Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Pillar via the Shamrock Traverse from the Black Sail Hut

After a lovely breakfast, we were away by 09:20 and followed the route up to Black Sail Pass and after passing below Looking Stead we followed the path leading eventually to the summit of Pillar via a straightforward route. Part way along this path was a junction marked with a small cairn with a narrower path which was more of a sheep trail.
We took this route and it started immediately via a short steep and loose gully descending down a bit to then continue to contour along this steep flank of Pillar high above Ennerdale. After a while we arrived at a junction with the main path continuing ahead. We took the higher level option which ran to the left which rejoined the main path a bit further on.
The path was easy, but you had to be careful here and there where you put your feet as a trip could lead to a tumble down very steep ground, quite a long way.
We reached the landmark on the route which is the large Robinson's Cairn in Hind Cove, where we had a short break. This was followed by a short section of zig-zags on loose scree leading to the rising ramp of the Shamrock Traverse.
At the start was a short steeper scrambling section, then again a level path above very steep ground. One short and narrow slab which had to be crossed was sloping down towards a nasty looking drop. The slab had a bit of water seeping across it and the adjacent rocky wall didn't have much in the way of handholds.
It was only a couple of moves across and was soon passed. Definitely not to have a slip though.
Steeper ground ahead with a meandering path followed by scree and rock led to the notch by Pillar Rock. There was a small group og men and women with harnesses preparing to scramble up the short distance to its summit.
We continued past Pillar Rock on steep ground again on a meandering path until we suddenly popped out on the summit plateau of Pillar next to one of the several circular shelter walls made of piled up boulders and rocks.
We walked across to the shelter by the trig point and then sat inside the sheltering wall to eat our lunch.
After lunch we left the trig point to drop down the easy route back down towards Black Sail Pass but paused for a short while at the top of Looking stead to admire the view down Ennerdale and down to the tiny Black Sail hut far below.

Leaving Looking Stead, we followed our earlier ascent route back to the Black Sail hut. In the evening we had tomato and basil soup, chilli and rice (more like savoury mince with peppers and kidney beans, but still very nice) and chocolate fudge brownie for pudding.

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