There are a number of Mosedales in the Lakes, this is the Wasdale one that heads NNW behind the Wasdale Head Inn.
A full round of all the fells with any slopes falling to the valley is a serious undertaking and not many consider it necessary to include, say, Kirk Fell. Another often omitted fell is Yewbarrow. Leaving out these two makes the round a manageable full day enterprise for the majority of walkers. Judging by the way the path skirts Scoat Fell we don't think many people include it on this round, but do it separately. Perhaps if you haven't done it you could avail yourself of the opportunity since it isn't far off the route. Although, you should then also go to Steeple. See... there's lots of options and they all add further distance and climbing to an already long day. Anyway we decided our walk was going to go round clockwise, to skirt Yewbarrow by going along Over Beck to Dore Head. Then go to Red Pike and Pillar which are always included, and descend Black Sail Pass to skirt Kirk Fell along the side of Mosedale to slip into the back of Wasdale Head. An advantage of going this way is that at the end the walk you pass right beside the entrance to Ritsons Bar and by then some important rehydration therapy might be required! That's a good walk of 18.0km (11.2 miles) with well over a kilometre of ascent.
Mosedale is a typical glacial hanging valley with Ritson's Force at the interface with the lower level of Wasdale. The waterfall was named after the charismatic founder of the nearby Wasdale Head Inn.
Car parking in Wasdale is undergoing some change. The National Trust Lake Head car park has been extended and resurfaced recently, and is becoming the preferred place for walkers especially those on the National 3 Peaks Challenge to use. Parking on Wasdale Green is still being allowed for the time being, but this could change as the villagers would like to reclaim their green-space. With that in mind, we recommend parking at Lake Head, near to the campsite. There is plenty of space and there are toilets.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the National Trust car park return to the road through Wasdale and turn left to head westwards. Yewbarrow is the fell on your right whose steep slopes fall down to the road, and ultimately into Wast Water.
Go along the road for approx 1.5km (0.9 miles) and just before reaching Over Beck Bridge bear right into the car park. Exit at the far end taking the narrow path through gorse and bracken, which soon starts climbing steeply to a kissing gate. Go through and continue on the stone pitched path. If you have a dog you might want to take a left turn at the lower gate to the 'cattle gate' at the bottom of the steep ridgeline.
Cross the fence above, which runs down the middle of the ridgeline, at the step stile. No provision for dogs but Jessie did find a way to slip underneath. Continue climbing, ignore a turning on the left. Climb a short rocky step, and near the ladder stile over the wall to the right, bear left.
In a few metres when the path splits take the left branch which keeps straight ahead.
The path is clear of the waist high summer bracken for a while before it returns a little less vigorously. The gradient is easier now, meandering along a gently rising fellside path. Go through a gate in a wall and continue along to, eventually, the saddle of Dore Head.
Just before the saddle, the head of Over Beck is the last place to pick up water until on the way down Black Sail Pass.
On Dore Head, ahead is the steep drop down the infamous scree to Mosedale. Beyond is the view to the Black Sail pass with Pillar to the left, and Kirk Fell to the right. Up to the right is Stirrup Crag which is one of the ways down from Yewbarrow.
To the left is Red Pike.
On Dore Head, turn left, and join the path that soon materialises heading north west. After a couple of rocky steps and a little rough ground, with a small crag blocking the way the path bears right a little to an easy rocky gully climbing right to left behind. At the top continue on the path.
Mostly following quite close to the edge of the crags the path climbs the rocky ground without any difficulties of note. On the end of what might be called the summit area, a large cairn is actually The Chair looking out over the landscape.
Continuing on thin grass the path keeps left of the summit itself, so keep near the top of the crags.
The summit cairn of Red Pike is sat precariously on the very edge of the crags with not enough space to walk around it!
From Red Pike's summit cairn, continue on along the edge of the crags. Another small cairn effectively marks the end of the summit area, where a bit of a swing left and then right is required.
A clear path soon materialises and sweeps right along the top of the crags above Black Combe. Descending to the depression, a small cairn beside the path above a gully heading into the combe is the escape route from the end of Mosedale which sneaks past Blackem Head crag.
Starting to climb again the major, but narrow, well used path swings right to Black Crag. If you wish to visit Scoat Fell then you need to turn left off the path to ascend the stony ground and boulders to its summit.
The summit cairn of Black Crag sits in a patch relatively clear from the boulders on the next section.
From the cairn on Black Crag keep heading eastwards each step revealing a little more of the way down to Wind Gap. Only at the last moment will the steepness of the descent be revealed. Large awkward boulders block the direct way to the saddle, just to the right slightly easier scrambling over the blocks can be found. Join the path which materialises off the end of the boulders.
Cross Wind Gap, an infamous scree path departs into Mosedale to the right at a cairn. It is not a pleasant descent but can be an escape should you be desperate! Start the climb to Pillar.
At the bottom of the rough slope the path bears right, and then a few metres along before turning left to zigzag upwards. After the first right turn there are many paths that branch out as people seek the easiest, to them, line. Pick what you are happiest with and go for it. Above, as the gradient eases the paths gather together and head for the trig point at the summit of Pillar.
If you take a few steps north from the trig Pillar Rock will come into view.
From the trig point and cairn on Pillar turn right and start heading south east. A clear path starts descending, old rusting fence posts accompany you down the ridgeline. With Mosedale to the right and Ennerdale to the left the old fence followed the crest of the ridge, either follow the undulations of the ridge or the traverse paths which generally avoid climbing again.
There is really nowhere to go other than down the ridge to the crossing point of Black Sail Pass. A small tarn sits beside the path just before reaching the saddle, it holds water through most summers.
On the saddle is a large cairn.
Reaching the large cairn at the top of Black Sail Pass, turn right to descend initially on a gravelled path heading roughly south west. The upper reaches of Gatherstone Beck appear to your left, a short section of stone pitched path drops steeply. After which the path deteriorates becoming just another rough mountain path.
Reaching Gatherstone Head the path zigzags sharply then turns left to cross Gatherstone Beck at a ford. Continue on the path as it descends into Mosedale and swings left along Kirk Fell's side.
Go through a gate and follow on alongside the wall. Turn right to pass through another gate dropping into the back of the Wasdale Head Inn. Turn left between buildings to the front of the hotel and then right to the road. Return along the road to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Scafell Pike circular via Mickledore||89m (98 yards) away|
|Illgill Head and Whin Rigg||106m (117 yards) away|
|Scafell Pike via Mickledore||114m (125 yards) away|
|Scafell Pike and Scafell via Foxes Tarn||155m (171 yards) away|
|Kirk Fell and Great Gable||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike - The Easy Way||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route from Wasdale||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Great End, Scafell Pike, and Lingmell: a roundabout journey||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Yewbarrow||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|Middle Fell, Seatallan, Buckbarrow - a Greendale round||4.2km (2.6 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