Yewbarrow stands in the Western Fells at an elevation of 628 m (2,060 ft) above sea level with a prominence of around 142 m. It is listed as a Hewitt, a Wainwright and a Nuttall. The name comes from the yew trees which once grew there and its shape, which resembles a barrow.
It is in a relatively isolated position towards the north of Wastwater; and though it is not by any means one of the larger Wainwrights, it has excellent views of its larger neighbours – Pillar, Great Gable, Kirkfell and the Scafells. There are two summits, one at the north (616 m / 2,021 ft), at the top of Stirrup Crag and the other to the south, the southern one being the top recognised by Wainwright. Here, there is a summit cairn set on grass.
Its smaller size belies the challenge it presents to walkers – the ascent is complicated by the rocky outcrops, screes and crags that mark its slopes and some scrambling is almost inevitably required. The two main ascents begin at Wasdale Head, the first by taking Overbeck Bridge and the Great Door (a gully through the rocks) and the second via Dore Head and Stirrup Crag. This latter route, especially around Stirrup Crag, will present the more challenging route for scramblers.
Yewbarrow is often climbed as part of Mosedale Horseshoe, either at the start or end of this circular walk, which begins on the shores of Wastwater and offers a good day’s hiking as the traveller progresses to the summits of Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Steeple and Pillar.