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Western Fells

Ennerdale Valley

Great Gable

Great Gable is one of the most popular of the Lake District peaks at a height of 2949 feet. Although it is perfectly safe to climb in good weather, the ascent should not be attempted by strangers without a guide when there is cloud cover on the top. All around the peak are magnificent crags and it dominates part of the Borrowdale Valley.

Several routes can be taken from Seatoller. The track under Grey Knots to Brandreth is well-marked. It drops sharply after Green Gable to cross Wind Gap and then the track to the summit is quite rough. There is a Fell and Rock Climbing Memorial tablet on the side of the cairn.

The view from the summit is rewarding. The four lakes of Windermere, Derwentwater, Wastwater and Crummock Water can be seen, as can many peaks including those around Scafell. There are various other routes up Great Gable, including one from Seathwaite. The most dangerous route is known as the Traverse and passes through various well-known rock climbs, including Kearns Knotts and Napes Needle. This is difficult to find and should not be attempted without an experienced guide.

High Stile

The 2644 feet high summit of High Stile does not offer the best views in the immediate area. These are found on Red Pike and from the ridge leading to High Crag. The climb is usually approached from Buttermere village, around Bleaberry Tarn to Red Pike and onwards, returning to the shores of Buttermere by way of Scarf Gap Pass. It is a fairly strenuous climb.

Pillar

2927 feet high Pillar is best approached from Ennerdale, following the road which leads from the lake towards Gillerthwaite. About one and a half miles up the valley is a footbridge across the river. It is possible to follow the river banks up beyond the plantation up Steeple, which is to the right of Windy Gap, the gap between the fells. Crossing Windy gap, there is a short, steep climb up to the summit of Pillar.

The most famous part of Pillar is the huge rock jutting out on the Ennerdale side of the pike. This is known as the Pillar rock, or sometimes as the Pillar Nose. It is a favourite spot for experienced rock climbers but should not be attempted by the amateur. There is a good view of the rock from a footpath starting at the Ennerdale side of the summit cairn and dropping down to the rock itself.

Red Pike

A fairly strenuous climb starts from Buttermere village and leads around Bleaberry Tarn to the 2479 high Red Pike and onwards, returning to the shores of Buttermere by way of Scarf Gap Pass. Another route starts from Overbeck, one of the rivers flowing into Wastwater. The path leads up the side of the beck from the foot of the lake, past several pretty cascades of water. Part way up, a footbridge crosses the beck. Higher up, the climber has a choice and can either go right along Dore Head to climb the ridge of Red Pike or can head left to the cairn below the summit. Although this cairn is not actually at the top, it offers a better viewpoint. The energetic walker can continue from here to climb the Steeple and Pillar, which are both fairly close.

Another route up Red Pike is from Ennerdale Bridge. This can be combined with the climbs up Stirling Dodd and Great Borne. From the summit of Red Peak, five lakes can be seen and many mountains. It is considered to have one of the finest viewpoints in Lakeland.

Seatallan

Seatallan is 2270 feet high and its name is believed to have been Cumbrian for “Aleyn’s high pasture”. It is not the most interesting of the Lake District peaks, having a rounded and rather uninteresting grassy appearance. The most interesting feature is the rampart of crags on the southern edge. This is around 400 feet high and overlooks Wastwater. There is not a great view from the summit; only a few of the higher fells around Wasdale can be seen.

Steeple

From Ennerdale, follow the road which leads from the lake towards Gillerthwaite. About one and a half miles up the valley is a footbridge across the river. It is possible to follow the river banks up beyond the plantation up Steeple, which is to the right of Windy Gap, the gap between the fells. The peak is 2760 feet high and offers a great view of the crags on the side of neighbouring Pillar.

© 2017 Lake District Guide