A day after we scrambled Striding Edge and Helvellyn we still fancy a challenge so we decide to tackle Scafell Pike before we head home. The weather is nothing but blue sky and sunshine which is as rare as rocking horse poop in the Lake District (well those lakes have to come from somewhere don’t they!)
The other reasons for heading to Scafell are that Andy has already bagged Snowdon and Ben Nevis, it makes sense that he should go for a hat trick and hit Scafell. My reasoning is that the last time I was on Scafell though I did hit the summit, there was 50 mph + wind mountain bending trees at the foot of the mountain before we even set off. This still didn’t stop me and my mates Rob and Bukey giving it a shot though. Sounds dangerous but if you consider how easy the route is from Wasdale head for a set of fairly experienced mountain walkers with survival gear, it wasn’t as risky as it sounds. Scary for sure and super wet but otherwise pretty straight forward if planned properly and with the right gear. The main downside being we couldn’t see more than ten metres in front for the entire trip.
We drive along the shores of the awesome Wastwater as we head towards Scafell. Mountains flank all sides making us feel as if we are driving along in a scalectrix car. The three mile long and half mile across expanse of Wastwater is the deepest lake in the Lake District at 260ft deep and for that reason is a popular with divers. It must be pretty boring down there though as apparently the bottom is home for underwater garden gnome gardens. Some even reportedly have picket fences! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/4263761.stm
The lake is surrounded by the mountains and the landscape here with the vast screes looming over the south east of the lake make you feel truly insignificant. Taking into consideration the unforgiving nature and awesome landscape of the lakes and the isolation you feel in this particular area it’s hardly surprising that the area has plenty of myths and legends. In fact Wasdale Head has it’s own ghost horse carrying a coffin that bolts past travellers in the night! But for some reason this just makes me want to go night hiking around here more…
We don’t have a lot of time so we quickly prepare in the car park and head over the bridges and take the Wasdale Head route again. We soon pass the gaggle of charity hikers, ramblers and three peak challengers as we head up the path, stopping briefly to snap a cool photo under the trees and down across Wastwater.
A good deal of the hikers seem to be struggling and as we pass them we gain the sound of the sort of heavy breathing at our backs that wouldn’t be out of place in a dodgy late night phonecall. Any time I start feeling out of breath I think back to when a big group of us hiked up Ben Nevis with 20kg packs on for charity. Nothing has hurt that much since, in fact in comparison this is like a nice stroll in the park. But if you don’t do this a lot you will be feeling it!
It’s easy to navigate to the summit especially in good weather as the route is well trodden and up to just before the summit its mainly pathed. If you don’t do this a lot however bear in mind this is still a mountain, it’s still easy to die up here especially if the fogs down or you don’t use the path and you slip……
We reach the summit in just an hour and a half and the view from the top is either breathtaking or I’m just struggling to breathe from burning it up here. The view is excellent and unforgettable, you can see for miles. Though part of me wonders if we could have scrambled up the side…..maybe next time….