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" Railway Children - Scafell Pike - 2015 - "

Date & start time: Friday 19th June 2015, 10.10 am start. ( NY183 074)

Location of Start : The Brackenclose NT car park, Wasdale Head, Cumbria, Uk

Places visited : Brackenclose, Brown Tongue, Hollow Stones, Lingmell Coll, Scafell Pike and back.

Walk details :   6 mls, 3500 feet of ascent, 8.5 hour on the fell (including 3.5 hr stop).

Highest point : Scafell Pike summit, 3210ft - 978m.

Walked with : Dylan and myself, with seven colleagues and about 200 charity walkers.

Weather : Forecasted low cloud, possibly rising slightly midday, possibly raining at times.

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It is that time of year again as we meet up with an impressive group of fellwalkers

who are climbing the three highest peaks of the mainland UK, raising money for the Railway Children Charity.

Today I join the safety crew to try and make sure they all get up and down safely and without mishap.

It should be easier this year as the highest fell in England seems to be a lot lower that usual . . .

until you realise there's a lot more to climb . . . hidden up there in all that cloud !

- - - o o o - - -

There are 44 teams of four raising money for the Railway Children and Street Children of this world,

children who have run away or are forced to leave homes due to poverty, violence, abuse or neglect.

The Railway Children Charity tries to help reach these children as soon as they arrive on the streets

and try to intervene before their situation gets even worse.

- - - o o o - - -

The teams are taking three days for this event.  They travel to and from London by train, picking up people as they travel north.   

After climbing Snowdon last night at midnight, they journeyed to Dalegarth in Eskdale by La'al Ratty narrow gauge railway this morning

and are on their way over from Eskdale already.

They must be back on their train at Ravenglass by 7pm in order to travel up to Fort William as they are due to climb Ben Nevis tomorrow.

A Three Peaks attempt, using the sensible option of rail transport plus local coaches, rather than a mad dash attempt with loads of mini-busses.

- - - o o o - - -

The start point for me is the car park at Brackenclose which has had a make over last year. 

It has been enlarged and now has toilets, making it the preferred starting point for walkers climbing from this side of the mountain.

This year I have been allocated the top-but-one slot on the mountain and so I have to get into position high on the fell before the teams arrive.

The route up passes the Fell and Rock Club bothy, the area surrounding it still hanging on to the last of the Spring bluebells.

In these reports I like to include a picture

of my walking companion or companions.


Today I have just one  . . .

Harry has been retired from Challenge events

but Dylan is with me and raring to go.


We cross the bridge at Brackenclose

and meet up with my first colleague Elly

who should have the radio and team lists

that I will need for today.

I head off up the fell, the pack no heavier as my radio has climbed the fell ahead of me, courtesy of another colleague Richard.

I leave Elly pitching a tent to protect her from the cool breeze

and to give her two dogs somewhere to sit while she counts the teams through this lower checkpoint.

Looking back as I walk up the path up towards the Lingmell Gill crossing.

The dark brown posts next to the trees seem to be sensors to count the number of people using this popular route up the fell.

I pause for a breather and hear the loud sounds of a stone chat near by, its call sounding like two stones being tapped together.

He can be seen on the rock on the left of the photo. 

When I checked out the original photo, a second one was spotted on the rock further down too, perhaps he was joining in too.

Further up, the noise of a barking dog broke the silence . . .

Dylan was temporarily spooked by the appearance of a scary black bag on the side of the path.

The 'Path Fairies' have been out repairing this route up the side of Brown Tongue.

The forecast for low cloud was correct,

the mist shrouding the top of Scafell's Black Crags on the opposite side of the valley.

Just below Hollow Stones the path splits . . . one route heading left for Lingmell and the other right for Mickledore.

The path up Scafell Pike via Mickledore is steep, very loose and not best in this weather.

Jill is here to guide the teams up the correct route and to make sure everyone sticks together in their teams when they enter the cloud higher up.

The area just above her is known as Hollow Stones.

Nothing complicated . . . it is just that all the 'hollows' up here are full of 'stones' . . . that have fallen off the Crags high above us.


After chatting with another colleague John

and his three dogs at Lingmell Coll

I continue on towards the summit.


Fully equipped now with radio and team sheet

it is just a matter of putting one foot in front of another

and watch as the cairns appear out of the mist.


