13th August, 2018
This is a fantastic circuit around the head of Wasdale on generally quiet fells, Great Gable being the obvious exception, with equally fantastic views both towards Lakeland and out across the Irish Sea. The first two thirds of this route is part of the very first recorded long distance walk in the Lake District by the Reverend J. M. Elliot in 1864. This is considered the first step of the various long distance walks that eventually led to the Bob Graham Round. One December when training for the Bob Graham, four of us headed to Wasdale to recce this section. It was raining heavily as we set off and it's the only time I've started a run wearing full waterproofs. As we gained height on Yewbarrow the rain got colder and colder and at the summit wet snow lay on the ground. By the time we got to Red Pike it was dry firm snow. Getting out to Steeple was positively Alpine, or would have been if there had been anything to see rather than the white out we were experiencing. The only people we saw all day were three walkers on Pillar, there was no-one on Great Gable and by the time we got to Brandreth we'd had enough of being battered by the wind, hail and rain and cut back along Moses Trod. As we headed down to Wasdale via Gavel Neese someone piped up: "If I'd been on my own today, I wouldn't even have set off", "Neither would I" the other three of us replied. Sometimes you just have to put the effort in.
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Distance: 10.26 miles (16.51 km)
Total ascent: 1,477m
Steepest Gradient: 52% (1 in 2)
Time: 4 – 6 hours (Trail running)
SummitsYewbarrow 627 m
Red Pike (Wasdale) 826 m
Steeple 819 m
Pillar 892 m
Kirk Fell 802 m
Great Gable 899 m
Green Gable 801 m
Brandreth 715 m
Grey Knotts 697 m
Scoat Fell 841 m
Pillar - Black Crag 828 m
Kirk Fell East Top 787 m
Additional InformationStart National Trust car park at Brackenclose at Wasdale Head, NY181075; Finish Honister Pass, NY224136
This section offers the full range of Lakeland terrain - grassy ridges and the occasional bog to boulder fields and airy rocky ridges. Most of the climbing is done on the first two peaks and once Dore Head is left the only time you drop below 600m is at Black Sail Pass. Navigation is generally straightforward, the only difficulties are likely to be around Brandreth in mist.
The best running lines can become very tricky in winter conditions and slight variations will be necessary.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: Lake District – Met Office: Lake District
There is none to Wasdale Head but there is a bus service (#77 - http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transpor... ) to Honister. It is possible to make a loop of this from Honister by heading to Wasdale via Moses Trod and Gavel Neese then heading back by the described route.
Wainwright: Western Fells
For more info on the Bob Graham Round - http://www.bobgrahamclub.org.uk/ http://bobwightman.co.uk/run/bob_graham....
Others in this series:
Leg 1: Keswick to Threlkeld - http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?... Leg 2: Threlkeld to Dunmail - http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?... Leg 3: Dunmail to Wasdale - http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?... Leg 5: Honister to Keswick - http://www.ukhillwalking.com/logbook/r/?...
OS Explorer OL4 (1:25,000), OS Explorer OL6 (1:25,000), Harvey/BMC Lake District (1:40,000), OS Landranger 89 (1:50,000) Directory Listings:
Seatoller (017687 77294); Grasmere (015394 35245); Coniston (015394 41533)