A glorious friday in early June, the last weekday of the Whitsun holidays. I wanted to see what Piers Gill was like, as my late mother told me once that she had been cajoled by my father to take me and my one older and one younger brothers (aged maybe 3 to 7) up the Pike, but went wrong in bad visibility and up beside a “ravine”. She was very worried for our safety! This could well have been this Gill. This walk starts as for that decribed by Paul Gannon in “lakeland rock walks”, and deviates at the summit. The crowds are only met at the top, and for the next half mile: it is now evident that the vast majority of S. Pike ascendents go from the National Trust car park near the campsite at the head of Wastwater, direct up Lingmell gill and Hollow stones, and return the same way!
So with an early start from home I drove the 65 miles to Wasdale, with no traffic difficulty at all, surprisingly, and parked at the free area just south of Wasdale Head, which was less than half full, (and not much fuller on return. ) Take the Bridleway track from the north end of the park to Burnthwaite, following the sign to the L in the yard. Continue on the path to Styhead Tarn till after the footbridge over Gable Beck, then turn off to follow Lingmell Beck when the main path heads away from it. Keep following the Beck, crossing Spouthead Gill, after which the work starts, then turn off southerly to follow Piers Gill. There is one more beck crossing, (both this and Spouthead could be tricky after wet weather), then the ravine of Piers Gill is seen. The path is not alongside the Gill, you would have to deviate to have a good look, be careful. Just before a leftwards right angle turn in the Gill, a short wall has to be scrambled up, its actually more like a rock staircase using hands as well. Then its up to the Corridor Route path, where people might be met, follow this a few steps then go left on a wide path into quietness again, between Broad and Dropping crags. The last part is steep scree, I kept by the right crag for handholds. At the col its a short distance right to the summit and the crowds. Quickly descend with them (and probably “against” them mostly), down the tourist path, but when spying the grass on the southern slopes of Lingmell, cross it to an obvious path going west round the end of Goat Crags to meet the summit path. Descend this, part of it is steep scree zig-zags, to the wide path going north from the tourist path to Wasdale Head. I would not recommend cutting the corner here, the slope is not good going. The walk is 6 miles, with just less than 3000ft of ascent, and genuinely lonely except as mentioned, interesting, and not that difficult.
Ritsons Bar was empty, a few folk sitting outside! But the return road journey not so clear, although most folk at 3pm still in the Lake, or the river Duddon, or even on the hill.