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Well, we did plan on an epic Wainwright bagging mission but as anyone who's been to the Lake District will know, it's always a matter of 'weather permitting', and the weather today did not permit! Five Wainwrights ended up being two!
I've decided that if we got any of the Wainwrights we intended to - we can't really complain! Five Wainwrights for our third time out was probably a little too ambitious.
Pillar and Scoat Fell.
When you're driving to the start point of this walk at Wasdale Head Inn, the only road to it is overshadowed by the wainwrights Whin Rigg and Illgill Head. The road is very narrow indeed, making passing really difficult no matter where you meet another vehicle-there is never enough space without a 3mph tight-squeeze.
I'm beginning to really like the Wast Water area. I've now been on the fells on both sides of the lake and I find the scenery in every direction spectacular. As an added plus, this area is also relatively quiet. Once on the fells I probably saw approximately ten people throughout the entire day. I was however quite happy with the knowledge that a few people were about as the Mountains were in cloud-topped-moody-mode!Sometimes I do cross reference my whereabouts with other passing hikers in these instances because hey, I love getting lost. Not. Never be afraid to stop and ask people for any advice/help if you feel you need it!
Once parked at the Wasdale Head-Inn, you head around the back to aim for the Wainwright Pillar, which is the one I'm heading for. My ascent route (which is one of the most popular) is via Black Sail Pass (I think the name makes it sound more formidable than it actually is). I could see lots of renovation had taken place on the path in the form of some very nice stone pitching. I suspect as this route is very popular with hikers it probably was in desperate need of it.
The views on your approach to Black Sail Pass are amazing, Red Pike is to your left and Kirk Fell to your right. As you get higher you can see back to Wast Water and even Burnmoor Tarn, which is on the other side of Illgill Head.
When you emerge at the top of the pass, the craggy face of Kirk Fells looms over you. I'm pretty sure I will try to make sure I plan the route so I am ascending said face rather than descending when the time comes to visit Kirk Fell, as it looks a little precarious in places - my knees are groaning with pain just at the sight of such a descent!
The summit of Pillar was in the mist the whole time we were approaching, no photography going on up there unfortunately. I'll be honest, I'm not one to find any pleasure in peak bagging just for the sake of it, I'd rather not bother if I'm just going to be wandering around in the mist. You could actually be anywhere in the world, like your back garden or the local hill just near where I live. I don't see the attraction at all. I understand if you're halfway up a peak and then the mist falls you wouldn't turn back, you would obviously carry on. But I think in future I'll explore some low-level attractions before I'll set off to peak bag in the mist.
Luckily for us, we were out early enough to at least catch some views. As we approached the summit of Pillar the valley at the opposite side of the mountain from Wasdale Head looked spectacular. The river Liza snakes its way through the Ennerdale Forest, and you can see mountains as far as the eye can see.
The views looking back to Black Sail Pass whilst ascending Pillar are also worth five minutes worth of appreciation.
The views looking back to Black Sail Pass whilst ascending Pillar is one of my highlights as it's a spectacular view to stop and catch your breath. I love it when you can see back along the punishing route in its entirety! It's very satisfying indeed. We could even see back to the location that entertained us a few weeks back at Burnmoor Tarn (it's just out of the shot on the right on the picture above). But ahead, the mist was awaiting our arrival!
Pillar is in there somewhere?!? Ah well, you can't have sun-drenched fells every time you visit the lakes, one misty day out of three isn't bad. When on the tops the weather took a turn for the worst so we didn't really get to see anything else after that. The camera didn't get any more use and we ended up navigating our way off Scoat Fell with the O.S. App which I have on my phone. It turned out to be a useful bit of kit indeed- even if my phone did die a rainy death. YAY for technology! When on Scoat Fell, we decided enough is enough and headed for the path that drops in between Scoat Fell and Haycock - into the valley at the other side of Red Pike. I know some of you are going to say "what, why didn't you visit Haycock it was only half an hour away?!?". Like I said earlier, I don't really see the point in summit touching unless you get to experience the views and take some good pics. For me, that's what it's all about. A word of advice-the valley we chose for our return route is not an easy walk. The terrain is full of large rocks along its entirety (no pics, sorry-I was too busy concentrating on not slipping!). It made for very difficult walking in wet conditions.