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A very short yomp up Yewbarrow.

A very short yomp up Yewbarrow.


Postby trailmasher » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:52 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Yewbarrow

Hewitts included on this walk: Yewbarrow

Date walked: 24/05/2017

Time taken: 2.3

Distance: 4.82 km

Ascent: 590m

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It's Wednesday and day two of our stay in Wasdale, a day that is warm and muggy, but there is also full and low cloud cover, not too low but enough to cover the tops of Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and the Scafells. We see all this whilst having breakfast 'al fresco' at one of the barbecue tables that sit in the wild garden at the front of the farmhouse. We are eating outside because Sonny is - quite rightly - not allowed in the dining room and Chris being the caring person that he is didn't want to leave his soul mate alone whilst he himself ate out of sight of him. His soul mate by the way is not me when Sonny is about and if it had been raining Chris and his 'soul mate' would have had to keep each other company whilst I ate in the comfort of the dining room, talk about puppy love.

The plan today was to take on a number of the western fells, those being Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Scoat Fell, and Haycock, maybe fitting in Seatallan if things panned out alright, but it didn't, the low cloud cover saw to that.

Breakfast over and sandwiches, etc made and packed we set off for the car park at Overbeck Bridge that sits at the foot of the south ridge access to Yewbarrow's summit. There was only one other vehicle there when we arrived, a small mobile home from which a couple and dog exited as we parked up. We passed the time of day with them as we booted up with them then setting off before us to exit the car park at its north end where the path is to be found beneath the trees with a way marker post ensuring that it is easily picked out. It was 14°c.

After a short level walk through the rising bracken alongside Over Beck it is taken over by a short climb along a stony path to a wire fence and step stile which is used to scale the fence and get onto the south ridge proper.
3 - A steady climb to the first stile.JPG
A steady climb to the first stile.

Looking back and even from this meagre height there is a decent view of Wast Water and the still spring green leaved trees that line the beck and side of the lake. Gorse was still in full bloom and it wouldn't be long before the bracken is towering at head height and clutching at boot laces and bag straps.
4 - Looking back to Overbeck Bridge and Wast Water.JPG
Looking back to Overbeck Bridge and Wast Water.

Once over the fence there is a long steady walk alongside it, longer and steeper than it first appears and as we looked forward we could see that the cloud had now dropped over, and covered Bell Rib and Dropping Crag. This we thought doesn't bode well for the rest of the walk but there were some bright areas in the cloud so maybe the sun would eventually break through and declare its dominance over the cloud.
6 - Approaching the base of Bell Rib.JPG
Approaching the base of Bell Rib.

Arriving at the small crags below Bell Rib we stopped for a drink whilst watching a few more walkers as they toiled up behind us with one group of three ladies in charge of six sheepdogs. Just behind us there was a ladder stile over what is now a wall, the fence having given up a few metres back, one that we have to use to get ourselves over so that we could continue along the regular path.
7 - Sitting under Bell Rib on Yewbarrow.JPG
Sitting under Bell Rib on Yewbarrow.

The ladder stile is more like a short flight of steps and as Sonny is used to going up and down stairs we thought that he would easily tackle these on his own. But no amount of coaxing, cajoling, or pretending to leave him would make him use the stile. When Chris went back over the wall to get hold of the dog to carry him over the stile he just ran away thinking that it was a game and it took quite a few minutes to grab him and cart him to where he should be.

We could see a good length of Wast Water with Bowderdale sat between Yewbarrow and Middle Fell but we could also see the way that the cloud was dropping even lower than ever as it's now covered Illgill Head and Whin Rigg with the top of Middle Fell also buried in cloud.
9 - A cloud topped Middle Fell.JPG
A cloud topped Middle Fell.

Once we had resumed our walk we continued on a steady but stony path to arrive at the foot of Dropping Crag from where the path gets steeper and more like a scree slope than a path there is that much loose material on it.
12 - Steep and loose underfoot at Dropping Crag.JPG
Steep and loose underfoot at Dropping Crag.

