High Stile and High Crag to Black Sail Hut from Ennerdale

Name of walk High Stile and High Crag to Black Sail Hut from Ennerdale
Date of walk 2011-01-28
Distance walked (miles) 14
Duration of walk 7 hours 0 minutes
Weather Winter sunshine
Peaks on walk High Stile and High Crag
Walked with Ged and blind Kas
Parking Bowness Knott

Yesterday was forecast to be the best day of the week, so I drove to Ennerdale with Ged and Kas in tow to do an ends of the earth walk (and back!) to Black Sail Hut via a couple of mountains. Black Sail Hut is the most remote Youth Hostel in the country. It is a six mile walk just to reach it! Then if you add Red Pike, High Stile (2644ft) and High Crag (2443ft) into the equation it ends up a 14 mile, seven hour marathon!


Just before Kinniside Stone Circle, on the Cold Fell road we came across a herd of fell horses just ambling along, but mostly stood still in the middle of the road! We stopped to take some photos. They were very friendly, one even investigated my open car boot. They were big lads too, seven foot high! None of your little fell ponies here!


Two of the big lads!


Getting the car past them took a wee while!


Blue skies and no wind at Ennerdale Water makes for good reflections


Crag Fell with Angler's Crag below.



Ice still on the water


Looking up towards Pillar and Steeple.



It is two miles to Low Gillerthwaite where we leave the path at the gate to head up towards Red Pike. Black Sail Hut is four miles further down the valley.


Looking up towards Red Pike which is out of sight.


We took a diagonal path up towards Red Pike which ended up as a few sheep trods, so we had to pick our own way up the fell, over heather and scree. We had a good view back to Ennerdale Water.


Great Bourne and Starling Dodd on the left with Gavel Fell, Hen Comb and Burnbank Fell on the right.


Our route took us up inbetween Red Pike and High Stile. Looking down on Bleaberry Tarn and over to Causey Pike and Sail etc. on the left and Robinson on the right. Keswick can be seen in the gap with Skiddaw and Blencathra behind.


Ged had discovered that he had a engagement to go to in the evening at the very last minute this morning. There was no way we would be back in time so we decided reluctantly to leave out Red Pike as we had been up it in October. We also saved ourselves a 20 minute there and back walk. We would get similar views on High Stile, so we headed that way.


View from High Stile summit back to Red Pike with Mellbreak behind. Crummock Water on the right. Loweswater just peeking out on the left. Bleaberry Tarn below in the shade.


Despite the mountain being frost covered it was warm in the sun provided you kept moving. We had only worn coats in the valley. I had last sat here in July 2006, on the hottest day of the year!


The summit ridge complete with a few other people. Looking over to Green Gable, Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar, with Scafell Pike and Scafell behind.


Looking down on the ridge of Fleetwith Pike.


The view down Crummock Water from the end of High Stile. Grasmoor on the right.


.....and getting in all of Red Pike


Looking out towards Keswick


We double back to find the route to High Crag.


There is a reason I took this photo. With the naked eye I could see two climbers on the 90 degree rock face of High Stile.


A closer view! And we thought we had chosen a difficult way up!!!



Looking down on a shady Buttermere. The downside of walking in January is the sun is too low in the sky and so much more is in shade than in the summer months.


Hindscarth and Dale Head on the left. Gatesgarth Farm below Fleetwith Pike ridge


We head down the notoriously steep Gamlin End. We would then go over Seat ahead and then head down into the Ennerdale Valley. Haystacks far left.


had bought my Microspikes to safely tackle the last section of Gamlin End, as I remember the very steep and slippery scree. Thankfully it has been replaced with a pitched path....Yippee! Looking back up our route off Gamlin End from our route up to Seat.


There were a couple of awkward sections coming down from Seat but the Scarth Gap Pass route down into Ennerdale is easy. We need to head off left to reach Black Sail Hut. Looking up to Great Gable and Kirk Fell.


Black Sail Hut set amongst the moraines.


A herd of woolly bullocks!


We finally made it. Kas gets a well earned drink!


The hut is closed in the winter except if it is advanced booked. These guys had booked it for the weekend, and were waiting for someone to arrive with a key and food. We stopped and chatted with them for a while, but time was running short and we still had six miles to go! It was 3.25pm already so we set off at a fast pace.


The light was fading fast.


View up to Pillar rock.


We made the four miles to Low Gillerthwaite in an hour, but the last couple of miles took well over 30 minutes. But we did stop to take a couple of sunset photos.


On the way back over Cold Fell I slowed down on getting near to Kinniside Stone Circle just in case the fell horses were still in the middle of the road. They were!! Once again they were reluctant to move out of the way! Another excellent day!