Height: 627 metres / 2057 feet Grid reference: NY 18637 11793
Everywhere else in the country has lots of snow according to the news but locally there is not a great deal at valley level. The high ground is well covered and today defied the expected conditions and was lovely and clear over Mosedale almost throughout the walk. I have had this one on the list of ‘to do’s’ for a while as I really wanted to get to Pillar, my favourite of all fells, in superb winter conditions such as today.
It’s been a long journey, much longer than I expected when I started out on a quest to complete the Birketts on 4th May 2004 but today I finally achieved that particular goal. I must admit to losing the will to carry on with them half way through, hence the time taken, but it was all worth it in the end and it certainly got me to places I never would have gone otherwise. Today’s route took in Pillar Rock; no walk this one, it is a climb and not one for the faint hearted. Make sure you take the proper precautions if you want to tackle it. Me? I had the perfect guide today…
You see yon precipice–it almost looks
Like some vast building made of many crags,
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the vale,
Whence by our Shepherds it is call’d, the Pillar.
Extract from ‘The Brothers’, William Wordsworth 1800
It was a funny old day today, weather-wise. When I set off from Overbeck Bridge, it was raining and showers continued over Yewbarrow with the odd ominous rumble of thunder. When the rain stopped, it became very hazy and warm and by the time I got to Pillar it was sunny, but with gale force winds which were present until I got back to valley level where it became almost unbearably hot. Angus and Casper were resplendent with new summer haircuts – it takes years off Angus, I think. It was quite an arduous round this one – a new one for Casper as it was very rocky with a few scrambles, Angus of course, took it all in his stride.
Today’s walk is a long, high level circuit of the beautiful Ennerdale Valley with virtually the whole route being completed at an elevation in excess of 500m. I have had this one on my list of ‘to do’ walks for a while so it was satisfying to complete the walk on a mainly clear day. The photo’s here actually belie the conditions somewhat as the clouds came in when I was crossing from Haystacks to Pillar and there was an icy blizzard. The snow showers continued to come and go throughout the rest of the walk and conditions remained very cold.
The intention of today’s walk was to ascend Pillar Rock, a climb I have done previously, however the weather conspired against me climbing it today – I made it half way up the ‘notch’ before the treacherous conditions made me see sense and retreat back to the slab. Phil, my walking partner, managed to make it. No fear! The rest of the walk was beset with bad weather with the first snow of winter seen on Pillar and a howling gale with painful (!) hailstones on the high level walk.