To our left there is a river of scree but we don't touch that as the path breaks away and climbs up the right hand side of it to arrive at the foot of a gully that now means a bit of scrambling for a good few metres.
Having another look back reveals a much of the same view as lower down but now Over Beck can be clearly seen way below us as it ends its journey at Wast Water after having begun it just below Dore Head and Stirrup Crag.
13 - Wast Water and Bowderdale from the base of Dropping Crag.JPG
Wast Water and Bowderdale from the base of Dropping Crag.

As we arrived at the foot of the gully we met the car park couple on their way down having given up there efforts of trying to reach the summit cairn due to the low cloud cover and lack of visibility.
14 - Just a little higher is the start of the rock scramble.JPG
Just a little higher is the start of the rock scramble.

The lady was still sliding down on her backside as we arrived at the small level area just below the gully and as Alfred wrote in his Western Fells book on Yewbarrow ' A fellwalker's best asset is a pair of strong legs; next best is a tough and rubbery bottom'. Now I'm not suggesting anything at all here about the ladies physical attributes but if needs must then…

Now the scramble up the gully is quite a long one with a few steps to negotiate with loose rocks and some scree scattered along it also…
15 - Halfway up the gully through Dropping Crag.JPG
Halfway up the gully through Dropping Crag.

and this is where Sonny once again took advantage of his masters soft nature when after giving Chris the glad eye with those mournful looking eyes he was escorted in his loving arms over the worst and highest of the steps to immediately horse on when on decent ground.

There is a path that climbs up alongside the left hand side of this gully but is only obvious when descending from Great Door as it is hidden by a dip and then a rise in the ground below the start of the gully. If one prefers to miss out the gully and scramble then look for a path that runs across the narrow scree into a slight dip then rises up a short incline from where the path drops down slightly before turning right and climbing to join up with the alternative gully path just below Great Door. This path is quite steep and slippery with plenty of loose material on it but otherwise doesn't present any untoward problems.

The top of the path can be seen on the right in the photo below.
17 - The final struggle through Dropping Crag.JPG
The final struggle through Dropping Crag.

The chap in the photo was walking over to Bowness Knott via Red Pike, Scoat Fell, and Steeple to be collected by his wife, but I'm afraid today he would have no views at all until he starts descending again
From the top of the gully the path is more user friendly and has eased off quite a bit although still consisting of loose stones, the final few metres up to the narrow ridge of Great Door much the easiest.
19 - The final steady approach to Great Door.JPG
The final steady approach to Great Door.

Great Door is a massive cleft through the crags sitting between Bell Rib and Bull Crag through which the northern end of Wast Water can be seen as well as Burnmoor Tarn sat at the foot of the Scafells to the left and Illgill Head on the right. Unfortunately the low cloud cover inhibits the view.
20 - A glimpse of Burnmoor Tarn and Wast Water from Great Door.JPG
A glimpse of Burnmoor Tarn and Wast Water from Great Door.

We stopped for a short break on Bull Crag with a marvellous view of the underside of the clouds but the view along Wast Water and the surrounding low ground somewhat made up for it. Middle Fell over to the west, Illgill Head and Whin Rigg to the southeast was still under cloud although it has lifted slightly and although there isn't much difference in height between it and Yewbarrow we appear to be having a lower cloud experience than Middle Fell is.
21 - Chris and Sonny sat on Bull Crag looking across Great Door over to Bell Rib and Wast Water.JPG
Chris and Sonny sat on Bull Crag looking across Great Door to Bell Rib and Wast Water

24 - Middle Fell from Bull Crag.JPG
Middle Fell from Bull Crag.

Whilst we were resting up quite a few people started to arrive at Great Door…
25 - A small gathering at Great Door.JPG
A small gathering at Great Door.

26 - Head of Wast Water-Burnmoor Tarn and mountains in the cloud.JPG
Head of Wast Water-Burnmoor Tarn and mountains in the cloud.

and although we met a couple of them later on we think that the others may have turned back as we didn't see them again and it's not as though they have an alternative way to the summit without meeting up with us at some point.
28 - Cloud hanging over Bull Crag.JPG
Cloud hanging over Bull Crag.

Setting off once again we made our way across the undulating top to reach the cairn sitting on the grass and rocky top of Bull Crag.
29 - The 1st cairn sits on Bull Crag.JPG
The 1st cairn sits on Bull Crag.

