Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Steeple, Scoat Fell and Pillar

Yewbarrow LDW-124 (HEMA G/HLD-053), Red Pike LDW-026, Steeple LDW-028, Scoat Fell LDW-023 and Pillar LDW-008 (SOTA G/LD-006)
14th. October 2020

Parked at the [free] car park at Overbeck bridge (54.4499, -3.28445) by Wast Water. I followed the route below in a clockwise direction.

Most of the hard walking is in the first half of route. Weather was dry with sunny intervals. The wind was strong early in the day buffering me about on the summits but improved throughout the day. Got shelter from the wind on all summits (usually behind low rocks) so it was pleasant activating in the sunshine.
All summits were activated with a Yaesu FT1DE 2m 5W HT and a Diamond RH770 ½-wave telescopic antenna.

Yewbarrow LDW-124 (HEMA G/HLD-053)
The ascent up Dropping Crag at the south end of the Yewbarrow ridge involves some scrambling and the route isn’t obvious in several places. There are some rocks at the summit behind which to shelter from the wind.

Time Band Mode Callsign
08:25144MHz FM G6LKB David, Ulverston, me 5/9, him 5/9
08:26 144MHz FM G7CDA Douggie, Lancaster, me 5/5, him 5/7
08:27 144MHz FM M0DXT Bill, Aspatria, me 5/7, him 5/9
08:29 144MHz FM MW0ISC Steve, nr Mold, me 4/1, him 5/5
08:29 144MHz FM G1OHH Sue, Lancaster, me 5/9+, her 5/9

I didn’t know until chatting to other walkers later in the day that Stirrup Crag - at the north end of the Yewbarrow ridge - has a reputation for being a difficult descent. I found it was tricky in places (with no obvious footholds). When I got to the bottom, I thought I’m glad that was over and then realised my phone was missing. It must have been pushed out of my back pocket when I was lowering myself with my back to the rock. I knew that the rest of the trek was cancelled if I didn’t retrieve the phone. So, I left the rucksack, climbed back up the tricky bit and found the phone which luckily was in plain view. It could so easily have disappeared down a crevice. Lesson learnt - phone in zipped pocket when scrambling.

Red Pike LDW-026
There’s quite a drop in height down to Dore Head which is in the saddle of the pass up from Overbeck. So, after that scrambling down, up and down again on Stirrup Crag, I found the slog up Red Pike pretty tiring.

Time Band Mode Callsign
10:05 144MHz FM GW4ZPL John, Penisarwaun, me 5/9, him 5/8
10:06 144MHz FM MW0RSV Graham, Buckley, Flintshire, me 5/5, him 5/9
10:08 144MHz FM G6LKB/M David, Newby Bridge, me 5/5, him 5/5
10:09 144MHz FM G0TDM John, Penrith, me 4/3, him 5/7
10:10 144MHz FM G1OHH Sue, Lancaster, me 5/9, her 5/9
10:11 144MHz FM G4ZRP Brian, Wirral peninsula, me 5/6, him 5/6
10:12 144MHz FM G7CDA Douggie, Lancaster, me 5/4, him 5/5

Steeple LDW-028
Steeple and Scoat Fell are close by so could be activated in either order. There’s a broad plateau area near the top strewn with big rocks. I tried to follow the so-called public footpath and soon found myself rock-hopping. As on many previous treks I wondered if the cartographers had actually tried to walk the marked way. Walkers have voted with their feet and there are paths – sometimes faint - running in the right direction.
Once you cross a boundary fence the landscape becomes very craggy. The path to Steeple is very well defined because you dare not deviate either side with very steep drops around you - a bit like standing next to Beachy Head cliff. Steeple is well named - it looks like one. Radio reception not as good though as the other summits.

