Sun 19th July 2015
Scafell Pike 978m above sea level (3209ft) was first ascended by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and….
ascended by a Shepherd’s Walk group on 18th July 2015.
The geography, or more accurately the geology, of Scafell being the highest mountain in England means that it is part of a huge massif. For those who seek to climb it, this means that a long day out is needed because it is remote and involves a long walk in and a long walk out.
The starting point for today’s walk was Seathwaite and the start is a gentle stroll along the valley of the River Derwent to Stockley Bridge. Here a crossing of the river, which is now Grains Gill, a source of the Derwent, allows access to Sty Head Tarn which is nestled on a bowl surrounded by Great Gable, Great End and Seathwaite Fell.
The weather was not great for this day out but it was also not going to prevent an attempt on Scafell Pike by the Corridor Route which is the most direct route to the summit from Sty Head. This route cuts across some dramatic gullies which provide a sporting character to the route. The first of these comes shortly after leaving the tarn and involves a scramble down to the gully floor and up the other side to a well trodden path that winds its way across and up the hillside.
The scenery in this part of the Lakes is dramatic, awesome and inspiring and it certainly provides a distraction from the long slog. Another distraction is the second gully crossing which is a bit more challenging because it means scrambling down a 15m rock wall which is made more entertaining because of the views of the valley below. The group tackled this calmly and steadily and for some it will remain a stand out part of the whole day!
It is comforting to reach the path again and what remains is a long slog to the summit. On this day the summit was covered in mist which obscured the fantastic views over the whole of the Lake District, out to the Isle of Man and into Scotland!! You will have to take it on trust and return…
So our objective had been achieved. Or at least half of it had been as we now needed to descend and get back safely. The descent took us over the ridge of Ill Crag and Broad Crag and a descent over very rocky ground to Esk Hause. This is a meeting point of several paths and is exposed to the elements. So it was no real surprise that at the time we arrived a vicious wind and rain storm blew in. So we simply turned our backs to it and headed to Sprinkling Tarn and then made our way down to Sty Head Tarn and then retraced our steps back to Seathwaite in typical Lake District summer rain.
The joys of the mountains.
On a personal note thank you to each and everyone of the group who were well prepared , well equipped and who had the determination to make this a truly great day out. I also have to, especially, thank Julie (and Martin) for tremendous support.
The route covered 11.3 miles, 1468m of ascent and took 5 hours 40 minutes with an extra hour or so for stoppages.
Best wishes to all.