Pillar / Black Crag / Scoat Fell / Red Pike (Wasdale) / Yewbarrow North Top / Yewbarrow

Distance (Miles): Ascent (Metres): Time (Hours):
10.59 1312 8
Strenuosity: Technicality (x/10): Enjoyability (x/10):
Severe 7 9


The Mosedale Horseshoe, one of my favourite walks in The Lakes, starting and finishing in what I consider to be the most beautiful valley in England; Wasdale!

This walk, especially taking the High Level Route to gain the summit of Pillar, is truly outstanding. On a clear day there are some of the best views in the National Park; the Scafells looking particularly stunning!

From leaving Wasdale Head the walk to the top of Black Sail Pass is wonderful, passing through Mosedale with it’s meandering beck and steep sides. Then the fun really begins as you turn right, on to the High Level route, shortly after Looking Stead. For me this is the second most interesting path to a summit in the Lake District (the West Wall Traverse being my favourite).

The scrambles, Robinson’s Cairn, Shamrock Traverse, Pillar Rock, the bad step and the magnificent views all combine to make this route unmissable! I really cannot extol it’s virtues enough; if you get the chance you must do it.

A quick note about the Shamrock Traverse: It’s called such because when you look at it from the direction of Robinson’s Cairn, it appears that you can walk from the traverse straight onto Pillar Rock. This, however, is not the case! The hidden from view Walker’s Gully (named after a man called Walker who fell to his death there) separates the two – Hence the name ‘Sham Rock’ 🙂

When you reach the summit of Pillar the Scafells come into view as you walk around the head of Mosedale to Stirrup Crag. This presents a fine and exposed, but not too difficult, scramble up to Yewbarrow’s North Top. Once you’ve crossed the ridge towards the true summit you then have the views from Great Door to enjoy. After the descent back to the shores of Wast Water, you have the majestic Great Gable as your companion all the way back to the car park; it doesn’t get much better than this 🙂

Technically the walk does have a fair amount of scrambling, and most definitely requires strong navigation skills on the High Level Route. Because of the views it’s one to save for a day when the skies are guaranteed to be clear; you will not be disappointed.

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