(including the tops of: Looking Stead, Pillar, Black Crag Red Pike and “Boot Fell”.)

The route we followed on this day starts from Wasdale Head to ascend Black Sail Pass before heading out to Looking Stead and a view to Robinson’s Cairn sitting above Ennerdale. From near the beginning of the ascent of the shoulder rising to the summit of Pillar (mountain), we traversed off right on the High-Level Route to Pillar Rock, then traversed above and by Pillar Rock to the summit of Pillar.
Stony descent leads to Wind Gap and then steep ascent to the top of Black Crag. We traversed around beneath Scoat Fell to climb to Red Pike and then on to “Boot Fell” before making the descent to Dore Head. Dorehead Screes are washed out and safe direct descent now impossible. We followed a very steep, but technically straightforward, little narrow path just to their north (left looking out) descending back down into the bowels of Mosedale and a return above Mosedale Beck back to Wasdale Head.

This of one of the great classic rounds of the Lake District and could also include, as described in Complete Lakeland Fells, the tops of Scoat Fell and Steeple. Tackled on this day, beyond Looking Stead, rather than climbing the shoulder directly to the summit of Pillar mountain, we took the High-Level Route (The Climbers Traverse) to Robinson’s Cairn. The cairn is balanced spectacularly high above Ennerdale opposite the foot of Pillar Rock and named after a local pioneering rock climber. This is a special place for all climbers. From the cairn, a scrambly path then traverses above Pillar Rock and continues directly up the fellside to the top of Pillar mountain.

Pillar Rock has a fascinating history. Wordsworth inspired a race for its summit with his poem “The Brothers”:

“You see yon precipice; it wears the shape
Of a vast building made of many crags;
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the Vale
Whence by our shepherds it is called
the pillar.”

The high tops were all covered in cloud as we began our journey but as the temperature soared they lifted above Pillar. Our day didn’t include an ascent of Pillar Rock but after a sandwich break on to top the clouds descended once again around the Mosedale Horseshoe. Decision-time in Wind Gap. The clouds appeared to be thinning again and we committed to the ascent of Black Crag and the continuation of the horseshoe. Fortunately, it cleared once again and were able to complete the traverse. I’ll let the following photo captions fill out some of the details and perhaps answer some questions:


Another extraordinary day of fair, sunny weather. So jobs jobbed I set off on my trusty Triumph with camera in my Rukka front pocket. The aim is just a leisurely ride and if the light looked good – take a pic. Last-minute decision to head for Wasdale. So here we are – a photographic essay on a summers evening in Wasdale.