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Scafell Pike

As a Father’s Day present, my wife and son arranged a camping and walking holiday for me in the Lake District, with the primary goal being to climb Scafell Pike (after we did Snowdon last year), you can read the story of that in another blog posting.

Here is the route we walked overlaid on my TT 1:50K Look n Feel map of the British Isles complete with 10m contours and DEM. This is a screen shot from BaseCamp in 3D mode.

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England standing at 978m (3,209ft).

We travelled by train to London, then to Lancaster and finally got off at Drigg station (just south of Seascale), loaded up with our rucksacks, tents and other camping equipment, we jumped in to the taxi we had arranged to meet us and that would take us to the campsite at Wasdale (the National Trust one).

On the way there we watched the clouds roll in and descend and of course, it started to rain…

When we arrived at the campsite we managed to get the tents up quickly and the rain eased off for a while (long enough for a short walk along the Lake and up Coffin Road). Well, after that, for the next three days it rained almost solidly, that was early June! Ironically the staff at the campsite said that this was the first rain they had seen for over a month….Typical!

So for three whole days we walked in the rain, sat in the pub and slept listening to rain, rain and more rain. The good news is that the tents were great and didn’t leak.

 

However, on the last full day, we did manage to find a window with no rain, to actually climb Scafell Pike… Here’s a picture of me just after we started the climb, still sunny and warm at this point.

Shortly after that picture we had to cross the stream, and there is no bridge, so we forded it using the rocks; I slipped and got a Goretex boot full of water, still it didn’t stop me or cause me any issues. That was a taste of just how wet we were going to get…

The next photo is looking back down where we have already ascended from the lake and we are less than a third of the way up at this point!

Here’s a photo looking up towards the summit, as you can see we are heading into low cloud shortly.

And here we are in the cloud about two thirds of the way to the summit, this is the boulder/scree field, the path was impossible to see at this point, thankfully I had my Oregon 700 with my map on and the route, so that I could find my way safely and my son could just about see me to follow my lead:

We got to the summit in just over 2 hours, and it was a white out and about 5c up there. Here is the trig point, next to the cairn/memorial at the top. There was absolutely no view at that time! Yes, I got the caches up here!

On the way down via Lingmell (using the Corridor route) and skirting Great Gable. As we started to descend, the cloud broke for a while.

This is at the start of the Corridor route/trail, below the summit of Scafell Pike. You can see Styhead Tarn in the distance:

Here I am on the Corridor route, just before it started to close in and rain again:

We got to what is known as the Big Step (a near vertical piece of rock/cliff that you need to ascend near Lambsfoot Dubb), however we decided to go round it, which was a near sheer drop down the side of the mountain and a very narrow path!

We later found out that this side route (on the Big Step) is responsible for multiple deaths and serious injuries each year! After the Big Step adventure, the rain returned with a vengeance! Luckily we had gone prepared and finally got back safely to the Pub after three hours of very slippery rocks and scree, and most paths resembling streams…

Even with waterproof trousers, a Goretex coat and boots, etc. we both got very wet as the water was wicking up the inside of the sleeves of the coat (it was raining and blowing that much). In fact I had to remove my glasses to have a chance to see where to step (they kept alternating between needing windscreen wipers to keep the rain off and then fogging up!)

Never has a warm fire, a hot meal and a cold drink been more welcome!

On the last morning, we packed up, luckily it was dry, and we had a visitor to wish us well on our travels back home:

Next target is to hopefully do Ben Nevis in October this year (2018)!

Since I originally wrote this, it seems that a more normal British summer has been re-instated!

All photographs used in this article are Copyright, 2018 by Talkytoaster or Ben Overton, All Rights Reserved.

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