The whole 12.3km route with 925 mtrs of ascent and descent.
Day 2 of the challenge soon arrived! The climb up Scafell Pike!
The weather was predicted to be poor in the morning, but then clear by the afternoon. However, our tight schedule meant that we had to attempt the climb in the morning.
Unlike Ben Nevis, there isn’t a singular track to follow. As a result we would have to do some real navigation – which is where I came in!
For the walk I had carried a map, compass and GPS. All three were used on various occasions to get us both to the peak and safely back down off it.
I felt particularly proud, as we had not only got down safely, but had also helped two additional people that were stuck on the peak when we got there. I guess the poor visibility and atrocious weather had caught them out.
There was one point of the trip where we did run into a lone walker who was swearing blind that we were going the wrong way. This had made the team a little edgy as it was very foggy at the time.
He was so insistent that he had almost managed to convince me too! – but don’t tell anyone this! 😉
That is, right up until the point that I showed him the compass bearing we were on and our precise position on the map from coordinates extracted directly from the GPS that I was carrying. At that point he seemed to accept things.
I’m sure that he was trying to do the right thing, but I don’t think he should have been handing out directions if he didn’t know where he was or where we were going! I did find out from one of our team members later on that he had become separated from his own team in the fog. I’m surprised that he didn’t come down with us off of the mountain.
Many of the team had commented to me afterward how disorientating the fog had been, even though some of them had done this route before. I told them that this was normal and that without the right kit it is very easy to get locationally challenged.
In fact when I’m out on a solo walk in the fog, I check my compass every 5 minutes or so. This might seem a bit excessive but it has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. I guess that I just have poor spatial awareness! 🙂
Anyways, I’ll let the pictures do the talking!
The first part of the walk involved crossing some fields to take us across the Lingmell Beck. My camera had taken a hit from the poor weather of the previous day and was showing some lens fogging.
To our right and up ahead I can see the valley that we are going to have to proceed through to get to the mountain top.
The weather isn’t too bad… So far…. For this walk I elect to brief the leaders as what to look out for whilst I stay to the rear to keep an eye on the back markers.
The route on the way up isn’t too bad. Up ahead is our advanced party taking a rest! We will soon be meeting up with them!
We reach the lead part of the team. Navigation wise there isn’t much to do at the moment as it is a simple case of follow-the-trail. This should handrail Lingmell Gill, then take us across it, ready for the main ascent. I was a little worried about the crossing as the map wasn’t showing a bridge…
I look back down the hill toward the rest of the team. I elect to hang around until everyone has caught up.
We soon start to gain some perceptible elevation which results in some pretty decent views.
To the South West is Wast Water – the deepest body of water in the Lake District!
The track is starting to steepen and get rougher…
However, as the track turns to follow Lingmell Gill, it actually flattens out a little to give us all a little respite from the climb.
Here is the crossing for Lingmell Gill. The map was right! There is no bridge here!
Here we have now all crossed Lingmell Gill and are getting ready for the next part of the climb. I brief the leaders that they will come across a fork and that we need to stay right.
On with the climb! Up ahead I can see the ominous cloud layer that we are going to have to walk through.
Another quick rest stop before we start going through the cloud layer. After that point visibility would become very poor.
Everyone has now put on their water-proofs as the rain has started to fall!
A last look down toward Wast Water before we pierce the cloud layer.
Visibility has now closed down, it’s raining and to top it off the winds have picked up. It’s amazing how quickly the character of a walk can change!
We get to a rest stop by some rocks and try and shelter from the wind and rain. I brief the leaders that at the next fork they need to stay left and I take a compass bearing to show them the direction they need to head out on. The terrain on this part of the mountain is quite treacherous. The rocks are too small to remain static and tend to slip around as one puts weight on them. This makes the ascent at this point very tiring. The nearest analogy I can think of is imagine walking up a steep shingle beach!
The climb gets a lot more steeper and difficult. The weather ensures that things are harder than they should have been!
Finally we get to a short scramble which will take us up onto the ridge line that will ultimately take us to the top of Scafell pike. For some members of the party this is the first bit of scrambling they had done and from all accounts they thoroughly enjoyed it!
