- A Red Cross Scafell Challenge -
Date & Time: Sunday 29th July 2007. 4.30 am start.
Location of Start : Seathwaite Farm, Borrowdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 235 122 )
Places visited : Seathwaite, Stockley Bridge, Grains Gill, Esk Hause, Calf Cove, and return.
Walk details : 7mls, 2,500 ft, 10.5 hrs including one big stop.Highest point : Calf Cove and the col to Great End 2850 ft ( 865m )
Walked with : Ann and our dogs Harry and Bethan, with colleagues Malcolm, Elli, John(1), John(2), and Hilton, Paul Chesh and 33 teams totaling around 120 challengers.
Weather : A very cool north westerly breeze but a fine day, clearing as forecasted.
Seathwaite Farm at 4.30 am
It was early to bed and early to rise for us, fortunately the red sky tonight was predicting a fine morning tomorrow.
A Loweswater sunset over Low Fell on Saturday night.
An early morning start for today as the Red Cross eventers have planned an ascent of Scafell Pike as part of their Three Peaks Challenge this weekend.
They delayed their start here till 5am as suggested in the charity events guide, in order to cause as little disturbance as possible. Our start was half an hour earlier as we quietly collected our radios, list of teams and final instructions, and headed up through Seathwaite Farm ahead of the crowd.
Even now the lights were on in the farm and in the back room of the little cafe. We were not the only ones up at this time.
Stockley Bridge - the morning light was getting brighter now at 4.45 am.
Stockley Bridge taken from upstream.
A slight pink glow to the sky increased as we cross the bridge and head up Grains Gill.
Looking up, the mountain mist was still down on the Great End Crags.
Onward and upward, one of the crew stopped by Ruddy Gill ready to guide people up to Esk Hause, two more stopped at Esk Hause, one to marshall the teams the other to act as radio relay, and Ann and I proceeded up to the top of Calf Cove. Our destination is there at the top of the photo.
There would be three others ahead of us on the route, helping and ensuring the safety of the thirty three teams on the fell today.
Looking back at Esk Hause from Calf Crag.
The radio relay there would be able to talk to all of the marshals and to base at Seathwaite in order to co-ordinate the event.
(The terrain prevented direct communications with base once we rounded the corner)
First light on Harter Fell as we reach the top of Calf Cove.
It looks benign, but there's a stiff, cold, north westerly breeze blowing up here.
First job was to pitch the tent which would act as a shelter for the next six hours.
The first of the teams arrived en-route to the summit just as we finished.
The first teams appeared over the brow and disappeared into the low cloud of Broad Crag,
and in between we had chance to look round and admire the view. This was Lingmell, with Seatallan behind and to the left.
The forecast was for improving weather and a lifting of the cloud base, which it duly did as the morning progressed.
This is a wider shot, with the slopes of Kirk Fell and Great Gable just starting to become visible.
After an early breakfast of coffee and sandwiches, the sun had driven away most of the low cloud.
The distant fells of Coniston and the pointed Dow Crag could be identified, with Harter Fell half way down on the left still catching a little cloud cover.
Summiteers were rewarded, as we were, by a view of the Isle of Man seen here above Sellafield.
Some time later the cloud had risen significantly and Great Gable was now catching fast moving patches of sunshine and shade.
Scoat Fell and Pillar too were enjoying a technicolor morning as the high cloud cast fast moving shadows on the fell sides.
The first teams were on the way back as the later teams were still passing us on the way up.
Each had to be recorded, and each had their own story to tell, be it about this morning's walk, yesterday evening's Ben Nevis ascent in Scotland, or the prospects ahead for their final climb of Snowdon in North Wales later today.
Harry has been studying too many Husky photos, but his homework pays dividends as he curls up into a ball and tries to keep warm.
Poor thing . . . it was a cold day and an early start . . . but he could have used the tent if he had wanted !
Bethan wasn't fussed . . . the longer grass and the wind shadow of the tent meant she could relax as she wished.
" Her Indoors " . . . Ann all dressed up for the cold conditions !
She is holding the check list ready to record the next passing team.
Time passes and eventually all the teams are moving in the same direction - downward - back to Seathwaite.
This team has been blown slightly off course as they round the leaward side of the crag above us, rather than follow the normal route.
One of the final teams crosses Stockley Bridge on the way back.
The weather had improved so much that a family group felt it warm enough for a swim in the mountain pool below the bridge !
Ann walks the last section back to base as I hold back for this last photo.
Hold your cursor over the picture to compare it with the light earlier in the morning.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon Ixus Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . lots of layers of warm clothing.
Previous walk - 26th July 2007 A visit to Force Crag Mines, Coledale
A previous time up here - 24th March 2007 Seven go to Esk Pike in the sun
Next walk - 31st July 2007 Summertime in Loweswater