Time Band Mode Callsign
10:57 144MHz FM G4VFL/P Andrew, nr Egremont, me 5/7, him 5/9
10:59 144MHz FM M0DXT Bill, Aspatria, me 5/9, him 5/9
10:59 144MHz FM M7XUP/P Steve, me 5/8, him 5/9
11:00 144MHz FM G4ZRP Brian, Wirral peninsula, me 5/2, him 5/2
11:01 144MHz FM G1OHH Sue, Lancaster, me 5/3, her 5/5
11:02 144MHz FM 2W0UAS Colin, Anglesey, 5/9, 5/9
11:03 144MHz FM G7CDA Douggie, Lancaster, me 5/2, him 5/2

Scoat Fell LDW-023
The WOTA is at Little Scoat Fell, not Great Scoat Fell which is to the east, and is on the ridge line between Steeple and Pillar. You could easily miss the ‘summit’ which is just a low cairn on top of a vast carpet of boulders. I activated a few metres away behind the drystone wall for shelter from the cold wind.

Time Band Mode Callsign
11:22 144MHz FM G7CDA Douggie, Lancaster, me 5/3, him 5/7
11:23 144MHz FM M0DXT Bill, Aspatria, me 5/9, him 5/9
11:24 144MHz FM G1OHH Sue, Lancaster, me 5/9, her 5/9
11:25 144MHz FM G4ZRP Bill, Aspatria, me 5/9, him 5/5
11:26 144MHz FM M0MHW/P Gary, nr Bolton, me 5/9, him 5/8
11:27 144MHz FM G6LKB David, Ulverston, me 5/9, him 5/9
11:29 144MHz FM G7VQU Gary, 5/7, 5/7

I needed to do a lot more rock-hopping to re-join the path going to Wind Gap for the ascent up Pillar.

Pillar LDW-008 (SOTA G/LD-006)
The ascent up Pillar is scrambling for the first part – nothing too difficult. The views are stunning on most of this trek and - since I had with me for the first time my recently-bought ‘power pack’ for re-charging my mobile phone on long treks – allowed myself the luxury of taking photos.

The wind had dropped a lot by now so I was feeling warm and snug behind some rocks for my final activation of the day.

Time Band Mode Callsign
12:21 144MHz FM M0DXT Bill, Aspatria, me 5/9, him 5/9
12:22 144MHz FM G6LKB David, Ulverston, me 5/9, him 5/9
12:22 144MHz FM G1OHH Sue, Lancaster, me 5/2, her 5/5
12:23 144MHz FM G4ZRP Brian, Wirral peninsula, me 5/9, him 5/5
12:24 144MHz FM GM1VLA Tony, nr Gretna Green, me 5/6, him 5/9
12:26 144MHz FM G7CDA Douggie, Lancaster, me 5/2, him 5/4
12:27 144MHz FM G4VFL/P Andrew, nr Egremont, me 5/6, him 5/3

I was following in Mark’s (M0NOM) footsteps in taking his recommended route down from Pillar via Looking Stead [worth the minor deviation to this mini hill for the views] then right at the path crossroad down Black Sail Pass to Wasdale Head and on the road for a couple of miles to my parking at Overbeck Bridge. This is an easy and mainly uneventful descent (although fording Mossdale Beck in winter floods just north of Wasdale Head could be tricky).

This would be normally be a relaxing and pleasant section to end the walk but my feet were sore and I was a bit dehydrated to enjoy it much.

This was my hardest SOTA/WOTA trek to date, nearly 12 hours away time with 8½ hours walking or activating (which was 1.5 longer than I estimated). I’ll not forget the stunning views and the challenging climbs - it was worth the effort.

Thanks to all the chasers.

2 Likes

Good route and activation Andy just a shame I was at work… retrieving your phone was a bonus, I think this hike would be right on the edge of my fitness capabilities. Well done nice wright up and photos… :clap:

Thanks Mike. Think it was at my limit too especially at my age - my body’s not as forgiving as it was in my youth. If you try to do too much, it becomes more like an assault course and diminishes the pleasure [I’ve done that a few times pre-SOTA/WOTA].

I’m bearing this in mind now as I’m doing the planning for the many outlying fells especially in the remote north-east area of the Lakes. It’s tempting to group a large number together for a day’s trek but I’m forcing myself to split them up. I’m in no hurry to ‘complete the set’.

Well done @G8CPZ, this is indeed a tiring trek, but with so much going on for so much of the walk it is an adventure for sure for all the right reasons.

As you say, no need to make every hike like this one, but once in a while a grand day out is called for!

Mark. M0NOM.