Sunday, 3 May 2015

A Morning in May on the Scafells and beyond

With a not too good weather forecast seven of us set off from Stonethwaite in the Lake District with a variety of ambitions.  For me it was a fine morning out visiting the summits of Scafell and Scafell Pike, for others amongst us it was considerably more.   Specifically, to visit the summits of the four mountains of Cumbria recognised by Alfred Wainright and with a height of more than three thousand feet.   An early start from Stonethwaite at 0610 and the weather looked promising. Sadly it didn’t stay that way.  A mere fifteen miles for me with 5,500ft of climbing before I headed down for lunch.  Ian Phil and Julian completed the full round of 37 miles and 12,00ft of climbing – hats off to them!  Conditions deteriorated considerably after I headed back to HQ for a hot shower.  Helping Helen with the support we were getting updates of conditions on Hellvellyn and finally Skiddaw, the latter being so bad that our guys could see the ice forming on their gloves and barely able to stand in the driving winds – huge relief and joy to see the headtorches approaching from the roadside in Keswick.  Back to HQ for hot food and drinks – a good weekend with great people.

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Early morning sunshine at Stonethwaite – the last we saw of it!

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Sunshine on Base Brown from Stonethwaite

Weather-wise it was downhill from here as we climbed further towards the Scafells.   The direct approach to Scafell saw us ascending the West Wall Traverse with the gully still holding onto its winter conditions.  Strong winds and driving snow greated us at the top.

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A pause for pics on the West Wall Traverse

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Ian and G on the Traverse with me trying to ignore that yawning abyss over G’s Shoulder

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Ready to head on up to the summit of Scafell

From Scafell down to Foxes Tarn to take the Climber’s Traverse and drop in to Mickledore to gain the summit of the highest peak in England Scafell Pike.  Strong winds and spindrift made it an entertaining dance off the summit to drop down to Esk Hause, Stakes Pass over Greenup Edge and finally Steel End where I took my leave and accepted the lift back to Rosthwaite and HQ to thaw out before heading back up the valley to help with support for those battling on.   A fine mountain weekend was had by all :~)

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Scafell Pike summit by 9.15 – a rare opportunity to be at the summit cairn without the Bank Holiday crowds

Recessed into the cairn near the trig point and not often noticed is this plaque, a memorial to the men of the Lakes who died in WW I. The inscription reads

'In perpetual memory of the men of the Lake District who fell for God and King, for freedom, peace and right in the Great War.
1914 - 1918
This summit of Scafell was given to the nation subject to any commoners rights & placed in custody of the National Trust
by
Charles Henry Baron Legonfield
1919'

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Scafell Pike Summit

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