Sunday, 16 March 2014

#57 Scarfell Pike (nearly!)

5.47 Miles
770 Metres Ascent

After a long drive I arrived at the edge of Wast Water and was blown away by the view.  The valley is stunning, especially in the sun, and its hard to drive without sneaking a few looks at the hills I'll soon be climbing up.  I camped at the Wasdale National trust campsite (great location and great site), and by the time I had set up the tent it was already 3pm.

This gave me approx. 3 hours before sunset.  This wasn't the ideal situation to try a walk up England's highest peak, however with a fully planned few days, it was my only chance.  I gave myself a turn around time of about 5 and would see how far I would get.

The weather was a real surprise, warm sunshine and I set off in a teeshirt.  I soon undid the legs on my trousers to get a bit of airflow!  I chose the 'tourist' path up next to the Lingmell Gill to keep things simple, it's fairly short but is a pretty relentless slog up steep ground.  This route gains around 900m in around 3 miles.

Crossing Lingmell Gill could be tricky in some conditions, but today it just caused a little dampness in the shoes.  I prefer shoes to boots, but they don't give the greatest depth before being overtopped!  The path is easy to follow up to Hollow Stones.  It has to be said that paths in the lakes, it would seem, often have only a vague resemblance to the marked route on the map.

A few cairns guide you through the rocky ground at Hollow stones, before breaking back out on to an obvious path.  Soon after the Lingmell Col the path again steepens and becomes rocky.  It was at this point that I hit a longish section of snow/ice.  So I now had a choice, climb this last section up snow (plenty of track marks to follow) or as it was already passed my turn around time, head back down.

I had no 'winter' gear with me, and with the time, I turned around 500m from the summit.  To be honest I was pretty knackered too, I found it pretty damn hard work.  I'd hate to see it in summer, I'd imagine it would be a bit of a motorway, but on a quiet day it's a good walk.  


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