Thursday, 18 April 2013

Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Outerside & Barrow

A mad idea from Claire and her colleagues meant that we found ourselves in Keswick on a night out mid-February, followed by a night in the freezing cold camping barn at Catbells afterwards. The problem was that if no-one volunteers to stay home and stoke the coals whilst the others are out having a good time, then that fireplace and camping barn is going to be cold!

An early start and a big breakfast at Booths soon warmed us up and meant we could head back over to Newlands and park up just beyond Stair for the start of this walk. Our planned itinerary was up the front face of Rowling End and onto Causey Pike, following the ridge over Scar Crags before taking the path down at Sail Pass which would bring us back along the lower slopes of Causey Pike before crossing over to ascend Outerside and Barrow.

The pull up Rowling End was a hard slog, but it did mean that we reached higher ground pretty quickly. As always each step upwards was rewarded with a view that was opening up and behind us we had fantastic views over Keswick and Derwentwater. The flat section along Causey Pike was a welcome break before the final scramble up. This looked much trickier than it actually was and as usual, a scramble up seems easier than using the same route to come down.

Having seen very few people, it came as a surprise to find a load of people resting on the top of Causey Pike, I wonder when the bus was due?!?! It was pretty windy here so we didn't linger for long.

One of my favourite parts of fellwalking is the ridge route - it's a great reward for the hard work in getting up the fell, and the ridge from Causey Pike over Scar Crags towards Sail is a delight. Good walking conditions and really rewarding views.

Ahead we could see the hard work done by Fix The Fells to restore the path up Sail, and you could see the scars left behind by the thousands of boots that had widened the path beforehand.

On reaching Coledale Hause we turned sharp right and headed along the path that would take us down to the bottom of High Moss. The path was iced over in places meaning we had to either go off-road, or sit down and slide down on our bums - this was nothing compared to the slides down Great Whernside which I'll be telling you about in a future post!

From here it was an easy walk over to the base of Outerside and a short and pleasant climb up. At this point the wind had picked up a bit so it got really cold whenever we stopped.

A short pause on the summit of Outerside and we pushed on, over the crags of Stile End until we made the summit of Barrow and our fourth fell of the day. From here once again we had brilliant view over diminutive Swinside and onto Keswick, Derwentwater as well as over Bassenthwaite Lake over to the Skiddaw range.

In a rush to get out of the wind we retraced our steps to Stile End, before taking the steep path down the side of Barrow which brought us onto the main bridleway along Stonycroft Gill, and here it was an easy walk back to the Newlands road and the warmth of the car.

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