My granddaughter Abi had missed out when her older brother
had climbed England's highest peak back in 2010,
but she's staying here in Loweswater over Easter and when asked
what she'd like to climb, Scafell Pike was the instant response
. . .
" because her brother had climbed it and she hadn't ".
Living locally and having 'worked' on Three Peaks events, I
had done it many times, but there was one significant walking
that was still un-climbed by me ! Today was the chance to combine
the two objectives into one walk.
It was a nice morning as we rounded the corner into the Wasdale
Ahead was a view of the highest peak in England, the task for
today was laid out before us.
Scafell Pike via Mickledore.
Starting from the National Trust car park at Brackenclose we
headed out with the prospect of the climb laid out ahead of
Today we'll head to the summit via the col to its right, but
don't get confused with the other high peak in the centre of
Scafell always looks taller than its neighbour, but there's
a whole 14 metre height difference between them.
Crossing the bridge over Lingmell Beck . . . now the hard work
It's only April and there's poorer weather in the forecast,
so we've warm clothing either on or packed in the rucksack,
despite the sunshine.
Photo by a passing fell walker . . . with thanks.
Abi strides out on the path alongside Lingmell Beck.
The cooler weather hasn't arrived so Abi is looking a little
flushed by the steep climb.
The Lingmell Beck Crossing which can be difficult in flood
I'm surprised that The Park hasn't constructed a bridge . .
. but at least this way it makes the trek upward more interesting.
have to be carried or be washed away !
Our two took it in their
stride and we were away up Brown Tongue.
The view behind is always worth looking at .
. . a photograph provides the excuse for another breather on
this hot day.
Towards the top of Brown Tongue the path splits.
The main path heads left for Lingmell Coll,
but we'll go right heading for Mickledore.
Into the flatter corrie below Scafell Pike and
Scafell, known as Hollow Stones.
This less frequented route has lost its pitched
path that we climbed earlier, in favour of a more traditional
Work has been done on the path however and we're
back to stone pitching as we reach a large boulder . . . on
top of which were two dogs.
I didn't tell them to climb up, but I did ask
them to pose for the camera !
Off to our left, the Lingmell Coll (motorway)
path zig-zags its way ever upward.
Below the hollow is full of stones fallen from
on high . . . so Hollow Stones is a meaningful name for the
The sun continues to shine on us and on a lone
walker on the slopes ahead.
mention the boulder as a place to shelter in poor weather
The steep face of Pulpit
Rock high above us.
- - - o o o - - -
Up here in the bowl of the valley the temperature
and we officially crossed the snow line.
The run up to Easter has been a cool and slightly
and a few weeks ago this would have been deep snow
but today specialist footwear was not necessary.
Dylan and Dougal are fully equipped however
and have good thermal insulation, four wheel (leg)
and retractable crampons (claws) if needed.
- - - o o o - - -
The suggested route up Mickledore follows the
break of slope under the rocks to the right.
Despite the lack of grass, a consistent route
through the stones was reasonably identifiable.
Late winter conditions has left some fine icicles
on the Scafell crags.
The path tucks itself close to the steep cliffs
that became the home of the early rock climbers.
Lord's Rake is an adventurous walker's scramble,
seen here climbing to the notch on the skyline. It leads
on towards the summit of Scafell.
The fallen boulder which used to sit across
the gap has move once again and is no longer a major problem.
across the scree, now carefully placing her feet on
the rocky path.
"I've been up ahead
and there is a way through" our guide tells us.
mention how steep . . .
. . . or how icy the
route would become !
Still there was sufficient bare rock to make
the ascent possible without specialist footwear . . . we just
needed to take care.
The steepest part of the Mickledore
scramble is done . . .
. . . still our guides spur us on.
It was just a short climb out onto the Mickledore
This was the view to the right as we emerged
from the climb.
The view ahead now offer us Upper Eskdale
and the distant Coniston Fells.
However, our route turned right and we continue
up past the Stretcher Box.
[ Inside would be a mountain stretcher, to
avoid the rescue teams having to carry one all the way up
here should they need one.]
Looking back from slightly further up, we
can now appreciate Scafell as a separate mountain.
