Yewbarrow South to North

13th November 2021

Today's walk is no ordinary walk for I am walking in memory of my Dad who sadly passed away last Tuesday. Dad's health had declined after suffering a major stroke back in 2018 causing Dad's mobility to suffer severely. Dad started to slowly recover helped by specialists, myself and two brothers who all held full time jobs. Dad being Dad refused the help of carers informing his doctors he had son's to help which we did without question which was both mentally and physically exhausting after working a ten hour shift but we all mucked in and helped Dad as much as we could. During September 2019 Dad suffered a second stroke which completly took away Dad's mobility. After Dad's second stroke Dad required around the clock care meaning he had to go into a care home so we made the difficult decision and moved Dad into a home at which point he had to give up his house and even his beloved dog which we re-homed to a loving family. Dad never moaned, even if he had to force a smile he just got on with his recovery the best he could.

During February 2020 Covid hit and Dad's nursing home lost nine souls but Dad the 'bullet dodger' as I liked to call him persevered but it was only a matter of time before Dad's health was on the decline more so during Covid because carers, nurses, and even Dad's physio were either needed elsewhere or simply banned from entering the nursing home. I want to make it absolutely clear that we are not blaming the NHS for Dad's decline there was simply nothing anyone could do as Covid affected us all. Dad's health continued to decline until it reached the point when we were told to prepare for the worst "how long we asked?" "two to three days" Dad's doctor replied. Dad passed away peacefully at 9pm that evening.

This walk is dedicated to the man who made me who I am today.


Wainwright Guide Book Seven
The Western Fells
Yewbarrow Many mountains have been described as having the shape of the inverted hull of a boat, but none of them more fittingly than Yewbarrow

Ascent: 1,950 Feet - 595 Metres
Wainwrights: Yewbarrow
Weather: Bright & Sunny, Mild In The Valleys, Fresh Across The Summits. Highs of 15°C Lows of 9°C
Parking: Car Park, Overbeck Bridge
Area: Western
Miles: 4
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 4 Hours 10 Minutes
Route: Overbeck Bridge - Dropping Crag - Bell Ribb - Yewbarrow South Top - Yewbarrow North Top - Dore Head - Overbeck - Overbeck Bridge

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA20 1EX
Grid Reference: NY 168 206
Notes: A small car park with room for around a dozen well parked cars can be found next to Overbeck Bridge. There is an honesty box close to the entrance to the car park on the right hand side.


Map and Photo Gallery


Grizebeck Sunrise 6.58am
As I topped the brow between Gawthwaite and Grizebeck the sunrise appeared in my rear view mirror so I span the car around and took the B5281 towards Ulverston, quickly found a lay-by and parked up for a few minutes.

Dapples of sunlight over Yewbarrow South Ridge from Over Beck 08:30am 9°C

The Wasdale valley was largely in shade with cloud covering Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell and the Scafells with the exceptions of Buckbarrow, Middle Fell and Yewbarrow. With the sun slowly rising from the south all it had to do was rise over Burnmoor Tarn before spilling its light directly over Yewbarrow.

Today was going to be one of those special days.

Fantastic light.
I left a deserted Overbeck Car Park and continued along the banks of Over Beck before joining the base of Yewbarrow south ridge just in time to witness a mass of sunlight about to envelope the valley.

Starting the steep ascent on Yewbarrow South Ridge.
With Dropping Crag (left) and Bell Rib (centre) domineering from above.

Just moments left.
Before the valley is filled with light.

Light intensifies.
Illuminating the bracken to my flanks - any second now.

Sunlight breaches the Wasdale valley.
During times of grief I have often witnessed friends or relatives blame forces of nature on lost ones. I never believed a word of it until just now.

Light pours into the valley.
Capturing Bowderdale in all its glory.

Chinks of light...
...appear across High Fell and Brimfull Beck while Red Pike is clearing of cloud.

Dropping Crag.
With the South ridge behind me I crossed the wooden sty and continued towards a fork in the path where I turned right below the rock bastion of Dropping Crag. My path steers right below the outcrop seen foreground then steeply left towards the rock gully seen centre.

Dropping Crag.
Ascending the rock gully while being acompanied by this squawking Raven ... is that a sign I wonder?

From the rock gully.
I pause to look back on Dropping Crag summit, Knott Ends, Middle Fell and Seatallan.

While being accompanied... the sound of white water cascading down Brimfull Beck.

Great Door on Bell Rib.
I had the option to ascend Bell Rib via the popular path or directly via a steep grass rake found to the right at the top of the rock gully. I ascend right.

Great Door, Bell Rib.

The cloud was still down over the Scafells but nevertheless this is one of the most inconic views found in Lakeland. I de-shoulder and take long gulps from a 1.5ltr bottle I had stuffed into the side pocket of my pack.

There was no need for my hefty 4ltr bladder pack given todays mileage and options to refill my bottle at Over Beck should I run low.

Views over the valley towards...
...Burnmoor Tarn, Great How, High Scarth Crag, Harter Fell (Eskdale) and Goat Crag.

IIIgill Head, Whin Rigg and Wast Water from Bell Rib with Middle Fell over to the right.
Bell Rib along with two more clefts are connected towards the west of the ridge via a series of mini ridges which when wet, would be advised to negotiate with care.

That view again.
It wasn't that long ago when good friend Tim hiked to Burnmoor Tarn with his Sister to scatter their Dad's ashes, what a wonderful thing to do.

Sun climbs slowly into a southern sky.
Sca Fell is almost cloud free unlike Slight Side which is enjoying the morning sunshine.

