Wasdale Walk – Red Pike, (Nearly) Steeple, Wind Gap and a bit up Black Sail Pass!

Wasdale Walk

So the day started early with my Brother (Tom) waking us with a cup of tea at 6.50am. At 7.30am we were off on our way to Wasdale Head. It’s just under 3hrs drive from Newcastle. On arrival the weather looked ominous, with grey clouds covering the fells above ~600m. However, it was dry, quite bright with a mild breeze as we set-off on the path directly behind the pub.

Following the path to the left of of Mosedale Beck we made our way up the Mosedale Valley for about a kilometer. This section of the walk was probably the best weather we had, and we made full use of it snapping the views:

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We then headed up the steep path towards Dore Head, the path is off to the left just before an old sheep pen  and it leads pretty much straight up the fell (path visible to the right hand side of Dorehead Screes.).

It’s a intense climb and a few jelly babies were needed en-route to the top.

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(Plodding up the fell)

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(Striding up the fell)

Upon reaching Dore Head we were thankfully still beneath the clouds and able to take in the great views over Wastwater, Mosedale and the surrounding fells. At this stage Harriet was feeling the effects of the climb (as seen in the picture below). This allowed Tom some time for impromptu posing…

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… and he took full advantage of it, with this:

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Once revitalised with jelly babies we set-off towards Red Pike. We all enjoyed this section of the walk, the mixture of grassy banks and rocky outcrops makes for varied and fun terrain. Unfortunately a few minutes after leaving Dore Head the weather closed in and we were enveloped in cloud (and stayed enveloped for the next few hours), the wind also became stronger the higher we climbed. About 500m from the summit we donned our jackets as the wind had become fairly relentless by this point. We reached the summit in very poor visibility and decided it was time for a more substantial bite to eat so we stopped for mini-pasties, sausage rolls and bananas!

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(Red Pike summit)

Re-fueled we struck on towards the cross roads (paths) at Little Scoat Fell. We set-off  with visibility down to 30-50m whilst still being battered by the wind, spirits were dropping at this point. The path from Red Pike is pretty smooth, so we (I) decided to integrate a bit of running (to keep warm and boost our spirits).  We were rewarded for our efforts! As we descended visibility picked-up and we were able to glance views of Scoat Tarn down to the left.

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And just as we thought things were getting better… whammy back into the clouds we went and the temperature plummeted (at least it felt like it did). At this stage summiting Steeple would have purely been an peak bagging exercise so we decided to skirt round and head straight to Wind Gap via the small path just before the main junction.

My navigation skills were tested on the section towards Wind Gap. The path is indistinct, the terrain rocky and there were no visible reference points! With visibility at an all time low and us receiving a continual buffeting of  wind we decided to skip on climbing Pillar in favour of bombing down the scree path back into Mosedale. We got down out of the clouds fairly quickly with Tom making giant leaps down the path and Harriet and myself following.

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A couple of slips and slides later we were back in the shelter of the valley. Once back out of the clouds and wind we made good progress down the valley. Jumping (something we do a lot of when Tom is around) the small becks along the way.

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At this stage the weather looked like picking up and I was keen to push on and climb Kirk Fell. So upon reaching the path up to Black Sail Pass we turned up and started climbing once again (looking back on this I’m not sure it was a popular decision with the others). We followed the path up for a kilometer before deciding time was getting on and we were all keen for some well earned pub grub!

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And that was that. We made a quick descent back to Wasdale Head and the car, to head home and then on to the pub!

Not quite the route I had in mind for the day but given the conditions on the tops I think we made the best of it.

The only thing left to mention is my growing admiration for my La Sportiva Cross Country’s, not once did I loose grip or ever feel like I was at the limit of the shoes capability. They have been my fell running shoe of choice for the last 10 months but the do adequately well as a walking shoe. The only downside is La Sportiva no longer produce them.

And an action shot to finish on:

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