Causey Pike, Scar Crags and Sail in the Lake District with my pal Steve.

September 14, 2016  •  3 Comments

Hi folks,

I cant believe its been over 3 months since I wrote up a blog! I have been out and done a good bit of hiking, but ive just had no time to write it up. I decided its time to try and catch up and i am writing the last one up first while its fresh in my mind. I will get the others done as soon as I can. Cant miss out such classics as Scafell and Melbreak can I?

So, I had just come back from two weeks holiday overseas feeling pretty lethargic from overindulgence and was really looking forward to some time on the fells. My pal Steve is lucky enough to be able to take a week day off and we decided it would be nice to do a fell that keeps being sidelined for some reason. That reason is largely its imposing looking ascent. I reckon that Steve could probably run up it - Myself, well, I wasnt sure I could even walk up it! Today... we will find out.


Today we will summit 3 Wainwrights:

  • Causey Pike - Via Rowlings end (2'090 ft)
  • Scar Crags (2'205 ft)
  • Sail (2'536 ft)

Time & Distance Info

  • Distance walked: = 6.2 miles
  • Time Taken: = 6hrs
  • Total Ascent: = 2'523ft


All image description text is "above" the image that it is referring to on my blogs.


This route when viewed in Open Topo map looks like this: (N/S Orientation correct)
We walked clockwise, starting in the top right hand corner.

Here is the elevation profile: (Note the ascent angle of the cursor position. 55%!!)

And the view of the route as seen on Google Earth. (Walking clockwise from bottom right)

After planning the route above I started to get excited. Two weeks in the sun away from my real escape, the fells, had taken their toll. I was aching for some cool Lakeland air after my lungs had endured two weeks of scorching weather. The problem as always though was going to be that "other" kind of weather... the Lakeland weather. It seemed we had quite a short window to get this done and be back in the car by about 2pm. Hmm... Welcome home Stu!


I picked Steve up at 6:20am, promptly left Blackpool and we were parked up in the layby near Uzzicar at 8:15am. The sun was still quite low in the sky and, whilst Steve wont really like this image much due to his precarious hand position, I am not passing up this image of a lovely sky shot on my trusty telephone. Ha Ha, sorry Steve!

Ahead of us is our point of ascent onto Causey Pike, Rowlings End.
What your seeing here is an iPhone image shot using Viewrangers awesome new augmented reality feature. Its in beta testing at the moment and looking better every week. Keep an eye out for the public update coming soon... Even without this feature I rate Viewranger as by far the best of the navigation apps, and I think I own them all, but this new feature really is the icing on the cake! How many times have you stood looking out over the peaks trying to figure out what each one is? Thanks to Viewranger... thats a problem I no longer have.

Taken with ViewRanger Skyline - Compass Heading : 213°, Version : 7.0.0(234), Field of View : 58.0, Device : iPhone7,2(9.3.5)

Looking back to the layby, the cloud over Skiddaw looks awesome. Its a shame its such a hazy day.

Its hot too, uncomfortably hot and we are both starting to work up a sweat just walking up the road. The humidity is the highest I can remember for a long time.

The view of Catbells ridge is lovely from this side.

Just off the road by the bridge across Stoneycroft Gill is a lovely little section well worth the 2 minute detour to take a look at.

But I guess that I am just prolonging the inevitable hack up Rowlings end. I was going to do this once before. We stayed in my favourite Lakeland Hotel at its foot, and I took one look at the path up Rowlings End and decided we would do Haystacks again instead... Twice if necessary! Ha Ha. Oh well... time to do it.

Its steep, but beautiful. The heather and ferns are starting to turn to their Autumn colours now and are a joy to wander through.

Looking back after a few minutes and right there is a great view of the aforementioned hotel. Ellas Crag. In my mind this is an absolutely perfect Lakeland hotel, the owners are as welcoming as can be, they are great cooks and the whole experience is just Lakeland all over. Ellas Crag is well worth a visit if you find them with spare rooms.

Looking to our right, you can see our descent path at the end of the day. At least that looks easier than the route up!

But what a route it is. Lucky its very scenic, as it gave me something to look at when I stopped every 2 minutes.

The Newlands valley and Derwentwater looks awesome from up here

And to be fair to him... Steve doesnt look too bad either for an old boy! The humidity was really taking its toll, we were absolutely soaked in sweat. So we had our shirts off to dry out. I took this image on my phone for a laugh, but decided to include it as its a good memory of the day.

We did a bit of the climb shirtless, but the midges soon took their toll on us and we are both still itching today, two days later.

Oh dear. When Steve put his shirt back on he noticed that he had miss-laid his water bottle. It must be... right... down... there!

Hard luck pal... Ordinarily I would go with him, but this ones killing me. I will just take some images and enjoy the rest. Ah... its so relaxing watching Steve disappear into the distance down there. See that little red thing bottom right.. Thats Steve.

Ah... hes back. He looks like he really enjoyed that extra ascent!

I dont know why hes pulling faces, I had to stand here looking at this lot. What a chore!

After a lot of cursing, stops, and more cursing, we got to the flat bit atop Rowlings End which, all the way up looks like it will be the top. Hmm... Dont you just hate false summits?

Once you have covered Sleet Hause, that view starts to open up and presents you with your second section of hard ascent ahead. Oh boy...

Steve at the foot of the final climb up onto Causey Pike. At this point we have already ascended over 1100ft. This last 400 cant be that bad... or thats what I tell myself.