The slabs of rock up here  are slippery in the damp conditions

and are best avoided in favour of the more pointed rocks

and gravel of the main path.  Here the grip is better.


Up ahead, by the upper cairn is where I will make my home for the afternoon.

This is on one of the larger bends in the path and is about twenty minutes

or so from the summit.

Being so close, and with a little bit of time in hand, I decide to make a summit bid myself.

There I meet up with my colleague Richard who was sheltering around the back of the large cairn, away from the worst of the wind.

He will meet and greet all the summiteers and note their times of arrival up here on Scafell Pike.

Dylan, for a brief moment in time, is the highest dog in England . . . picture by Richard with my camera of course.

He doesn't look too happy to be perched on the trig point, so I hold onto him for the photo.

Having successfully summited it is time for me to return to my checkpoint.

In this thick mist it is easy to get disorientated so I got my bearing from the Gps and headed down in the right direction.

With the gps and compass safely in my pocket I continued down but missed a turn, over-confidence having kicked in !

Paying more attention to the slippery rock than the route, I followed the wrong cairns and ended up down towards Mickledore.


- - - o o o - - -


After a quick check of my position (and giving myself a kick up my own backside) I head off across country to rejoin the Lingmell path, getting back on the right path in time for the arrival of the first team.

The Gps took the drama out of a crisis . . . thank you Garmin.


( Check out my detour on the tracklog above . . . next time I'll pay more attention to detail !)

One of the other teams arrived at the same time as a light shower of rain.

Waterproofs on for them . . . the shelter beckons for Dylan.

[ The wet conditions this year meant some notes of "who was in which team" became illegible . . . do let me know and I'll update any caption.]

A busy time now as teams come and go, and by the time the later teams arrive, the first teams were on the way back down.

I recognised some of the guys, and they recognised me too.  This photo includes this year's Wiley Coyote Team member, Jonathan Mottershead.

Last-year when we met at this same spot he was a 2014 Team Willian member participating in the same Railway Children challenge.

Hold your cursor over the picture to turn the clock back twelve months . . . the smiles are still there, despite the poorer weather this year.

This team of two didn't seem to feature on the team sheet  . . . either that or they were baa-faced liars !

Two of the teams for one reason or another made the same mistake as I in the summit mist and headed off towards Mickledore.

It was towards the end of the event so Richard walked down and directed them back to the right path.

With everyone safely accounted for we all headed down towards Lingmell.

We walked out of the cloud a short distance below the Lingmell Coll.

Back into the rough and tumble of the rocky section of Hollow Stones . . .

. . . and down the Brown Tongue footpath.

[ On the way down we were passed by quite a number of private groups still walking up on their own personal attempts at the summit.]

Diverting slightly onto the top of the tongue I saw the huge landslide that had crashed down earlier in the year.

No wonder that the Lingmell Gill is so full of stones !

Down in time for the bus . . . our final team is checked in by Challenge Base back at the Brackenclose car park.

Time for a brief chat between the marshals and Global Challenge organisers before they too dash off to catch the train.

A good day out despite the poorer weather.

I'm home to bed and in work tomorrow . . . these guys are off by train to climb Ben Nevis instead . . . hope you have a great day.

- - - o o o - - -

If you feel you can support their fundraising efforts . . . click here for the Railway Children website

- - - o o o - - -

Late Addition . . .


It’s Jonathan Mottershead (Team Willian ‘14 and Wiley Coyote ‘15) from the Railway Children’s Walk!    I just wanted to thank you for producing such a great blog – the 14/15 photo flip is brilliant! The smiles were indeed still there.

Many thanks for your help in volunteering, the event could not happen without people like yourself and us walkers are really grateful, though we maybe a little tired to say it at the time. Having friendly and encouraging faces (and even better dogs!) does help you push on.

Dylan was great and I hope to see him and yourself again next year! Same spot too!


(Reading the rest of your site and the photos makes me very jealous that I now live in central London).




Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 compact digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . lunch, tea, dog food and waterproofs in the rucksack.

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Previous walk - 14th June 2015 - Gavel and Blake with Jo

A previous time up here - 20th June 2014 - Scafell Railway Children 2014

Next walk - 22nd June 2015 - Whoap and Lank Rigg with Jill & Nigel