Horseshoes, whalebacks and windy gaps

The horseshoe ridge high above Mosedale, the valley which lies immediately north of Wasdale Head, makes for a superb fell run taking in Red Pike, Steeple and the whaleback ridge of Pillar. Yewbarrow too for the purist who may also wish to add Kirk Fell to the list if the unrelentingly steep path by which one must ascend or descend to or from Wasdale Head is not deterrent enough on a route that already requires approximately 1,000m of ascent and includes more than it's share of boulder fields to negotiate.
Whichever direction one chooses to run the route in, and regardless of whether an extra summit or two is included, it offers grandstand views across the western fells...
...and finishes at the pub. Perfect. A short trot on tarmac led all too abruptly to the steep ascent of Yewbarrow, turning off the main path to contour above Over Beck and on up to Dore Head, Kirkfell and Great Gable beyond.
High on Red Pike and crossing the first of many snowfields - a joy to run on, firm névé a welcome alternative to the rubble strewn ridge of summer with long views across the fells and further still, to Scotland, Criffel across the Solway.
Looking north towards the level ridge between High Stile and High Crag with Grassmoor beyond and Skiddaw on the right of the frame in the far distance.
Enjoying the best winter conditions on the fells so far this year and inspecting the descent from Pillar towards Black Sail pass.
After crossing Looking Stead, there follows a short sharp drop to reach the top of the pass which falls rapidly into Mosedale, the bulk of Scafell rising dramatically beyond Lingmell and the sunlit slopes of Kirkfell in the foreground.
I stopped running a little short of the Inn, pausing for moment by the old bridge which crosses Mosedale Beck, remembering how I would lie across its smooth stones as a child, watching the trout holding station in gin clear waters below.

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