Yewbarrow may only be just over the magic 2000ft often used as a yard stick to be called a "mountain" but it certainly requires mountain like effort and its situation on the side of Wast Water makes it a fantastic viewpoint for much of the Western Fells and beyond. It is sometimes included as part of the Mosedale Horseshoe - a fine long walk over the fells surrounding the Mosedale valley. Its lower slopes are thick with bracken in the summer, particularly in the valley to its west containing Over Beck. Fluffy black Galloway cattle can also be found in the valley, hefted to the fell and all the way to Dore Head. Its name comes from the distinctive 'upturned hull of a boat' or barrow shape seen from alongside Wast Water, and apparently yew trees grew on its slopes long ago.
Steep crags at either end provide a good challenge for most walkers. Stirrup Crag at the northern end is feared by many walkers, including this one who prefers not to leave a trail of blood down the crag, unlike Wainwright who apparently did. An interesting side path can be used to bypass the crags which in any case would be recommended in poor weather, or for those folk who don't fancy the down climb. It is a fine path in its own right which is why we have used it for this walk.
There is a small car park beside Overbeck Bridge where the walk starts.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
At the back of the car park beside Overbeck Bridge, take the path through rough grass and gorse to the gate in the fence. Go through and climb the stone pitched path to another gate above. Again go through and continue to the step stile. Cross the stile over the fence, dogs underneath via the flap or over, and turn right to climb the bracken encroached path along the ridge beside the wall.
Approaching a higher ladder stile bear left and in a little over 100m (110 yards) bear right heading for the rather obvious Dropping Crag and Bell Rib.
In front of Dropping Crag the path turns right on stone pitched zigzags which avoids the loose and eroded scree gully of old.
Follow the new path as it hugs the base of the crags, keeping above the scree, to reach the base of a steep gully between Dropping Crag and Bell Rib.
Ascend the gully, or if that is too steep and sketchy try the rock tongue immediately to the left where there are more hand and foot holds.
An alternative to the gully is at the base continue to the left and climb a narrow informal path through the crags to join the slops above the gully.
Reaching the top of the gully bear right on a stone pitched path up to the narrow ridge at the top of Great Door - care required as it is surprisingly narrow.
Turn left along the grassy ridge. A few rocky steps still bar your way but the difficulties are all now behind you. As the general gradient eases the path manages to find some soggy patches of ground to cross. The summit cairn sitting atop a few rocks appears eventually.
Continue on the path over the summit area, and descend towards the depression before the climb to the head of Stirrup Crag. Approaching it a small cairn marks a narrow trod over the grass to the left. Bear left on to the path, and make a gradual descending traverse below crags.
Look out for the path turning left to descend a shallow and loose stone filled gully to a small cairn, it is approx 300m (330 yards) from the depression.
Reaching the small cairn bear right to continue the gently descending traverse now much further below the crags.
Reaching the path from Dore Head turn sharp left. Usually easy to follow the path occasionally becomes faint to the point of disappearing for some distance across boggy patches and reappears the other side.
As well it gets a bit rocky, an occasional boulder patch to catch out the unwary teetering on tired feet. The closer one gets to Wast Water the more dense the bracken.
Skirt below Dropping Crag and rejoin the path to the ridge. Turn right down the ridge to cross at the step stile again. then drop through the two gates back to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A Mosedale Horseshoe||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike - Via Mickledore||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|Illgill Head and Whin Rigg||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike and Scafell via Foxes Tarn||1.7km (1.0 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike - The Easy Way||2.5km (1.6 miles) away|
|Kirk Fell and Great Gable||2.5km (1.6 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route from Wasdale||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|Great End, Scafell Pike, and Lingmell: a roundabout journey||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
|Middle Fell, Seatallan, Buckbarrow - a Greendale round||2.6km (1.6 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011