Black Sail YHA to Wasdale Hall YHA

This walk is part of the trek Six days in The Lake District, five YHAs, twenty-five Wainwrights.

Day 3 of a circular route walking through the Lake District. Six Wainwrights, three tarns and a pub.

Technical sheet
No. 2950508
A Cumbria walk posted on 03/02/20 by El Sud. Update : 22/03/20
Calculated time Calculated time: 8h20[?]
Distance Distance : 19.37km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1168m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 1385m
Highest point Highest point : 882m
Lowest point Lowest point : 55m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Cumbria
Starting point Starting point : N 54.500406° / W 3.244697°
Arrival Arrival : N 54.428783° / W 3.319801°
Download : -


(D) Leaving Black Sail Hut behind you, cross over the River Liza by the footbridge and take the path going up to Black Sail Pass to the right of Sail Beck, The path leaves the beck, climbing to the right and then bearing left uphill again. When you reach a crossing with the path (on your left) coming down from Kirk Fell, turn right, heading for a pile of stones in front of Looking Stead. The path bears left and then take a right fork at a small cairn to clamber up to Proud Knott (the High Level Traverse). Continue on for another half a mile to reach Robinson`s Cairn (John Wilson Robinson). Then it's into Pillar Cove following the Shamrock Traverse to Pillar Rock. Then there's a steep climb up to the summit of Pillar (eleventh Wainwright at 892m).

(1) Getting up to Pillar is no easy task but the views from here are spectacular (on a clear day). If it's windy, there is a pretty good shelter on top and it's a good place to eat something and drink some water. Then, refreshed and invigorated, it's time to move on, heading south-west to Windy Gap and on to Little Scoat Fell and Scoat Fell (twelfth Wainwright at 841m). From the cairn (on top of the wall!!) head north for 10 mins to reach the cairn on top of Steeple (thirteenth Wainwright at 819m). Go back to the wall at Scoat Fell, with Scoat Tarn directly ahead, in the valley between Red Pike and Little Lad Crag, and Low Tarn further down towards Over Beck. Head south-west to Great Scoat Fell and along the Ennerdale Fence wall to reach Haycock (fourteenth Wainwright at 797m).

(2) From Haycock, the route turns left, directly south, down the side of Gowder Crag and over High Pikehow. Carry on to Pots of Ashness and a short climb up to the summit of Seatallan (fifteenth Wainwright at 692m). Head south again, then bear right over Nether Wasdale Common over Cat Bields and pass the Buck Stone. From here, bear left to reach the cairn at Glade How. Then follow the path along the crags to Buckbarrow (sixteenth Wainwright at 423m). Head west down to Gill Beck coming out onto the road opposite the track that leads to Gill Farm and Tosh Tarn. Past the farm, head on down to the campsite at Nether Wasdale (ignore the tracks that run off left and right).

(3) Nether Wasdale has a number of watering holes, including The Strands & Screes Inn and Brewery. Don't linger too long as the day is probably coming to a close and the light might be fading. At the road, turn left and head for Cinderdale Bridge which crosses the River Irt. Once over the bridge turn almost immediately left to follow a track to Easthwaite Farm. Past the farm, take a left turn through a gate and over the fields to Lund Bridge. Here you have a choice (depending on the light) to either go straight through Low Wood or take the circular path to the right that follows the river round to the left and out into the lake. Wast Water stretches out before you and there are a couple of benches along the path that will give you the opportunity to sit and wonder at the beauty of the scene before you. You can also slip down to the water's edge to capture that magic moment with your camera. Follow the path along the edge of the lake and before too long you'll see, through the trees, YHA Wasdale Hall.(A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 294m - YHA Black Sail
1 : km 4.38 - alt. 882m - Pillar
2 : km 7.95 - alt. 788m - Haycock
3 : km 15.91 - alt. 60m - Nether Wasdale
A : km 19.37 - alt. 84m - YHA Wasdale Hall

Useful Information

If the weather is bad, take the simpler route to Pillar from Black Sail Pass. A good compass is always a must in the mountains and a whistle and flashlight are also recommended. The same can be said about the short detour to Steeple (an easy ridge route in clear weather). The route is fairly simple after Pillar but if you choose the High Level Route to Pillar Rock you'll need strong boots and a clear head as there is some scrambling to be done.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Take your time, especially on the Shamrock Traverse and the scramble from Pillar Rock to the summit. The Ennerdale Fence wall is a testimony to those who worked in these parts years ago and is a better legacy than the iron gate and posts found at Black Sail Pass and up to Looking Stead. Wainwright recommends taking a detour to Looking Stead "it is an excellent viewpoint for a survey, both of the High Level Route and of Ennerdale".

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.