Brown Tongue, Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Mickledoor and Sca Fell.
Anyone climbing Lingmell this morning were in for some great views of the cloud dramatics.

Looking down on Bell Rib and Wast Water as I shoulder Yewbarrow summit.
Bell Rib is the furthest down the ridge but the cleft seen foreground is often mistaken for it.

Lingmell and the Scafells from Yewbarrow.
The light over Lingmell was beautiful this morning as was the cloud which came and went.

Yewbarrow summit appears.
But I'm in no rush to reach the summit, instead I lose myself in thought and the glorious views.

With views like this... wonder I was lost in thought.

Meanwhile towards the West.
Caw Fell and Haycock remain below summit cloud which stretched over the Blengdale, Wasdale and Seathwaite valleys.

Pillar, Kirk Fell and Great Gable from Yewbarrow summit cairn.
The ascent had been a warm one especially with the sun on my back but with the summit reached as I was met with a cool breeze forcing me to add a pair of gloves and while my pack was off I took another long gulp of Summer fruits leaving the bottle half empty.

Red Pike (Wasdale) Pillar and Yewbarrow North top ahead.
That must be my shadow over on the left but I don't remember seeing the moment I took the picture.

Flipping glorious.
Time to head to the north summit now but I don't do this in a straight line, I explore the summit saddle zigzag fashion.

Red Pike (Wasdale) and Pillar.
First I keep to the left of the ridge.

Whisps of cloud over Scafell Pike summit.
Good grief anyone stood atop Scafell Pike right now would be looking down on that fabulous cloud.

Red Pike (Wasdale) Pillar and Dore Head.
With a strong sun the shadow of Yewbarrow south summit is displayed over Dore Head before spilling into the Mosedale valley. I tend to return here either during November or December time just to see it. Within the shadow is a small unnamed Tarn from where I'll eat lunch once I've descended.

Yewbarrow North summit.
With a cloud topped Pillar in the distance.

Red Pike (Wasdale) and Pillar.
Pools of water in direct sunlight always create a nice foreground ... or at least I think so. You can't see Scoat Fell but it's tucked in right behind Red Pike most likely its summit will also be below cloud.

Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Sty Head.
I wandered over to the Wasdale Head side of the summit to take in the magnificent cloud topped views of Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Sty Head.

Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Sty Head.
Just look at that summit cloud.

Red Pike (Wasdale) Pillar and Dore Head.
I locate the Y Boulder down in the Mosedale valley then follow the direct route up onto Red Pike summit - Yewbarrow's north peak shadow so distinctive below.

One last view over the Mosedale valley...
...towards that stunning cloud over Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Sty Head and Great End.

More cloud is gathering over Sca Fell Pike.
In times gone by I would have descended Yewbarrow north summit via Stirrup Crag but not after rain given the scrambles involved, so instead I re-trace my steps about halfway across the saddle and locate the diagonal path over Over Beck which descends back to Dore Head offering a good alternative should the conditions be against you.

Views over Dore Head towards Red Pike (Wasdale) and Pillar.
The path is known as the 'easier path' which is true but care still has to be taken through the scree sections.

Kirk Fell from Dore Head.
After descending the path I head straight towards the top of Dorehead Screes. It looks like the cloud is begining to break up above Sty Head and Great Gable now.

Yewbarrow silhouettes from Dore Head.
After spending time taking in the view from the top of Dorehead Screes I made my way towards the unnamed Tarn, found a nice shelter, de-shouldered and took it all in. Dad would have loved it here.

Cloud breaking over Great Gable, Sty Head and Great End.
Dozens of windscreens glimmered against the strong sunlight below at Wasdale Head but I'm yet to see a soul. Not that I'm complaining mind.

Trying to tear myself away from Dore Head.

Dore Head from Over Beck.
From the unnamed Tarn I made my way back towards the base of Stirrup Crag then followed the path south through the Over Beck valley where it was fair to say a pair of wellies would have been sufficient rather than my walking boots.

Knott Ends and Red Pike.
Gleaming in the midday sunshine.

IIIgill Head, Whin Rigg and Wast Water.
As I retrace my steps down the south ridge.

Views over Bowderdale B&B towards Middle Fell.

Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Sca Fell.
I could feel sweat forming down the centre of my spine as I took in the descent of the south ridge under warm Autumn sunshine, I was accompanied by a couple who had walked to the sty below Bell Rib before turning back. We were on different sides of the stone wall but we still chatted before stopping to chat again when Over Beck was reached.

I left the couple on the bank of Over Beck and shadowed by the sound of cascading water I made the short journey back to the car park whilst peaking through the trees back up the south ridge or across the valley towards the Scafells which were cloud free as was Great Gable.

Yewbarrow and Great Gable from Netherbeck Bridge.
I couldn't leave without stopping the car to take the odd photo looking back on Yewbarrow and Great Gable.

Yewbarrow, Great Gable, Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Sca Fell from Wast Water.

If you ever wondered why my reports usually start of with me moaning about the forecast it's because after Mum's death back in 2012 I suffered from years of depression which I refused to get help for "I got myself into it I'll get myself out" was my attitude. I soon learned that being outside helped me mentally which was useful as I enjoy walking the Lakeland fells. Being in direct sunlight also helped, you may often have heard me use the term "soaking up the sunlight like a solar panel" it's true sunlight is my medicine but there's certain times when not all the sunlight in the solar system wishes I could spend one last day with my Dad before he took ill. Today amid the glorious views Dad was right there by my side every step of the way.

Until we meet again Dad.

In Memory of Joseph Albert Sharkey


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