So after nagging Gary for the last few weeks to get his last Wainwright done, we set a date. His last wainwright was Kirk Fell and decided to tag in the Mosedale Horseshoe for good measure.
So we arranged to meet at Wasdale Head at 9am, there were the five of us, Gary, Stu, Jim, Dave and me. The beast of Kirk Fell looming in front of us. Stu had tweeted this pic of Wainwrights interpretation of the hill and was an accurate description!
It has been described as backbreakingly steep and it certainly was. Across the bridge from behind the pub and boom it’s upon you, 45° ascent burning my calves as I attempted to walk it. It did feel as if I was taking in the views of Wastwater from between my legs as I crawled up the hill.
I’m no way an expert walker but have done a far bit over the last 20 years but nothing was as tough as this. Stu and I were bringing up the rear and I was really struggling. Some days it just feels as if your body isn’t working. So much so, that when Stu and I caught up with the others, I was nearly in tears and said I’ll go to the top but then I’m going back to the car. The others rallied round, offers to carry my rucksack and said come on just take it steady and you’ll be fine. I think they were just worried that I was going to take the brownies with me!
So off we set, steady away like there was any other choice. Having lots of view stops looking down at Wastwater. Then the scree, I thought the previous bit was hard. Luckily I’m made of stern stuff and just battled on. Soon could see the summit. I was chuffed that we were here for Gary completing his last Wainwright and making it into the 214 club. I have still a long way to go till I can join that.
We took shelter in the cairn and cracked open our celebratory beers and I produced some chorizo sausage rolls I’d made.
We could see the clouds circling, but the wind was more of a worry as had got to gusting speeds. As we got out of the shelter the wind literally nearly blew you off your feet. We hoped that as soon as we descended we would be out of it. Luckily we were. The descent off Kirk Fell was challenging!! We were soon down and looking towards Kirk Fell cursing it!
Then it was onto Black Sail pass seeing the iconic YHA in the valley, past Looking Stead onto our next summit of Pillar. The clouds had cleared and the views were breathtaking from the top. Views are what make the slog up all the more worthwhile.
The hills in this part of the lakes are proper mountains. Each ascent and descent very challenging. On our way to Scoat fell and steeple, stopped for a much needed food stop. Refuelled it was off to Steeple, this was a slight divert off the path. It’s of those Wainwright that you’d be silly not to do whilst up there. We were treated to superb views again.
Back onto the path and to try and find the summit of Scoat fell! GPS and wainwright book out, we decided that the pile of stones on the wall was the summit! This rates along side Mungrisedale common for one of the most pointless Wainwrights!
Onto Red pike, Wainwright number 5 of the day. Though I did walk over it without realising it. Probably talking again!! Seeing Yewbarrow ahead felt daunting, I was starting to feel tired. So we decided before tackling it would have a much needed brownie stop. Gary had bought with him hot custard! Perfect pick me up.
Refuelled it was the final push. Jim and Stu were giving this one a miss and made their way back to the cars. So Dave, Gary and I made our way up. I was relieved that we weren’t going up Stirrup crag but a zig zag path to the right. It wasn’t as bad as we thought and soon the final summit was in sight. A tough day and spectacular views to end with on the summit of Yewbarrow.
Weary legs and having a huge stile before the final stretch back to the car was cruel. I was thankful to my friend for the suggestion of parking a car in the car park at the end of the Yewbarrow path. Having done the walk and then having to walk the 1 1/2 miles back to the car would be torturous.
The car and Stu waiting for us, a very long day in the hills. That has to be the toughest walk I have ever done. I’m glad that I did it and didn’t literally cry off. Well done to Gary and finally completing his first round. We joked only another 209 to go on his second round.
Though knackered we had to go to the Wasdale head inn for our walkers reward. A pint by the fire was perfect.
Time to say our goodbyes. 117 wainwrights done, maybe too early to be planning our last one just yet!