Mosedale Horseshoe on a Blue Sky Day

Name of walk Mosedale Horseshoe on a Blue Sky Day
Date of walk 2006-11-02
Distance walked (miles) 8
Duration of walk 8 hours 0 minutes
Weather Blue skies and sunshine
Peaks on walk Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Red Pike
Walked with On own
Parking Wasdale Head

On a Thursday in November I set off at dawn for Wasdale, in order to do a solitary walk of the Mosedale Horseshoe. The fells would include Pillar (via Robinson’s Cairn), Scoat Fell, Steeple and Red Pike. I stopped off on Walney Island Promenade to catch the sunrise.

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Couldn`t resist stopping for a photo in the usual place. Autumn colours are finally here.

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Mosedale. The aim was to do all the fells in the horseshoe before it got dark. The Black Sail Pass goes off to the right out of the photo and leads to Looking Stead and a good view down into Ennerdale. From there I would take the high level route to Pillar (2927ft) which leads to Robinson`s Cairn, the Shamrock Traverse and Pillar Rock itself, a time consuming long route but much more interesting than the easy, direct route to Pillar summit. Then off to Scoat Fell (2726ft), a detour north to Steeple (2686ft), back to Scoat Fell and on to Red Pike (2479ft) down to Dore Head and back into the Mosedale valley via the notorious Dore Head screes. Just over 10 miles.

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Yewbarrow and to the right is Dore Head and the scree run.....steep or what? It`s gonna be `fun` going down them at the end of a long day and without a parachute!

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The Black Sail Pass continues to the top of the fell out of picture.

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From Looking Stead

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Looking down the other side into the Ennerdale Valley. Black Sail Hut, Britain`s most remote Youth Hostel seen below.

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Managed to find the turn off for the high level route. The Ennerdale side of Pillar was in shade and everything was icy. Icicles drooped from rocks and the paths and scree were frozen. Where water crossed there were sheets of ice. So I took my time.

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I met another walker on route, a scotsman, he was a very energetic 76. He was just doing Pillar as he said his old bones wouldn`t cope with much more in one day. We chatted as we walked. He had had an amazing past. He had walked and climbed all over the world including Kilimanjaro and many of the Himalayan Peaks, he told me plenty of anecdotes of experiencing altitude sickness and of some collegues dying from it. He`d been up to 27,000ft. He`d not done Everest though, but he had been to base camp. He was also one of the first people to meet Rudolf Hess when he arrived in Britain, he was only a boy at the time and was staying with his Uncle, Lord Strath.....something or other. Anyway, before we knew it we had reached Robinson`s Cairn, and the first sign of sunshine in the valley. He volunteered to take my photo.

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The elderly gentleman stopped on the cairn to have some lunch so I carried on. Photo below is of Pillar Rock (bit that sticks up), to the left of it is the Shamrock Traverse the icy route which leads up to it. To get an idea of scale in the following photo the old gentleman is stood at the top of the traverse looking up at Pillar rock.

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Big isn`t it!

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The route to the summit is steep, but has good views. On the otherside of Ennerdale is High Crag, Seat and Haystacks. Behind that you can see the ridge of Fleetwith Pike. In the far distance is the Helvellyn range. Excellent visibility today!

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Looking out towards the sea. Red Pike (Buttermere) sticking up on the right. Mellbreak in the distance. In the far distance are the Scottish mountains. Much clearer to the naked eye. Unfortunately I don`t have a filter for this camera.

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On the summit! After nearly four hours! Views of Ennerdale water. Typical, get to the summit and the bloody sheep have beaten you to it!! (I bet Hillary never had such problems!)

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Crummock Water can just be made out on the right.

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Chatted some more with the elderly gentleman on the top. But then I had to get going, still three more fells to do! Great Gable above Ordnance survey post. Scafells right.

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View of Kirk Fell with Great Gable behind. Scafells left.

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Burnmoor Tarn and beyond that Eskdale. Close right, Yewbarrow and Red Pike.

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Looking back up to Pillar from Wind Gap. Two walkers can be seen at the top making their way down.

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On Black Crag looking over at Scoat Fell and off to the right is Steeple.

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Ennerdale Valley from top of Steeple.

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Scoat Tarn from Scoat Fell. Red Pike to the left.

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Close up of the Scafells. Strange that Scafell on the right looks bigger than Scafell Pike!

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The length of Yewbarrow from Red Pike.

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Wast Water and Low Tarn from Red Pike.

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I got to Dore Head at 4.10. Sunset was about 4.25. Going down the 1000ft screes is 1.5 miles to the car. Overbeck route around the base of Yewbarrow is 3 miles and it would be dark before I reached my car. The screes won. To get an idea of scale two people (black dots) can be seen on the last 100ft of scree on the right. I took the grass route on the left, but then had to traverse to the right when I ran out of grass. I had managed to stay upright for 4 big fells littered with ice sheets, but lost count of the times I ended up on my backside once I had traversed the scree. Actually it was not scree, all of that was at the bottom 200ft. It was soil, mud and rock. There was one point where my boots just couldn`t get a grip and I slid on my backside for about 20ft! But I kept concentrating and eventually made it down. The last 200ft was easy as it was pure scree rocks that would move with you. My knees were a bit jelly-like until I got back to the horizontal! Made it back to the car before full darkness but only because I was forced to do an impression of a yomping marine.

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The walk had taken eight hours, with no stops except to take photos and have a drink. Managed to drive to the lake in time to get a sunset shot.

Bad knee a bit swollen in the morning. Two bruises on my backside and I`d got stiff thighs. So, all in all it was quite a good day!
Jo.
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