This is the first of three cairns the second one being the summit proper at 628 metres whilst the third one sits above Stirrup Crag.
30 - The cloud thickens as we ascend to the summit.JPG
The cloud thickens as we ascend to the summit.

31 - The hollow between Bull Crag and Long Crag.JPG
The hollow between Bull Crag and Long Crag.

32 - Long Crag under cloud.JPG
Long Crag under cloud.

The clag was really bad by now and as we reached the true summit cairn of stones sat on an outcrop of rock we decided to call off the rest of the walk and make our way back.
35 - Chris at Yewbarrow summit.JPG
Chris at Yewbarrow summit.

Before we left the summit another couple arrived who we had a good chat with before setting off back the way we had come, but before we left we decided to have a proper break and eat our sandwiches rather than take them back with us. The other couple passed us on their way back as we were eating and we were to catch them up later on as we descended.

It started to drizzle, very fine drizzle but enough to wet us as we set off once again and as we arrived at the small hollow that lies between Long Crag and Bull Crag we spotted an old cairn and path leading off to the west. We decided to give it a go and the northerly direction that it was now going in made us wonder if it connected with the path that leaves the area of the two tarns that are further north along the ridge. We followed it for a good few metres as it dropped down the fellside until we could see the crags on the west face of Long Crag through the now ever thickening clag. Now I'm no wimp but I do like to see where I'm going especially when moving along unfamiliar ground on a narrow path and surrounded by crags that could hardly be seen at this point. So the better part of valour was to now about turn and retrace our steps back to the main path. On turning around it was a shock to see how far we had actually descended but that is one of those foibles of walking in fog, mist, and cloud, nothing looks the same.

On regaining the main path we simply retraced our steps back to Great Door from where we now thought it prudent to take the alternative path rather than struggle down the wet and slippery gully that has been made worse by the light drizzle. As mentioned earlier the path is quite steep and slippery itself but just now a better alternative to the gully and we quickly made it down to the bottom. This way down was also more amenable for Sonny who nevertheless kept stopping hoping for a pick up and carry but his hopes were shattered as he got left behind to fend for himself and when realising that he had to walk he soon made his way down to walk alongside us for the rest of the way back to the car.

During our way down the cloud had by now dropped to more or less ground level and with the temperature standing at 16°c and a very fine misty drizzle it was feeling very humid. No matter that we shortened the walk as we can come back and walk the rest of them another day by taking the easy route along the valley of Over Beck to Dore Head.

Despite the low cloud it has been a good walk with a good scramble up the gully of Dropping Crag but just a shame that we couldn't see the rest of the fells and mountains around us. Never mind it's an early shift in the Wasdale Head Inn, followed by a later one after a shower and another walk planned for tomorrow, Thursday.
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trailmasher
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Re: A very short yomp up Yewbarrow.

Postby thefallwalker » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:01 am

still a decent walk despite the views imo. but was still a good day out :)
and it wasn't an easy ascent to a relatively small hill :shock:
and the boy certainly enjoyed himself again!
and 1 thing a short day gives ya is more time drinking the local produce! :lol:
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thefallwalker
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Re: A very short yomp up Yewbarrow.

Postby Guinessman » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:45 am

its a great hill and a fantastic viewpoint, though not on this day!
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Guinessman
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Re: A very short yomp up Yewbarrow.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:02 pm

thefallwalker wrote:still a decent walk despite the views imo. but was still a good day out :)
and it wasn't an easy ascent to a relatively small hill :shock:
and the boy certainly enjoyed himself again!
and 1 thing a short day gives ya is more time drinking the local produce! :lol:


Too many bad weather days walking with you Chris, I might have to find a new walking partner :wink: . Then again the extra drying out time in the pub more than makes up for it 8) :lol: :lol:
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trailmasher
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Re: A very short yomp up Yewbarrow.

Postby trailmasher » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:04 pm

Guinessman wrote:its a great hill and a fantastic viewpoint, though not on this day!


Yes GM, on a good day it's a great place to be for the views 8) Thanks for your comments :)
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