Thursday 16 March 2017

Guided Fell Walking in The Lake District. Climbing Scafell Pike. March 15th, 2016

Yesterday, Iain drove over to Wasdale to provide a day of guided walking on Scafell Pike - on what would turn out to be the best day of this week!

Debbie (in the green jacket) and Jane had travelled over to the area for a short break in a lovely little cottage near Nether Wasdale. They had decided that they wished to hire a guide to climb Scafell Pike and contacted us.

Photo one shows the pair at a viewpoint next to Wast Water. The lake was like a mirror, it was so calm. It looked like it was going to be a lovely day!

Iain drove the pair to Wasdale Head where we parked up before heading in the direction of Styhead Pass. Rather than going up & down the quick & steep way via Lingmell Gill and Brown Tongue, Iain offered the pair a circular route which would provide them with constantly changing scenery.

Photo two sees Jane and Debbie about half an hour after we had set off from Wasdale Head on their Guided Fell Walk in The Lake District - just as we crossed the footbridge over Gable Beck. Our Objective - Styhead Pass, is the gap in the mountains beyond!

We continued up the bridleway towards Styhead Pass. The cloud was still low over the mountains, but it was starting to lift on the Scafell side of the valley; although it never completely cleared from Great Gable during our Fell Walking Day.
Photo three was taken about an hour & a half later as we continued on our Guide Fell Walking Day in The Lake District. It had taken a little over an hour to reach Styhead Pass where we were assailed by a rather bitter breeze coming up from Wasdale. We had a brief break here for refreshments and a chat with other walkers heading up Scafell Pike and Great Gable and then set off up The Corridor Route - this is where we are in photo three.

The "Corridor Route" is one of the classic ways up or down England's highest mountain. It is particularly useful if the weather is inclement as it is generally, the most sheltered route on the mountain.

The Corridor Route starts near to Styhead Pass. Many people choose to walk 500 metres SE on the route to Sprinkling Tarn/Esk Hause first before turning west. However, for those in "the know" there is a more direct route straight to the path, joining, near to where it crosses Skew Gill.

After a short descent across Spout Head; and across the foot of Skew Gill (an impressive looking ravine), the path rises in a series of steps and traverses all to way to Lingmell Col. Here, one meets the junction with the path coming up from Brown Tongue/Lingmell Gill and the continuation up the northern flank to the summit.

Along the Corridor Route, there is an interesting descent down a groove and rocky slabs (photo four) as one enters the hanging valley from where Greta Gill emerges. As Scafell Pike hadn't emerged from the cloud by this time; and Iain predicted that we wouldn't want to "hang around" at the summit, we enjoyed lunch here, before continuing on to Lingmell Col.

Above the junction between The Corridor Route and the Brown Tongue path, the way on is very rocky. In fact the top 200 metres of Scafell Pike is just a gigantic rubble slope.

We were now in the cloud and back in the cold breeze, both Jane and Debbie found the final part of the ascent quite tough, but we completed this part of our Guided Fell Walk in The Lake District in about 45 minutes.

Photo Five sees the pair both relieved and exhilarated at their success in reaching the summit of England's highest mountain.

It was quite surprising how many people were up there when we arrived given the weather. Mind you - it was just cold, not wet! Shortly after we reached the summit, a couple of fell-runners arrived having run the 11.2 miles all the way from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Langdale via Esk Hause accompanied by the wee dog in the red jacket; and they intended to turn about and retrace their steps! Rather them than us!

Whilst the final 200 metres of our ascent and descent of Scafell pike was the chilliest part of the pair's guided Fell Walking Day in The Lake District, the lack of real winter conditions were in evidence on this - England's highest mountain!

Snow patches were visible on the upper north west slope above Piers Gill on the walk in, but it wasn't until were were within 200 metres walking distance from the summit did we actually happen across any snow at all. Iain made a point of taking a photo of Debbie & Jane next to this patch on our descent.

The Lake District has to have seen it's mildest winter ever this year. OK - we were out of the country for eight weeks of it, but even so, we have seen very little snow in the mountains this winter when we've been around! This is in stark contrast to Iain's childhood when the upper part of Scafell Pike would have been encased in snow and ice until probably well in to May. Global warming is happening apace; and it's very worrying for those of us who love winter.

And down in the valleys here, it really feels like Spring has started.

Many of the roadside Daffodils are in full bloom already, quite a lot of Hawthorn has fully sprouted and the birds are singing their heads off. Spring in The Lake District is always a wondrous time, but this year it is early - much to early!

We set off down from the top of Scafell Pike and just below the junction with The Corridor Route path, found ourselves out of the cloud where it was noticeably warmer. By the time we reached Hollow Stones - the piles of moraine just above Brown Tongue, there was no wind at all.

The cloud was finally clearing from both Scafell Pike and Scafell and the view down Lingmell Gill out west over Wast Water to the distant Irish Sea was just stunning. In photo nine we are just leaving Lingmell Gill to head over the shoulder of Lingmell down to Wasdale Head. Behind the pair, the way above leads to Brown Tongue and Scafell Pike in the background.

Iain added this "end of the day photo" so that you can see the contrast between the weather at the end of the day and at the start. This is the classic Wast Water photo with, (from left to right) Yewbarrow, partially in shadow, Great Gable, still wearing a slight cloud cap, Lingmell leading up right to Scafell Pike and Scafell and the bulk of Wastwater Screes dropping in to the lake.

Just beautiful!

Debbie and Jane thoroughly enjoyed their guided Fell Walk with Iain and paid just £80 each for their day out with a knowledgeable and experienced Mountaineering Instructor. They thought it was worth every penny!

Want to enjoy a Guided Fell Walk in The Lake District with us? Then contact Iain here. The more people in your party, the less it will cost you; and you can be assured of a great day out!

We look forward to working with you.

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