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Walk 1690 - printer friendly version

Netherbeck Horseshoe - Middle Fell, Steeple & Red Pike from Wasdale Head Walk

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 12.5 miles / 20.3 km

Ascent - 5000 feet / 1515 metres

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference NY167068
Lat 54.4497390 + Long -3.2861872
Postcode CA20 1EX (approx. location only)

This is a demanding Lake District walk including seven 'tops' in the Western Fells of Lakeland. Generally the route follows clear paths certainly once Steeple has been reached. However the first half of the walk sees relatively few walkers and some navigational skills may be required in periods of poor visibility.

From the car park (grid ref. NY167068), head Southwest along the Wasdale Road passing over Netherbeck Bridge. Continue along the road, with some excellent retrospective views to the Scafells, until you reach a road junction (grid ref. NY151053). Turn right here and follow the road until just short of Greendale. Take the wide grassy footpath on your right that leads eventually up to Greendale Tarn. Gaining height you eventually reach a point where the path forks as the gorge begins to narrow. Here go right and start the ascent of Middle Fell.

The onward path, rather feint in places, leads you onto the broad summit ridge with a large cairn providing evidence of the highest spot. The view from here is excellent and apart from Steeple the remaining walk can be seen very clearly. Leave Middle Fell's summit in a northerly direction and drop down to a rather uninteresting section of the route. Crossing a wide hause the next objective, Seatallan, is on your right. The ground on this section can be wet underfoot but is relatively short-lived as you gain drier land as you climb onto the eastern flank of Seatallan.

Reaching a cairn on Seatallan's shoulder, bear left and complete the ascent of this relatively un-walked hill. The summit has both a trig point and a cairn - it's your decision which signifies the highest point. We now retrace our steps descending to the Pots of Ashness and then following a feint path that leads to Gowder Crag. The best way of tackling this obstruction is to bear right and make your way uphill choosing the best line of approach. You then reach a bank of scree and there is no option but to head upwards until you reach grass. Reaching a cairn the path continues to Haycock's summit cairn.

You are now entering busier walking territory and the next objective is Scoat Fell. The way is obvious with a wall shadowing the path. Just before reaching a cairn on the rise up to Scoat Fell's summit turn left and head for Steeple. Return to the main ridge and continue to Scoat Fell's summit cairn. To continue head southeast towards Red Pike following a path that turns right a short way down the descent to Pillar. There is a path that avoids Red Pike's summit but it is worth heading for the summit cairn with its fine position on the rim of Mosedale.

The descent from Red Pike crosses easier ground and you soon reach a col at Dore Head. Ahead lies Stirrup Crag, which is the last obstacle to completing the walk. The route is easy to follow and there are some sections that require simple scrambling but eventually you will reach the top and be able to stride out for Yewbarrow's summit cairn. The descent is initially straightforward but then needs care. The path reaches a dip just before the rocks of Bell Rib. Here you need to drop to the right entering a stony gully. The way down is initially not pleasant but does reach easier ground to become a good path across the fellside. Reaching a wall, cross the stile and descend to the small car park probably feeling rather tired!

Walk 1690 Route Map

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