Walna Scar

…Caw, Stickle Pike and more!

Adventurer Nic and her friend Laura heading to Stickle Pike
Adventurer Nic and her friend Laura heading to Stickle Pike

Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and More – Route Introduction

Walna Scar is the highest of all of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. This hike links Walna Scar to 9 other outlying fells in the south of the Lake District National Park over a distance of 26km. This route card is a fantastic option for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Wednesday 24th June 2020. These were Outlier numbers 39 to 48 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and More – Route Stats

The trig pillar on Great Stickle
The trig pillar on Great Stickle

Fells: Great Stickle (305m), Dunnerdale Fells (280m), Tarn Hill (313m), Stickle Pike (375m), a nameless summit 1183′ (361m), The Knott (284m), Caw (529m), Pikes (469m), Green Pikes (420m) and Walna Scar (621m)

Total Distance: 26.1km / 16.22miles

Total Ascent: 1,090m / 3,576ft

Approx Walk Time: 10 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 201917

Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and More – Route Report

The Lead Up

A few days earlier we’d hiked the Bannisdale Horseshoe and Knipescar Common, two great walks on the far eastern edge of the Lake District National Park. After a couple of days rest we headed to Ulpha to take on another big day in the hills.

James and I met our good friend Laura in the car park on the road between Ulpha and Stonestar. Laura is a postal worker in the Windermere post office but was making the most of her week off with some hiking.

The Ascent

The ascent was straight forward as there was a clear path which led through thick bracken right from the edge of the small car park virtually to the summit of our first Outlying Fell of the day – Great Stickle.

The ascent of Great Stickle through the bracken
The ascent of Great Stickle through the bracken

The ground was firm underfoot and the gradient wasn’t too steep. The view up to the crags ahead was beautiful.

Views from the ascent of Great Stickle
Views from the ascent of Great Stickle

I love the colour of bracken in June and there seemed to be a sea of green in every direction we turned.

Looking back on the ascent of Great Stickle towards Whitfell
Looking back on the ascent of Great Stickle towards Whitfell

We looked back and could pick out the summit of Whitfell quite clearly as we’d hiked that as part of our extended circuit of Devoke Water previously.

Continuing up towards Great Stickle
Continuing up towards Great Stickle

As the trail zigzagged gently through the ferns towards Great Stickle, we were chatting away intently. It was one of those ascents that passed quickly due to great conversation.

The Summit – Great Stickle

The summit cairn of Great Stickle
The summit cairn of Great Stickle

A large cairn marked the summit of great Stickle, five metres south-west of a trig pillar. From here we were treated to an excellent, albeit hazy, view down to Duddon Sands.

The summit cairn of Great Stickle and Stickle Pike in the background
The summit cairn of Great Stickle and Stickle Pike in the background

I also loved the view to the other side, which featured Stickle Pike with a backdrop of higher Lake District mountains. I had the feeling this was going to be a great hill day.

The Summit – Dunnerdale Fells

From Great Stickle we pondered over which route to take to Dunnerdale Fells. We followed a series of small interconnecting paths through the bracken to the edge of this pretty tarn which was teeming with wildlife.

Tarn between Great Stickle and Dunnerdale Fells
Tarn between Great Stickle and Dunnerdale Fells

The ground was firm enough as we were in the midst of a heatwave, but I would imagine this area could be very slushy in poor weather.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Dunnerdale Fells
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Dunnerdale Fells

A very modest cairn of two rocks marked the summit of Dunnerdale Fells.

The Summit – Tarn Hill

From Dunnerdale Fells we headed towards Tarn Hill, weaving around ponds and through bracken, avoiding the crags.

Looking up on the route to Dunnerdale Fells and Tarn Hill
Looking up on the route to Dunnerdale Fells and Tarn Hill

I’m sure the size of the cairn on Tarn Hill made the two stones on Dunnerdale Fells feel woefully inadequate.

The view from here, overlooking a tarn (no surprises there) towards Buck Barrow and Whitefell was stunning.

View from Tarn Hill towards Buck Barrow and Whitfell
View from Tarn Hill towards Buck Barrow and Whitfell

But it couldn’t compete with the view to the other side. Stickle Pike looked so grand up ahead. We were keen to press on.

Laura looking from Tarn Hill towards Stickle Pike
Laura looking from Tarn Hill towards Stickle Pike

The Summit – Stickle Pike

We left the summit of Tarn Hill to the north, all the while Stickle Pike was getting closer and closer. It looked far bigger than its lowly 375m height tag!

Adventurer Nic and Laura en route to Stickle Pike
Adventurer Nic and Laura en route to Stickle Pike

We aimed for the col between the two fells and followed another path through bracken which wound up and over steeper, rockier ground to the summit. And boy was it a handsome summit.

Approaching the summit of Stickle Pike
Approaching the summit of Stickle Pike

Hiking fells like this is one of the reasons I love being a peak bagger. I’d never heard of Stickle Pike prior to walking the Outlying Fells of Lakeland but it’s such a fantastic hill and an absolute must for lovers of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Stickle Pike
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Stickle Pike

We settled down to eat an early lunch at 11:30 am. Laura put us both to shame with her lovely, fresh prawn salad while James and I picked the mould off the bread of our peanut butter sandwiches!

