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" Scafell and Slightside "
Date & start time: Saturday 14th April 2012, 11 am start. ( NY 182 075 )
Location of Start : The National Trust car park, Brackenclose, Wasdale, Cumbria, Uk
Places visited : Groove Gill, Green How, Scafell, Long Green, Slight Side, Maiden Castle
Walk details : 8 mls, 3240 ft of ascent, 7 hrs 30 mins including lunch.
Highest point : Scafell, 3,162ft - 964m
Walked with : Maggie, Neil, Jo, Ann and the dogs, Amber, Harry and Bethan.
[ Unfortunately John was unable to start the walk today ]
Weather : Sunshine and passing clouds, one of which was rather wintery.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
Another brilliant walking day, cool and clear with beautiful sunshine, as we climb to the second highest English summit.
The same forecast as yesterday brought a mid-day wintery shower but it didn't spoil the enjoyment in any way.
Before the days when folk regularly ascended the fells, it was thought that Sca Fell was the highest summit of the group of hills to the right of the Wasdale Valley. It certainly looks it from our approach up the lakeside.
The secondary summits were known as Sca Fell's Pikes and only the use of a metaphorical tape measure has shown one of those Pikes to be higher by some 48 feet. Consequently we will climb the higher-looking, but second highest summit of the southern fells today.
All of that is except John . . . who after a senior moment at a petrol station with his new diesel car
had to have it towed away to put right the unfortunate problem.
So today the summit party is reduced to five as we set off from Brackenclose . . . Neil, Jo, Maggie, Ann and myself.
Wasdale Head is in the middle of an electrical "situation".
The main power cable up the valley has parted somewhere under the lake and so the top end of the valley has been without power since just before Christmas. A Plan B to lay a new underground cable has run into technical difficulties, so four months on everyone is still running on generators.
Leaving the gentle hum of the climbing hut behind, we start the ascent of the Burnmoor Tarn / Boot bridle way
which leads us up above Wasdale Head Hall Farm.
The National Park has re-laid this section of track with a machine made surface since we visited last year.
Sunshine as we climbed but an ominous cloud covers the head of the valley and seems to be heading our way.
Fear not . . . it either went up Wasdale or dissipated before it reached us. Either way we stayed dry.
The delightful double pitched stone bridge over Hollow and Groove Gill.
I think they must join immediately downstream of the crossing.
No sign of a direct route up so we continued on the path till we reached the Peat Houses.
If we didn't turn now then we'd be well on our way to Burnmoor Tarn
so we left the main track and followed the track alongside Groove Gill as it made its way up the fellside.
Looking south west over Burnmoor Tarn to Black Combe.
Zooming in across the edge of 'The Screes' we see Sellafield beyond the crags of Buckbarrow.
Inland, light and shade dapples the Mosedale Horseshoe.
Red Pike in sunshine, Pillar in shade.
The path gradually drifted across, but not quite to the edge of the Crags.
My four companions stop for a breather and a chat . . . I mean for a photo !
For a change . . .
Cameras out as we reach the top.
The majority of the summit is a plateau with a rise and a cairn at one end. We are looking north east here, over to the higher Scafell Pike.
A wider view now as the camera catches the whole plateau.
We defer our visit to the true summit (behind us) in favour of a walk across to Symonds Knott and the dramatic views of the Crags.
Ann and Neil at the head of Deep Gill . . . spot Maggie up ahead with the two dogs.
The 'table rock' has been a lunch spot on previous visits but not today
as the two things the photo doesn't show are the wind speed and the near zero temperature.
Those 48 feet difference in height means a difference of literally thousands in the number of visitors each fell receives.
Here is Scafell Pike summit views from Scafell.
Between the two is the inaccessible (to walkers) Broad Stand and Mickledore and a descent and re-ascent of nearly 500 feet.
A brief moment when no-one stood on the top of the summit cairn !
After the stiff climb up Scafell and our tour of the summit area it was time to enjoy our lunch.
Respite from the cold wind was found around the back of Symonds Knott.
I decided to climb to this secondary summit and found the dogs ahead of me all the way.
Notice the cloud has closed in on Scafell Pike summit.
