Steeple, from Scoat Fell

Steeple (and its own shadow, below), from Scoat Fell. The back of the High Stile range is in the background.

Height: 2687 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 7 (The Western Fells)

Steeple, from Starling Dodd

Steeple, from Starling Dodd. Cloud obscures Scoat Fell behind.

Date climbed: First visit: 1st September 2011 (walk 43a).

Second visit: 6th September 2018 (walk 152b).

Bagged as number: First round: 136 of 330. [ << Haycock (135)  (137) Scoat Fell >> ]

Second round: 164 of 330. [ << Caw Fell (163)  (165) Scoat Fell >> ]

Route of ascent and descentFirst visit: Approached and left by the narrow arete which connects it with Scoat Fell.

Second visit: Came up from the Ennerdale YHA (High Gillerthwaite). Left for Scoat Fell, as before.

Steeple summit

Steeple summit, crags of Scoat Fell behind.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “The unknown man [sic] who first named this fell was blessed both with inspiration and imagination. Few mountains given descriptive names have fared better … It is a fine pointed peak… one of the best….

“[However,] Steeple is in fact no more than an excrescence on the side of Scoat Fell, and only its remarkable proportions have earned it a separate identity. The east crags in particular, forming a half-mile escarpment above Windgap Cove, give a fine airiness to the summit and to the rocky spine of the ridge climbing out of Ennerdale to reach it. This is first-rate mountain country.”

Steeple putting in another bid for ‘Mountain of the Year’ status

What I say: Agreed. The first time I visited Steeple was the highlight of the walk (acknowledging stiff competition from Red Pike), because it manages to combine a spectacular and dramatic appearance with a surprising ease of access and there is no feeling of danger, or even particular effort, required to bridge the gap across from Scoat Fell. The summit is, perhaps, not quite the little pinnacle suggested by a reading of Wainwright’s page 6, but it was still a great place to rest for a while in the sun and admire the great scenery all around.

My second visit reinforces all this. The climb up from Ennerdale is well worth doing (if you can get there….). Cartographers, orographers, biographers, all would have to accept that in reality Steeple is just an excrescence on the north side of Scoat Fell, but it does a very good job of asserting its own identity and deserves a separate chapter in Wainwright.

[ << Steel Knotts      Stickle Pike >> ]


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