Lunch on Stickle Pike whilst looking over the rest of the route
Lunch on Stickle Pike whilst looking over the rest of the route

At this point in the walk we were so happy. We already had four of the ten fells under our belts but Walna Scar seemed a long way away. We were under no illusions we would be back at the car at tea time. Thank goodness for the late sunsets at this time of year!

Looking to Caw from Stickle Pike
Looking to Caw from Stickle Pike

From our summit vantage point we took the opportunity to scout out the route ahead, looking across Stickle Tarn to the junction at Kiln Bank Cross and on to our next Outlying Fells.

The Nameless Summit – 1183′

We descended to the car park at Kiln Bank Cross and followed the trail to the east, passing a cave in the crag.

Cave in the crag to the left of the trail
Cave in the crag to the left of the trail

From there we took a left fork in the trail, which traversed up the western side of Raven’s Crag.

The trail up the side of Raven's Crag
The trail up the side of Raven’s Crag

This trail led us straight to the nameless summit which Alfred Wainwright, in his book The Outlying Fells of Lakeland, fondly referred to as – nameless summit 1183′.

Looking from the nameless summit towards Caw
Looking from the nameless summit towards Caw

This fell reminded me how must I enjoy bagging the hills that are close to the sea. You get a completely different perspective to the land locked fells in the centre of the Lake District. On a hot day like this was it almost felt like we were abroad!

View to Duddon Sands from Raven's Crag
View to Duddon Sands from Raven’s Crag

It felt unnatural to be walking away from Caw, the 529m hill looming behind me in the photo below, but first we needed to lose some height to bag The Knott, at 284m.

Adventurer Nic on the Nameless Fell with Caw in the background
Adventurer Nic on the Nameless Fell with Caw in the background

The Summit – The Knott

So we continued south along the ridge.

James and Laura heading towards The Knott
James and Laura heading towards The Knott

It was an undulating route, passing over a couple of other tops. Whitfell and Buck Barrow made for an awesome backdrop.

Adventurer Nic on the approach to The Knott
Adventurer Nic on the approach to The Knott

We made it to the top of The Knott and admired our next objective, Caw.

View to Caw and Pikes from The Knott
View to Caw and Pikes from The Knott

The Coniston Fells looked fearsome from this angle. We knew we’d later have to ascend a good chunk of that to reach Walna Scar.

View to the bigger Coniston fells and the direction of Walna Scar, which would be our final Outlier of the day
View to the bigger Coniston fells and the direction of Walna Scar, which would be our final Outlier of the day

The view to Great Stickle, our first Outlier of the day was also stunning.

Looking towards Great Stickle from The Knott
Looking towards Great Stickle from The Knott

And of course we were even closer to the sea.

Duddon Sands from The Knott
Duddon Sands from The Knott

Re-fuelling once more, we had a good giggle during a well earned rest by the summit cairn of The Knott.

Snack and giggles on The Knott
Snack and giggles on The Knott

The Summit – Caw

We retraced our steps for 300m before turning right along the trail, heading north-east towards Jackson Ground on the map.

The path to Caw from The Knott. Walna Scar seemed a long way away at this point
The path to Caw from The Knott. Walna Scar seemed a long way away at this point

This part of the trail was really good underfoot so we made quick progress. We crossed Long Mire Beck and followed the path up to the highest point of the pass before noticing some cairns to the right of the trail. We peeled off the trail and followed the cairns to the foot of Caw, where a steep ascent up the south face was required for 150m.

Around 20m from the summit, an older gentleman passed us with remarkable pace and flexibility. We caught up with him on the summit.

Solo hiker on the summit of Caw
Solo hiker on the summit of Caw

He was a local to south Cumbria, living in Barrow-in-Furness, and after a short chat he ventured off towards his next hill of the day – White Maiden.

The views were simply incredible.

Touching the trig point on Caw
Touching the trig point on Caw

A few friends had recommended Caw as their favourite Outlying Fell of Lakeland so my expectations were high and the views certainly didn’t disappoint!

Views from the trig point of Caw
Views from the trig point of Caw

There were OUTSTANDING views to the highest peaks of the Lake District including Scafell Pike, Pillar, Great End and on to Esk Pike, Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags, Pike O’Blisco and all the Coniston fells – Great Carrs, Swirl How, Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man. In the foreground – Harter Fell and Hard Knott also stood out.

View to Duddon Sands from the trig point of Caw
View to Duddon Sands from the trig point of Caw

The views off to the other side were striking for different reasons. A sea view and then Black Combe and a number of other familiar outliers from trips gone by. What a treat.

The Summit – Pikes

Laura decided to leave us at this point, so made her own way back to the car from Caw. James and I continued on, heading north-east towards Pikes.

The uninterrupted views of the Lake District giants were heavenly.

Leaving Caw in the direction of Pikes
Leaving Caw in the direction of Pikes

It seemed like it was mostly downhill towards Pikes, and there were now only two summits between us and Walna Scar.

