3 Peaks Paul

Snowdon (Wales), Scafell Pike (England), Ben Nevis (Scotland).... 24 hours. Eek!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Scafell Pike

Me on Scafell Pike summit. With Mysti too.

Since I'm off work this week, I decided to take on Scafell Pike from Wasdale, the same way that we're going up for the 3 peaks. Wasdale is the most direct route to the summit, but also one of the most difficult.

On Monday afternoon, I packed up my camping bits and put Mysti into the car, and drove upto the Lake Distict. We went to the camping site next to the pub (convinient!) in Wasdale Head. After about a 3.5 hour drive, we arrived. Put the tent up, and sorted everything out. Then I took Mysti for a walk towards the Lingmell Gill, the valley that leads up to Scafell Pike. I had no intention of walking up it, but wanted to get a feel for the lie of the land, so I could visualise the map better in case the weather got bad the next day when I was actually going to climb it.

I started the walk, and got to the point where I wanted to go, when the heavens opened. I was about 30 minutes from my tent, and because I wasn't doing a climb, I didn't have my waterproofs, so I got absolutely soaked. Typically, as soon as I got back, the it stopped raining, and became quite nice, so I dried off reasonably quickly. Since it looked like it would be a nice evening, I got myself a nice pint of Stella, which went down very nicely, so I had another 1 or 2 *cough*. Behind the pub there's a small stream, so I was throwing sticks in for Mysti, which for some reason she loves.

After a while, I was so bored, so took another walk down to the lake (Wast water, the deepest lake in England). Pretty much stayed out doing that until it was dark, then wondered back, lit a BBQ, and had some dinner, then went to bed.

Woke up first thing in the morning, at about 6. Looked outside the tent, and it looked like it was going to be a good day. So I started packing up my stuff (considering I was only there for an hour, I made a HUGE amount of mess). Cleared everything away by 07:30, just left the tent up, and would take that down later.

Put Mysti in the car, and drove down to the starting point for Scafell Pike, I could've walked, but figured I'd be greatful for the car on the way back.

I started the walk at about 8am, across the valley floor, which involved crossing a small stream, which Mysti was getting very excited about. The walk soon started to involve some climbing, and after about 5 minutes I could already feel my body having to work hard. Behind me was another guy, also looking like he was on his own. The path followed Lingmell Gill up, and it was shocking how much height we were gaining so quickly. I stopped for a quick drink, and the guy behind me caught up, we actually got talking, and introduced ourselves (he was Steve). We would walk up the rest of the mountain together.

The path crossed over the stream, and the incline quickly became quite uncomfortable. Sweat began pouring off my head, and my legs were on fire. I was absolutely knackered, and only about 1/3 of the way up. The path continued on, until it eventually forked into to 2. The right path went up to Mickledore (which is for the preserve of the crazy mad suicidal people), and the route I was taking, over the Hollow Stones. Steve and I carried on walking up, with the crags ahead of us looking much closer, and much bigger. Behind us we were rewarded with an amazing view of Wast water. Although we were quite disheartened because all the other hills around us still beared down upon us.

As we gained more height, the summit of Lingmell to our left came in view, which was quite satisfying for me, but to our right Sca fell (not to be confused with Scafell Pike) was still towering way above.

The path over the Hollow Stones was quite precarious at times, nearly breaking my ankle of at least 5 separate occassions! It eventually went nice and smooth again, so less ankle breaking opportunities. The path went around the back of "Pikes crags", at which point it turned into a debris field of boulders and scree. Was hard going on the feet, but otherwise not so bad. Even though it got reasonably steep at times. Even though we were very tired, it wasn't so bad because we always had the top more or less in view (at least what we thought was the top!). So we kept going. I finally, and enevitably lost my footing, and slipped over. My walking poles shot off in both directions as I grappled to stay up right, before falling onto my left knee, just got a small graze, so wasn't too bad.

Eventually, the cairn we'd been looking at for was there, when we saw the actual top a couple of hundred yards away. So we walked over to that. There was a couple already at the top, although they cleared off not long after we got there. After a quick break for sandwiches and drinks and photos, we headed back off down.

More people were coming up now, so we ended up answering a load of questions going down "what's the view like?" "How far is it?", etc. The walk down felt hard too, the constant pounding on tired legs quickly became quite uncomfortable.

I fell over a few more times on the way down, one particularly nasty one when I cut my knee quite badly. Eventually arrived at the bottom, just as the sun was coming out, so we pittied the people walking up in the burning hot sunshine, we struggled enough in the coolness of the morning. The whole thing, all said took about 4hours, up and down, with a few minutes on the top. This is well within the time needed for the 3 peaks, so I felt good about that.

Steve and I went for a quick pint down the pub, before we shook hands and left.

I packed up the rest of my things, and drove back. In the 4 hours or so that it took me to get back, I felt fresh enough to go and do it again.


At 2 July 2009 at 04:53 , Blogger Kelly said...

You guys should write a book about this! ... with lots of photos! :D


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