'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


A few days ago V & I walked up Pillar - the great fractured theatre of a mountain that sits between Wasdale and Ennerdale, and upon whose Rock the sport of climbing can claim (perhaps plausibly) to have been born.
The walk-in from Ennerdale is long, tedious and besmirched by the wreckage of the Forestry Commission's latest vandalisms, so we drove to Wasdale Head and walked in from the pub carpark - always a good place to start and end an expedition. Our route took us up Black Sail pass via the inappropriately named Mosedale (tedious valley according to the Norsemen - I can only assume that Vikings had abnormally low boredom thresholds, what with all that baby-impaling to be getting on with . . . )
It was an April day of midsummer heat, the rocks shimmered before our eyes, the turf was dessicated, the becks bedded with white stones. At Black Sail we admired Kirk Fell and turned left towards our goal: a few hundred yards further on, at a small cairn, we dropped off the ridge and took the High-Level Route across the mountain's northern face. This is a thrilling walk that picks its way around two great basins of ice-gouged crags before revealing the east side of Pillar Rock itself. The route then culminates in the Shamrock Traverse, a narrowing ramp of grass and rock that brings you out on a level with the top of the Rock before you. We paused to watch two early-season crag-rats ascending what looked to me like a suicidally extreme crack (if anybody knows the likely route's name, please comment) and came out just opposite Pisgah in time to see a solitary walker essaying what looked like a similarly lunatic descent of the scree-chute immediately to the east of the Rock. After that we enjoyed a short steep pull up to the hill's reassuringly flat summit. The rest of the afternoon was spent on a beautiful stroll along the ridge towards Red Pike and Yewbarrow before we descended to the pub. The early evening light played on the beck as we sat outside the bar drinking beer while the weekend's walkers took to their cars. Mild sunburn, sore legs and the rock of Great Gable above us turning rich and deep in the sunshine: quite the perfect end to the day.


Anonymous Eleanor said...

Sounds absolutely lovely, Nick. I have already begun sniffing around for new dates!

7/5/07 5:52 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

Eleanor - I can't help but feel that you might, on reflection, wish to re-phrase that comment . . .

8/5/07 11:44 pm  

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