The summit of Pikes
The summit of Pikes

A rocky outcrop marked the summit of Pikes.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Pikes, looking towards Walna Scar
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Pikes, looking towards Walna Scar

The Summit – Green Pikes

The amble across to Green Pikes was trouble-free and joyous.

Adventurer Nic on the hike towards Green Pikes
Adventurer Nic on the hike towards Green Pikes

We were now heading directly towards the big mountains in distance and it was difficult to concentrate on where we were putting our feet because of the distraction of the awesome scenery.

Adventurer Nic in awe of the scene between Pikes and Green Pikes
Adventurer Nic in awe of the scene between Pikes and Green Pikes

Green Pikes was my favourite place to photograph of the day. There is no cairn on the summit but the views are out of this world.

Adventurer Nic showing her love for Green Pikes. One more fell to go, Walna Scar
Adventurer Nic showing her love for Green Pikes. One more fell to go, Walna Scar

The Summit – Walna Scar

And just like that we had one Outlying Fell remaining! Walna Scar here we come.

Ruins of quarry buildings on the way to Walna Scar
Ruins of quarry buildings on the way to Walna Scar

We descended off Green Pikes and headed for the wide track known as Walna Scar Road. The path led us past a series of old ruined quarry buildings. What awesome views they’d have if you could stay in them I pondered.

Ascending Walna Scar Road
Ascending Walna Scar Road

The track wound its way up Walna Scar Side and to a crossroads at the col between Walna Scar and Brown Pike. We turned right to head south up and onto the summit.

Approaching the summit of Walna Scar, our last Outlying Fell of the day
Approaching the summit of Walna Scar, our last Outlying Fell of the day

The top was marked by a cairn and overlooked what appeared to be the full length of Coniston Water.

Views from Walna Scar over Coniston Water
Views from Walna Scar over Coniston Water

Looking back, the zigzag path up Brown Pike and on to Dow Crag was so clear as visibility was great.

The summit of Walna Scar looking to Brown Pike
The summit of Walna Scar looking to Brown Pike

We celebrated the milestone, as we were now 40% through Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland and we’d already ticked off the two highest fells – Walna Scar and Black Combe.

Adventurer Nic celebrating hiking the highest of the Outlying Fells of Lakeland - Walna Scar
Adventurer Nic celebrating hiking the highest of the Outlying Fells of Lakeland – Walna Scar

The Long Descent of Walna Scar

Thinking about the long walk back to the car, we left the summit and retraced our steps back to the ruined quarry buildings, before continuing through a gate down Walna Scar Road, heading north-west towards the base of the valley, which contained the Tarn Beck and the village of Seathwaite. We filled our water bottles from the stream and couldn’t quite quench our thirst on what felt like the hottest day of the year so far.

Views to Harter Fell from the long walk back to the car after Walna Scar
Views to Harter Fell from the long walk back to the car after Walna Scar

We reached the road at the bottom and walked along it for almost 2km under the blissful shade of the large trees that lined the street. The view to Harter Fell from the valley was beautiful, surrounded by woodland and quintessentially English dry stone walls.

Another Ascent Before Finishing the Walk

We joined a path which led gently uphill back towards the Kiln Bank Cross car park for around 3.5km.

Looking back over stunning views of Lakeland
Looking back over stunning views of Lakeland

As we regained 200m of height the views opened up behind us once more.

Heading back towards the foot of Stickle Pike
Heading back towards the foot of Stickle Pike

By this point we were very tired and a bit low on energy so some high calorie sugary snacks were on the menu to perk us up.

We made it back to Kiln Bank Cross car park and made a beeline for Stickle Tarn. From there we followed the trail beside Hare Hall Beck, laughing as we spotted two Herdwick sheep in the middle of a swampy tarn having a cool down.

Two sheep swimming in the middle of this swampy tarn
Two sheep swimming in the middle of this swampy tarn

We were back on the bracken lined trails for the remainder of the walk, bypassing Great Stickle and picking up the original route of ascent which led these two weary hikers back to the car.

James Forrest following the trails through bracken back to the car
James Forrest following the trails through bracken back to the car

Wrapping Up our hike up Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and Friends

What a day! 26km and over 1,000m of ascent on the hottest day of the year probably wasn’t the best idea but the views certainly warranted completing this walk on a clear day.

Our next outing would be Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell in the western Lake District.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

2 Replies to “Walna Scar”

  1. Good to see how it should look – I was up around there Caw, White Maiden, Waln Scar, over Dow Crag and down to Seathwaite Tarn and back) on Thursday with my dog, Chester. It was rainy and foggy, we got absolutely soaked and we saw nothing! It was only marginally better than staying at home! I’ll have to go back on a nicer day.

    1. It’s amazing the difference the weather can make isn’t it! Someone told me their favourite of all the Outlying Fells of Lakeland was Caw, so it was definitely on my radar to do on a fantastic weather day. If anything the day we did it was far too hot, but it was worth it for the views and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I hope you enjoy your return visit Ian

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