Walk 1155 - printer friendly version
Causey Pike from Stoneycroft, nr. Braithwaite Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 6.3 miles / 10.2 km
Ascent - 2290 feet / 694 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference NY232218
Lat 54.585539 + Long -3.1898796
Postcode CA12 5UF (approx. location only)
Causey Pike is of modest height yet its distinctive summit makes it easily recognised from the area around Derwentwater and Keswick. Topped by five knuckles not dissimilar to a clenched fist, it immediately throws out a challenge to be climbed. Backed by the high mountains of the Grasmoor Massif and with far reaching views over much of Lakeland it is a perfect objective for a relatively easy Lake District mountain walk. When combined with the lesser summits of Outerside and Barrow you have a perfect horseshoe which can be enjoyed at leisure with none of the pressures associated with longer and more arduous walks.
The ideal place to park is along the road which runs south from Braithwaite to Stoneycroft. Parking is ample on most days especially near Uzzicar Farm (Grid ref. NY232218). The real walking starts where Stoneycroft Gill crosses the road. Above the summit of Causey Pike beckons. There is a choice of paths. The easier is the direct route climbing to Sleet Hause although the steeper route over Rowling End is preferred by some.
However you reach Sleet Hause you will have already climbed enough for the views to open out. Behind you is a wide reaching panorama over Derwentwater, Skiddaw, Blencathra and the Helvellyn Range. To your right, as you climb, the cirque of mountains surrounding Coledale looks impressive, whilst to your left the view of the beautiful valley of Newlands and the Western Fells improves with every step. From Sleet Hause the path climbs steeply until twenty or so feet below the summit there is a short scramble up a rock gully with plenty of hand holds. Exiting from this you have reached the top with an extensive 360 degree panorama to enjoy.
The onward path takes you over Scar Crags and down to Sail Pass. Ahead lie Sail and Eel Crag, summits that can be left for another day. Turning right down the main path you soon reach High Moss. Leave the main valley mine road here and head along a feint path to the summit of Outerside. Despite its relatively lowly stature it offers a perfect place to study the wonders of Coledale with the high peaks of Eel Crags and Grisedale Pike dominating the scene. Continuing down to the north-east ridge to Stile End you are confronted with a choice of paths. Keep to the ridge over the subsidiary summit of Stile End and down into the col of Barrow Door.
Ahead lies the final climb of the day to the summit of Barrow. From here you can trace where you have walked before following the north ridge as it gradually descends over grass towards Braithwaite Lodge. On reaching the plantation take turn right along the main path which leads you easily back to where you have parked.
On the day this walk was undertaken there was a strong to gale force easterly wind blowing. The advantage was almost perfect visibility. However the climb from Sleet Hause to the summit of Causey Pike was best described as interesting as each gust threatened to send you hurtling down to Buttermere! However even with a strong wind blowing the final scramble to the summit was perfectly placed as the walls of the gully provide complete protection. On reaching the summit the air was surprisingly still although strong winds on Outerside and Barrow also added a little extra excitement to what should be an easy walk. One walker met en-route admitted to having been "floored" by the wind on Eel Crags whilst a couple (79 and 69 years old respectively) battled on without problem!