The darker gash down to the left is the Fox's
Tarn approach path for Scafell summit
which avoids the difficult, direct rock climb
of Scafell via the Broad Stand.
The approach to Scafell Pike summit for us
is an altogether an easier option . . . we can see it
We just have to find where the path goes between
one cairn and the next, as crossing the rocky summit plateau
is tricky today.
Rebuilt, or at least repaired in recent years,
we reach the fine summit 'platform' with the memorial stones
on the sides.
Climbing up onto it gave us a fine panoramic
view of the surrounding fells.
here or on the photo above for my 360
degree annotated panorama
Our priority after our climb was a spot
of lunch in a warm place,
so we diverted away from the top slightly
and sat in one of the larger wind shelters.
Picking up on a couple of familiar views .
. . this one of Borrowdale, Derwent Water, Keswick and Skiddaw.
The other 3,000 footer of Helvellyn was lost
in the mist
but close at hand, in relative terms, were
Bowfell and Crinkle Crags.
That's Windermere over the back.
Lunch over we return to the summit, sadly
not before we had to gather up other people's rubbish from
inside the shelter.
[ If you want it back it's in three green
dog bags in the bin at Brackenthwaite car park ! ]
Time now to find the way down !
No wander that folk get lost up here in the
mist. The obvious cairns seen here to take you away
but we need to head away more to the right,
to follow the Lingmell Coll line of cairns for our planned
Abi at the turn above the slabs.
The path changes direction to avoid steep
cliffs and heads towards Styhead Tarn in the distance.
Lower down it turns back, more north west
once again, heading down towards Lingmell Coll.
Near the bottom a path breaks away to the
right to lead you to the start of the Corridor Route to Seathwaite.
We continue on, but soon leave the main path
ourselves, as we want to climb Lingmell summit on the way
Looking back at Scafell Pike and Scafell to
The Lingmell Coll path can be seen as a grey
path and higher up you can see the crags that the twisting
path and slabs avoided.
We've crossed the wall that divides Lingmell
and Scafell Pike and are now climbing hard once again.
To our left we can see Sellafield . . . and
a faint outline of the Isle of Man out to sea, beneath the
To our right the view is totally different
. . . as we look over the edge into the deep gash of Pier's
That's Great End opposite and the Corridor
Route crosses the slope below it on the way to Styhead Tarn.
From the top of Lingmell Abi and I look across
to Great Gable and Skiddaw in the far distance.
The views now seem to be slightly better despite
the lack of sunshine that we had enjoyed on our ascent route.
Lingmell is famous for two other cairns on
the way down from the summit.
They seem much smaller than I remember, a
fact confirmed by looking at pictures from an earlier climb
once we got home.
Still I added a few stones to the top to try
and right problem most likely caused by winter weather's freeze
and thaw action up here.
The lower cairn again was not a patch on the
They both need more working time and a better
cairn builder than I
for them to achieve the dizzy heights that
they used to enjoy.
Still there's plenty of stone about if anyone
wants to have a go !
The route down crosses the wall we saw in
the earlier photo.
Yet another cairn, this time in the middle
of nowhere particular.
The path drifts back to the northern side
of the Lingmell descent ridge
and we get lovely aerial views down into Upper
Wasdale and of the Wasdale Head Inn.
The descent is surprisingly steep as we head
down towards Wast Water once again.
If you had a school protractor you could measure
the angle of descent !
Here we could look across to the Brown Tongue
spur and the Mickledore Coll.
Always nice to see the walk in perspective
after having just walked it.
One last wall to cross
. . . not too big on this side . . .
. . . but a full eight foot drop
on the other !
We followed the ridge down and so avoided the Lingmell Beck
ascent path we used earlier.
Safely back at lake level after a great walk.
It's a short walk back across the bridge to the Brackenthwaite
The dogs were quickly into the car . . . I think they were
It must be a strange life not knowing what's ahead in your
day, a short dog stroll or a full on five and a half hour,
rugged fell walk with snow.
Still they never complain and always seem to enjoy whatever
life throws at them !
The day has cleared again as we stop at the shelter on the
Nether Wasdale Road
and look back and admire the views towards Great Gable and
the head of the valley.
. . . and by standing the other side of the shelter
we could even see the classic walk we had just completed,
laid out before us.