We all get to the top and take a short rest. I tell everyone that the rest of the climb is easy, we had done the hard part, all we would be facing would be boulders! I’m not sure that many believed me as I had been saying this for a while 😉
The final ascent up to the peak of Scafell Pike has started!
The top is nearly in reach!
We made it – The top of Scafell Pike! 😀 The photo was taken by two New Zealanders that our group had picked up. They seemed a little ill prepared and they were not sure how to get off the mountain. In the end they tagged along with us for the descent!
The descent has now started on a compass bearing. I was initially going on a parallel route until one of the team spotted this trail! 🙂 We had decided to take this different route down due to the treacherous terrain on the way up. The visibility was now very poor – only around 5-10 mtrs.
We descend down the steep North East Side of Scafell Pike. I brief the leaders that they should hit a T-Junction and that they will need to hang a left there. This wasn’t a problem. The big problem came about when in the very poor visibility the leader reported that the track had ended…
Here we had run into two issues. Firstly the team lead reported that the track had run out, which is a big thing in low visibility conditions. The other issue we had was that he had moved off to the right (see the arrow) to talk to a lone walker who was convinced that we were going the wrong way. This was the last thing I needed, as it can put a team on edge. When I heard about the predicament, I headed down to the front to confront the walker. I checked my compass which showed that we were indeed headed the right way. The other chap still wasn’t having it though. In the end I had to extract our map coords from the GPS to show him exactly where we were on the map and where we were going. This eventually seemed to satisfy him and the rest of our team. So we continued on our merry way!
By following a compass bearing we soon get back on track! But we now have a decision to make with regard to our chosen route off of the mountain.
The decision that I presented to the team was a two way choice: The long way back (in blue) or the short way (the ‘Alt Route’). In the end it was decided not to take the ‘Alt Route’ as it would ultimately take us down the same way that we had climbed. I didn’t really mind which way the team decided to go. My only real concern was to make sure we didn’t end up going down the ‘No Go!’ route marked on the map. The next picture will show you why!
This is a photo from the ‘No Go!’ route. It was taken on my first Lake District walk in 2012. I had climbed down this but didn’t think that it would be suitable for our party. As a result I was especially keen that we didn’t end up accidentally going this way!
Back to the walk! In the end we all opt to take the longer but more scenic route. This route takes us down the famous ‘Corridor Route’ track.
As we near the end of the corridor we start to get great views down the Lingmell Beck valley.
We soon run into another scramble to climb! This particular one had a little bit of elevation exposure, a first for many of the team. So well done to everyone for managing to get up it!
After the scramble, the walk was relatively easy on a well marked track.
Another view down the Lingmell Beck valley. This is similar to the view I saw on day 2 of my first Lake District walk.
To the Southwest I spot an easier route downwards that won’t involve any further climbing. However, to get there we will have to go cross country. I explain the routing option to the team and they decide to go with it. So I decide to lead the way across country!
This is a look back toward the team as I head cross country down our shortcut!
Once at the other end, we locate a track and then proceed down it. It is now a track all the way back to the bus, so once again I move back to the rear as a back marker.
One last quick rest before the final walk to the bus.
The weather has cleared as predicted, which makes for a very pleasant walk. We knew the weather would be bad in the morning, but given that we had to travel to Wales after this climb, we decided to climb early, even if the weather wouldn’t be optimal.
I *think* this is a photo up toward Lingmell itself. The whole valley is full of grandiose sights!
We are now headed directly toward the car park. Up ahead we can see Wast Water again!
The car-park! Woot!!! In the far distance is our white bus – we would soon have a long journey to Wales for the final climb of the challenge.
But before we go, practically everyone visits the toilets before the long drive to Wales!
This was a most enjoyable day – far more enjoyable than the long hard slog up Ben Nevis the previous day. The views along with the combination of scrambling, cross country and trail walking all conspired to make it a better experience.
After the walk we all piled into the bus for the long drive to Wales for the final climb of the challenge – the climb up Mount Snowdon!
Tune in for the next instalment later on this week to find out how we fared!