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View of the rocky summit of Pillar, a mountain in Wasdale in the Western Lake District
View of Pillar with Pillar Rock | © National Trust Images/John Malley
Lake District

Pillar trail from Wasdale Head

This challenging walk involves a vertical ascent of over 800m so will test the stamina of all but the very fittest walkers. But it's well worth the effort because few places in the Lake District have views that can compete with those offered from the Pillar summit.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Wasdale Head Village Green, grid ref NY 1868 0852

Step 1

Starting from the car park at Wasdale Head, walk towards the Wasdale Head Inn and follow the footpath between the Inn and the Barn Door shop. Bear right past the buildings and head NE, passing the packhorse bridge and Row Head farm following the right-hand bank of the river.

Step 2

At a fork in the path at NY 1877 0904, turn left and start your ascent into Mosedale valley. Follow the path as it meanders its way along the valley bottom for 1.7km.

Step 3

Eventually you will reach the rocky ford crossing Gatherstone Beck at NY 1840 1084. Take care crossing the ford when river levels are high. Follow the zig-zag path up on the other side of the beck: this starts steeply and then the gradient eases once you pass Gatherstone Head. Continue along the path for approximately 1km, keeping Gatherstone Beck down to your right.

Step 4

You'll then come to the start of the main section of stone pitched footpath (NY 1877 1134). Follow the pitched path up to the top of Black Sail Pass.

Step 5

At the top of the pass at NY 1917 1144, you will reach a broken, old metal gateway along the remains of the parish boundary fence line. Turn left here (compass bearing 304°) and follow the path towards Pillar for 0.8km.

Step 6

You will reach a saddle just below a steep ascent at NY 1853 1171 where views open out to the Ennerdale valley below to your right. The path then winds its way steeply through crags and boulders for 0.4km before the gradient eases and you find yourself walking for 1.4km along a rising plateau towards Pillar.

Step 7

Pillar summit at NY 1713 1210.

Scafell Massif from Pillar summit
Scafell Massif from Pillar summit | © National Trust Images/Steve Jolley

Step 8

After you've paused to enjoy the views, retrace your steps back to Wasdale Head.

End point

Wasdale Head Village Green, grid ref NY 1868 0852

Trail map

Pillar trail from Wasdale Head map
Pillar trail from Wasdale Head map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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More near here

View of Wastwater and Scafell Pike from the top of Middle Fell on a clear day in spring.

Greendale and Middle Fell walk 

Enjoy a quieter walk from Wasdale into the Western Fells, exploring above Wastwater on a circular route to Greendale Tarn and the summit of Middle Fell.

DistanceMiles: 3.5 (km: 5.6)

Get in touch

Lake Head car park, near Seascale, Cumbria, CA20 1EX

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