Recent excursions to Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Haystacks, all of which yielded good views of Pillar’s noble profile, made me resolve to climb it as soon as possible. The route was from Wasdale Head to Mosedale and thence to Black Sail Pass, and finally to the summit via Looking Stead and the High Level Route/Traverse.
In his 12 Best Walks in the Lake District, Paul Buttle says the last part of this ascent comprises “possibly the most adventurous mile of path in the Lake District”. Much of the attraction is due to the sudden emergence into view at Robinson’s Cairn of Pillar Rock. As Wainwright says, “It is a dramatic sight that transfixes the eyes to the exclusion of all else and stops allcomers in their tracks. In that moment a memory is born and will never die” (Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains).
Descent was via Wind Gap (not to be confused with the Windy Gap between the two Gables!), and though a clear path is marked on the map, the first part of it was very slippery and then it became non-existent until near Mosedale “bottom” - not recommended: better to go back via the normal summit route or continue on with the rest of the “Mosedale Round”!
All in all, though, a marvellous walk, especially in such fine weather, which yielded unsurpassable views of, in particular, all the nearby fells, much of Ennerdale and over to the Scafells, as the photos below show. (Distance: 7.11 miles/11.5 km., ascent: 3675 ft./1120 m.)
PS: For further details of this walk, I recommend the relevant section of the “Striding Edge” web-site, which can be reached by clicking here. Included is a photograph of the memorial plaque at Robinson’s Cairn (which I stupidly forgot to look for) and which bears a splendid inscription, most of which follows:
For remembrance of
John Wilson Robinson...
one hundred of his comrades
and friends raised this.
He knew and loved as none other
these his native crags and fells
whence he drew
simplicity, strength and charm.
"We climb the hill from end to end
Of all the landscape underneath
We find no place that does not breathe
Some gracious memory of our friend."

Photos per row