It then proceeded to close in on us !
Winter is by no means over here on the high fells.
After a few minutes it was clear again and we were on the way to the summit cairn.
Dressed for the fells.
Neil is wearing full windproof / waterproof gear and gloves
but the snow was no problem, so in fact all that was needed was protection from the former (wind) not the latter (water).
I waited a few moments till everyone else had started down from the top to catch a summit photo.
Perhaps I hung about too long . . . where have they all gone ?
Still the way ahead is clear . . . down to Long Green Crag and then on to Slight Side below.
Looking over the edge . . . into what I remember was an extremely keen wind . . I looked down on Foxes Tarn.
The well used (and eroded) path down can be seen. The small Foxes Tarn is made even smaller by the big boulder sitting in it.
The views today were superb in the crystal clear air.
Ann and Jo above the snow line as we descend to Long Green.
Bowfell and Crinkle Crags
as we pass a small party of walkers making their way up.
Long Green is that long green, grassy bit of level ground between here and the next rise.
There was a party of four Scottish walkers just emerging from Green Cove. You can just see the first one crossing the snow.
They were enjoying a big walk, having started their day somewhere near Brotherilkeld in Eskdale.
Burnmoor Tarn from Long Green . . . or at this time of year, long slightly-brown.
Distant but clear views of another tarn and the boathouse at Devoke Water.
Slight Side ahead with Green Crag (Eskdale) ahead.
Beyond it is Dunnerdale and the sea at Duddon Estuary, part of the wider Morecambe Bay.
The central Fells were always the subject of changing weather though we managed to stay in the sunshine for most of the day.
(Note the extra layers and thick winter gloves currently brought into use)
The residual snow cornice leading up to Long Green summit.
Fine views of Scafell looking back.
In fact there were fine views all round . . . so another wide photo was the order of the day.
Wild, remote, quiet, wilderness . . . all words suitable in any description of Upper Eskdale which was spread out far below us.
Zooming in on the valley just downstream of Sampson's Stones.
We swam (or rather took a dip) in that part of the river many summers ago.
In fact it was 2006 [ hold your cursor over the picture to check . . . click the image to view that walk ] - - - ^
Full wrapped up today . . . Ann and I have our camera 'borrowed' for a photo.
Tables turned . . . Amber, Jo and Maggie, two of the three ladies in matching outfits !
Jo in charge of the camera again as we relax on (sprawl across) the summit of Slight Side.
It's time to be off but someone's dozing . . . hold your cursor over the picture to give them a nudge.
- - - o o o - - -
On the way down we kept a look-out for the site of the memorial to two airmen who died in one of many war-time air crashes on the fells.
We nearly missed it because it was much higher up the fell than we thought.
Ann saw a small cross so we climbed back up to view the site.
No further explanation necessary.
The twisted crank shaft and pistons from the one of the engines.
These are the strongest parts of the engine so to be twisted to such an extend brought home the severity of the crash.
Ann descends the grassy slope from the wreck site on the skyline.
The summit of Slight Side is the rocky outcrop to the right.
Maggie contemplates the descent of Broad Tongue.
If your leading Maggie . . . just try and avoid the boggy bits !
Burnmoor glistens in the afternoon sunshine.
One more river to cross . . .
Hardrigg Gill has cut a surprisingly deep little ravine which we were able to cross a little lower down.
The view back from the sheepfold.
Hardrigg Gill is just behind, the delightfully named Oliver Gill beyond,
and Eskdale Fell / Great How form the final backdrop to the photo.
Over the top and down the other side . . . back to the Brackenclose path.
Beautiful evening light as the sun starts to drop lower in the western sky.
The strong sunlight highlights the crags of Great Gable
Our party now back up to strength, we adjourned to Nether Wasdale and The Screes Hotel for a delightful pub meal to end the day.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Fuji Finepix Compact or my Canon G10/1100D camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . dog food in the car so we didn't have to rush home.
Previous walk - 12th April 2012 Blencathra via Roughten Gill
A previous time up here - 3rd August 2006 A classic day on Scafell and Slight Side
Next event - 22nd April 2012 Maryport and the Titanic Exhibition