Saturday, 25 March 2017

Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Haycock & Caw Fell

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Route: Overbeck Bridge, Over Beck, Gosforth Crag Moss, Dore Head, Foster Beds, Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Haycock, Caw Fell, Little Gowder Crag, Haycock, Little Lad Crag, Nether Beck, Netherbeck Bridge, Overbeck Bridge

Date: 25/03/2017
From: Overbeck Bridge

Parking: Overbeck Bridge Car Park
Start Point: Overbeck Bridge
Region: Western Fells

Route length: 10.9 miles (17.54 km)
Time taken: 06:03
Average speed: 1.8 mph
Ascent: 1,180m
Descent: 1,184m

Wainwrights on this walk:
Red Pike (821m), Scoat Fell (841m), Steeple (819m), Haycock (797m), Caw Fell (697m)

Other Summits: Little Gowder Crag (733m)

Other points of interest: Dore Head

As Lakeland fells go, Haycock and Caw Fell are among the most remote and inaccessible, hidden in the depths of the western fells. For this reason, they are often some of the last fells to be visited by any discerning Wainwright bagger and this fact is what drew us here today.
It was a fine morning in Wasdale
Buckbarrow
It promised to be a memorable day thanks to a dazzling combination of late winter snow and early spring sunshine. It was certainly warm as we began our long trek to the high fells along the valley of Over Beck, below the slopes of Yewbarrow.
The imposing Bell Rib on Yewbarrow
Wasdale
Middle Fell
The path along Over Beck passes beneath Bell Rib
Over Beck
The climb up the Over Beck valley is very gradual, easing you up towards Dore Head over a couple of miles. That said, the sheltered valley and strong sunlight made for a sweaty climb.
Red Pike at the head of the valley
Over Beck
Over Beck
Approaching Dore Head
We emerged at Dore Head to the staggering view of Mosedale far below and the huge bulk of Kirk Fell across the valley. We also caught our first glimpse of the Scafells, looking resplendent with their winter topping. We loitered for a while contemplating the next task, a long climb up Red Pike.
Wasdale Head
Panorama from Dore Head
The view down Dore Head Screes
The route up Red Pike
Great End, Lingell and Scafell Pike
Stirrup Crag
The summit of Scafell Pike
Wasdale Head

Whin Rigg and Illgill Head above Wastwater
The Great Napes of Great Gable
It wasn't long before we reached the snow line but it was patchy enough not to need any of our winter gear. We plodded upwards with the sun in our face until the slope eventually gives way to a flatter area marked by a cairn. Close by (out towards Scoat Tarn) is a cairn built into the shape of a chair, called 'The Chair'. So prominent is its location that the fell used to bear this name. A short distance further is the summit of Red Pike, perched high above Mosedale Crags.
The high fells from Red Pike
Scafell Pike and Scafell
The Chair
Red Pike's summit
Haycock
Scafell
After a short descent, a further climb is required to reach the lofty height of Scoat Fell with its remarkable view of Steeple and Ennerdale. In addition to this, it was possible to see the mountains of southern Scotland, the Isle of Man, a distant North Wales and an even more distant Northern Ireland, something I've never seen before.
The crags of Red Pike looking towards Scoat Fell
Pillar
A very distant North Wales
Looking south from Scoat Fell
 Scoat Fell
Some large drifts of snow had built up behind the wall that crosses the top of Scoat Fell. The wall is part of the Ennerdale Fence, a historic boundary that runs around the Ennerdale valley and provides a handy marker for any of the ridge walks in the area. Scoat Fell's summit cairn sits atop the wall.
Scoat Fell's summit
There is a superb view across to Steeple and down into Ennerdale though the airy ridge leading out to Steeple is a real highlight of the walk, especially with the added snow. Steeple is a fine viewpoint, particularly if you want to study the crags of Pillar, Black Crags and Scoat Fell.
Steeple and Pillar
Steeple
The airy ridge leading to Steeple
Steeple's summit
Ennerdale from Steeple
Time was racing towards mid afternoon and there was still a fair way to walk so we got our skates on (literally in some cases) as we descend to the top of Nether Beck before a dull climb up onto Haycock. Despite the fine views available from. the summit, Haycock is not a popular fell thanks to its remoteness from the main valleys.
The ridge back to Scoat Fell
Haycock
The Scafells
The Isle of Man
Haycock's summit
Little Gowder Crag
A sweeping ridge leaves Haycock to the north - the southern arm of Ennerdale. The ridge rises over Caw Fell, our last destination' where it drops over Iron Crag to the fells of Crag Fell and Grike - the western-most Wainwright fells. Though Caw Fell covers a large area, the summit is located almost immediately at the top of the shallow climb up the fell when approaching from Haycock.
The ridge leading to Caw Fell
Haycock
Caw Fell's summit
Seatallan from Caw Fell
We were now as far from the car as possible and our return began with a re-ascent of Haycock to reach the head of Nether Beck in the col between Haycock and Scoat Fell. This long valley provides a gradual descent back to Wasdale and a pleasant route off the fells.
Haycock
Great Borne and Ennerdale
Nether Beck
Nether Beck
Nether Beck
Nether Beck
Nether Beck and Blackbeck Knotts
Scafell
A short section of road leads back to the Over Beck car park, taking us along the shores of a mirror-like Wastwater. The sun had just set by the time we reached the car so we decided to make the short drive to Wasdale Head for a well-earned pub dinner at the Wasdale Head Inn, concluding my idea of a great day out.
The Scafells
Wastwater
The Screes
Early evening at Wasdale Head