Yewbarrow and Red Pike

The ascent of Yewbarrow with Wast water in the background
26th December, 2012

Starting from a small car park half way between Wasdale and Wasdale Head, on the side of Wast Water, today's "planned" route would take us just under 16km, gaining 1000m, over the summits of Yewbarrow (628m) and Red Pike (826m) with the option (depending on weather) of making a slight detour to the summit of Haycock half way round.

The sky was already looking ominous when we pulled into the car park but the forecast was for rain later in the day so the waterproofs stayed in the bag in favour of my Rab Baltoro Guide jacket which would keep me warm while allowing heat to vent and would keep off the wind and light rain with the waterproofs being reserved for heavier downpours.

An ominous start...

The steep path up towards Yewbarrow
We headed off from the car-park, up the steep path that passes Dropping Crag and Bell Rib before arriving, slightly warmer and out of breath, at the summit of Yewbarrow at 627m.  
Just off the summit of Yewbarrow there is some reasonably steep scrambling - nothing too serous but it demands your attention as you navigate through the rocks and down onto the path below.

From here the path gets slightly easier and heads downhill towards the rocky summit of Stirrup Crag (616m).

From Stirrup Crag you drop steeply to the small lake at Dore Head before climbing again back up to the first cairn at 801m with Bull Crag and Black Crags dropping off steeply to your right and the more gentle descent down to Scoat Tarn on your left.

After a a few hundred meters more you reach the second cairn which, at 826m, marks the summit of Red Pike which, by the time we got there, was starting to clag in making the navigation across to Little Scoat Fell a little more difficult.

Red Pike
The path, while I'm sure is easily navigable in good weather, is easily lost in the mist and hill fog that was starting to surround us and the endless maze of sheep tracks the criss-cross the hillside make finding the correct path even more difficult!

The path "should" head slightly up hill, bearing gently to the right with Black Combe dropping off further to the right and arriving at a walled section just ahead of Little Scoat Fell.

I decided that we should head more off to the left, taking a rough bearing on Haycock and contouring around at about 800m so as to avoid the steeper decline to the small brook that feeds the tarn below.

We met the main path (heading SW) and the wall that runs parallel to it at around 800m, just clipping the 802m mark of Great Scoat Fell.

Heading along the path towards the bridleway and footpath cross-roads just before Haycock (797m) the terrain to the left gets much steeper and you drop down what is almost a ridge line towards Little Lad Crag at around 475m and the collection of feeder streams that lead into Nether Beck.

It was on the descent from Little Lad Crag that our luck ran out and the weather really started to close in - so with waterproofs on we trudged down the sodden path towards the road and short tarmac section back to the car park.

Due to the terrible weather and the fact that the ground was so saturated that walking over the long grass was like walking on ice we decided to shortcut slightly and hop over the fence before the stream, effectively avoiding a few hundred more meters of wet boots.

All in all the walk was both challenging and enjoyable albeit a bit too wet on the last section. It's a shame that we didn't make the summit of Haycock but there's always next time!

You can see the full route details (including all summits) on Social Hiking, recorded using ViewRanger on my GS3;


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