Looking back over Sleet hause to Rowlings End.

And to our left - Ard Crags, with Robinson in the background.

Nearly there - Just the scrambly section to complete now.

This gully is the last section up onto the top.

A fabulous view of Barrow to the left and Rowlings End to the right, with Derwentwater and Catbells in the distance.

But ahead of us, Scar Crags just up ahead of the cloud and Sail, buried right in it up and out of sight.

This really is a great ridge to enjoy on a cloudy day. The images may not be very good, but the memories certainly are!

These were the first walkers we had seen so far. They give the ridge some nice scale.

A nice cloud was hanging onto Stile end some 600ft below us.

Onwards now across Scar Crags ridge. The cloud here initially looks odd on an image. It was like a grey blanket approaching us in a straight line, making wierd looking shadows on the fells behind it.

Looking back to Causey Pike where those walkers we spoke to earlier are now enjoying the summit to themselves.

And to our right, over 300ft below us, a lone walker is enjoying the cloudy summit of the 1864ft Outerside.

Scar Crags summit, looking back to Causey Pike.

And lunch time. Steve had a nice healthy pasta, and I had a nice healthy bacon and mushroom fry up! There is a very good reason that this blog only contains shirtless images of one of us!

As we move on, the cloud breaks a little, just enough to reveal the unmistakeable path up to our third and final summit. Sail.

As we descend Scar Crags we meet a group of walkers coming the other way.

Steve points at our bail out path, asking if I want to head back. I can only assume its because of all the sound effects I was making.

No chance. Up the path to sail we head. Looking back, its amazing to see how the cloud is gathering on the flanks of sail. Leaving our path and the path back up to Scar Crags reasonably cloud free.

Onwards we go up the zig zag path. this path gets a lot of stick from walkers on social media groups, calling it an eyesore and other such comments. Personally, I think its great. They have provided a nice safe path for us to enjoy the fell, and enjoy it we certainly did. Ok, its a bit "in your face" for a mountain path, but its new and it will eventually blend in I guess. The important thing is people made an effort to provide it for us as the old path was badly eroded and this terrain was extremely boggy, making it a very dangerous place to be in the wet weather. They do a great job and are completely donation funded I believe. Regardless, I for one am very grateful for the efforts of "Fix The Fells". You can visit them Here

Mind you... I wish they could have left some spare rock at the top. What a pitifull summit cairn after a hard slog!
The puddle is the main focus of this image as there is very little else up here worth pointing a camera at.

And thats it. Three summits done, time to turn back. We descend back down the controversial zig zag path.

And then at the bottom, bear left onto the High Moss path.

This is a great path, but I suspect it could be deadly in full winter conditions. Its badly eroded in places and I could see 3 or 4 areas where snow would disguise some very bad places to put your feet.

What a view. Thats Grizedale up high, and the mining operation down below.

Onwards towards Outerside. Thats a great fell to tag onto a visit to Barrow as we did in a previous trip report.

Barrow ahead now....

Using an OS map you would bear right at Stile end, however, using your nose this path is simple. Just follow Stoneycroft Gill all the way back to the road. You cant go wrong, just keep that river to your right.

Talking of rivers. We have been wanting to find a suitable access point to get down there for a break. And Steve has spotted one!

A quick detour down to the river is taken. We are still incredibly hot, sweaty and a little hungry. So we are keen to reach this water.

Bliss... There is nothing better sometimes. Shoes and socks off and into the river!

Then just relax and watch those feet shrink back down to normal size.

We ate and drank here for about 40mins.

I made a washing line to dry out my socks and shirt too. Perfect.

And that was pretty much the end of another awesome day on the fells. We got back to the car about 2pm and it was raining by 2:30. I love it when a plan comes together. :)


Thanks for reading folks. I hope you enjoyed taking a little trip with us and that it inspired you to try the route. Remember, take your time, don't ever rush. The fells are there to be enjoyed, not endured.

While you are out there enjoying the beautiful fells, remember the golden rules...
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints and keep only memories".


Here is some data from my Suunto Ambit 3 peak watch.
Calories etc are pretty accurate as I use the Suunto Smart heart monitor on all my hikes. GPS data is updated every 1 second so it it records every footstep, thus mileage often looks a little different to most navigation apps as they are usually set to update far less frequently and so miss a few turns here and there.                                                                   

Here is the route on an OS map courtesy of Viewranger.
If you would like the GPX file for this route, please feel free to E-mail me and I will send it to you. (For Free)

Finally... Here is a nice little 3D video of the route created by Suunto Movescount.


Camera Details:
All images in this blog were taken with my little pocket sized Canon G7X point and shoot. Its not a patch on my Canon 5D MK3 of course but I no longer lug all that around with me hiking as its just too cumbersome. When I find a scene worthy of the 5D3's talents, I usually return one day to make the best of it.



Route Completed on September 13th, 2016 with Steve.

New Wainwrights: 3. New total: 147 of 214.
New Birketts: 4. New total 203 of 541.          



Paul Carruthers(non-registered)
Brilliant Stewart! Going to read all of your posts
Stewart Sanderson Photography
Thanks Val - Still hiking, just working more hours thats all. Roll on winter!
And your welcome - hes in damn good shape for a guy in his mid 40's. Both an inspiration, and an annoyance! LOL
Val Kay-Dunn(non-registered)
I have been wondering what you were up to, Stewart. So glad to join you on this wonderful trip. Thanks also to the shirtless wonder. Very tasty! Arf! Arf!
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