from below.
Looking forward to doing the Shamrock traverse myself. Looks like a great walk.

Nice to see Hughie and Grace on good form, as usual.

You guys are racing towards the completion. :)
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:32 am

Ibex wrote:Another great report. I also love the pictures of Pillar Rock from below.
Looking forward to doing the Shamrock traverse myself. Looks like a great walk.

Nice to see Hughie and Grace on good form, as usual.

You guys are racing towards the completion. :)


Cheers mate :thumbup: we hope to finish by late summer/early autumn next year given a fair wind.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby Ibex » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:59 pm

Any ideas of which fell you are going to finish on?
How are you going to celebrate? :D

I'd love to get near 50 by the end of this year and 100 by end of 2015. Hopefully with the new job I start soon, I will be able to get away a bit more.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:05 pm

Ibex wrote:Any ideas of which fell you are going to finish on?
How are you going to celebrate? :D

I'd love to get near 50 by the end of this year and 100 by end of 2015. Hopefully with the new job I start soon, I will be able to get away a bit more.


We picked Great End once we decided to go for a full round. As for when or even whether we'll be climbing from Wasdale or Borrowdale I've no idea.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby Ibex » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:40 pm

Good shout. I attended AJ's finishing walk, which ended on Great End. We met a guy there who was also finishing on that peak, that day and that time. So its a popular ending!
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby Sarah86 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:43 am

I always enjoy your photos of the Lake District and as usual stunning photography and some great looking views. I am heading back down in October with my sister, I have never been at that time of year before so really looking forward to it. Trying to decide on some new walks but there is always such a choice. Look forward to part two of your post.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby clivegrif » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:58 pm

That's a great report JKLL - haven't done any of these, and this is a terrific guide.

Love the moody pictures!
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby simon-b » Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:12 pm

Superb, Anthony. You may remember me enthusing about this approach to Pillar, and I'm so glad you chose this route. It seems your photos of the awesome views of Pillar Rock and its environs when approached this way could well inspire other people to use this route too. Definitely one of the very best ascents in Lakeland.

Not forgetting Fellbarrow and Low Fell of course. It's a very pleasant little ridge, and at least you got some of the lovely views. The scene over Crummock Water and Buttermere from Low Fell is a classic.
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Re: Way out west (part one)

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:47 am

Ibex wrote:Good shout. I attended AJ's finishing walk, which ended on Great End. We met a guy there who was also finishing on that peak, that day and that time. So its a popular ending!


I think the name may well have a lot to do with that :wink:

Sarah86 wrote:I always enjoy your photos of the Lake District and as usual stunning photography and some great looking views. I am heading back down in October with my sister, I have never been at that time of year before so really looking forward to it. Trying to decide on some new walks but there is always such a choice. Look forward to part two of your post.


Thank you Sarah, we'll be in the Lakes in the last week of October so lets hope for some unseasonably good weather :lol: The colours in October can be beautiful so I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

clivegrif wrote:That's a great report JKLL - haven't done any of these, and this is a terrific guide.

Love the moody pictures!


Cheers Clive :thumbup:

simon-b wrote:Superb, Anthony. You may remember me enthusing about this approach to Pillar, and I'm so glad you chose this route. It seems your photos of the awesome views of Pillar Rock and its environs when approached this way could well inspire other people to use this route too. Definitely one of the very best ascents in Lakeland.

Not forgetting Fellbarrow and Low Fell of course. It's a very pleasant little ridge, and at least you got some of the lovely views. The scene over Crummock Water and Buttermere from Low Fell is a classic.


Thanks Simon. It was your words and pics on Striding edge that convinced me to convince Grace that 12 miles wasn't that far :lol: Hopefully people are inspired to do Pillar this way but not too many, the feeling of an out of the way expedition really enhances the route. We were really lucky on Fellbarrow/Low Fell as the weather that was soaking the main bulk missed that little corner.
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