Drove in via Nether Wasdale past the attractive looking Strand Inn and and parked up at Overbeck Bridge. Headed up the obvious track which was steep going up Yewbarrow. Height gained quickly with extensive views over Wast Water. Bell Rib and the Great Door loomed above appearing to assert their presence but a straightforward track with some optional scrambling skirted the buttresses on the left. I had boned up on Wainwright the night before and found on this round that he either over or underestimated the difficulties. After a few rock problems and on a rising path I emerged onto the summit ridge. Extensive views now opened up all round particularly to the Scafells as I ambled along the defined summit ridge of Yewbarrow.Several hundred metres ahead someone passed over the summit. It was a superb day and the temperature kept rising. When I reached the summit I noticed the walker ahead veer off the summit path to the left and take a declining rake. "Strange?" I thought since Wainwright had indicated nothing to worry about on some rock problems at the northern end on Stirrup Crag. From here the drop to the next col and the climb up to Red Pike was a lot further than I had anticipated. It looked a real slog up that interminable slope. The climb down from Yewbarrow to Dore Head started off ok but then I ran into some serious rock steps on Stirrup Crag that Wainwright had glossed over. None of them were particularly difficult on descent but just unexpected. I could see the other walker way below on the col and understood now why he had taken the long slanting rake that avoided these crags.
Despite its tedious appearance the slope ahead was furnished with a well graded path that cut across the contours and circumvented any rock outcrops. From Yewbarrow I imagined that I'd likely be stopping for lunch halfway up this long slope, but I made such good progress that I found myself hauling out onto Red Pike's lower summit area beside a large pile of boulders. I clambered over this to discover the unusual feature of The Chair which was duly sat upon to admire the view. The map doesn't really do Red Pike justice. It's not until you're on this high level crest that you appreciate the dramatic east face and the situation of the summit ridge.
After a very enjoyable lunch I wandered over to Scoat Fell and clambered over the blocks onto the summit by an amazing wall and round onto the Steeple. Retracing my steps, Pillar looked deceptively close but I knew there was a drop to Wind Gap followed by a stiff pull up. There was a stunning view from Pt828 along the length of Ennerdale and to Pillar. The descent to Wind Gap was down a tedious boulder field albeit with little loss of height followed by a reasonable pull up to the summit of Pillar (892m). I lingered for a while but the cold east wind forced me to don my jacket and I began the descent towards Black Sail Pass. I had originally intended to climb over Kirk Fell but it looked rather intimidating from this side and in any case I had now been out nearly 6 hours so I decided to bail off at Black Sail. The descent was straightforward along a defined ridge but again with some tedious boulder fields. I experienced severe cramp in my left leg going over Looking Stead. To my surprise the pass was lower than I expected being lesser than Yewbarrow from which I had earlier observed that the path looked in good condition. Sure enough it had been laid out at the top with small flagstones and I made a steady descent to the Wasdale Head Inn. Suitably refreshed, another 2 miles of road bashing took me back to the car at Overbeck Bridge. An excellent round with some mild scrambling and superb situations.
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