24 October 2009

Scafell Pike

First posted on walkhighlands.com.

Scafell Pike from Eskdale or "Is it never fine in the UK?"

or "Being A Tale of the Her who Lost Her Spectacles".*

1 Sep 2009

Our big plan today (walk #5) was to walk from Eskdale (southern side) to Scafell Pike following the Esk River all the way to Esk Hause, and then traversing back south over Scafell Pike, Sca Fell and Slight Side back to the YHA Eskdale. Such was the plan...

The day dawned as clear as it had been in the last ten days, and we set off from the YHA east along the road and then north past Taw House ...


It was at times sunny, but there was a lot of dark cloud around as well as we made our way north up the Esk river valley...


Because of heavy rain the night before, we took the higher route, past Scale Gill waterfall, and thence past some crags already under cloud to meet the River Esk at the bend in its final upper valley (around 218050).


We followed the track on the true right of the River Esk all the way to the top.


Up til now the weather had held off, and we actually sort of had views north towards the Gables, Buttermere, Glaramara and those guys, but as we headed towards Great End, the weather closed in. We decided to skip Great End, and head for Scafell Pike.


The cloud got thicker but we found the cairn with a dozen or so people (we'd seen only two others up til then) eating their lunches and shivering. Here is where Helen unfortunately left her glasses behind. I expect the bad weather that blew in over our lunch distracted us, as we decided to leave fairly quickly. We decided to basically head back down, as the traverse over Sca Fell and Slight Side would have left us exposed to bad weather (and whilst it wasn't snowing, it was bad) for another two hours.

Then the weather got really squally, haily and serious, as we tried to find our way down the only route that didn't have threads of cairns. Compass time, as we couldn't even find features fifty metres away. We stumbled across two cairns on the way but by then didn't care, as we knew we had to bail and - having headed south east enough - just dropped south over Broadcrag Tarn to the valley that becomes How Beck. It's nice when you can see down, even if you can't see in any other direction!


Once the squall had blown over, it was possible to see our way down, and we quickly regained the track that follows the stream.


This dropped us down to the Esk valley, and we made our way back to the YHA, warm showers, dry clothes and a meal cooked by them and washed down with some of their wine.

Oh, and the glasses? A generous fellow - Michael Th - picked them up the same day and posted them to Helen's optician. The optician tracked us down only yesterday, two days after we had bought a replacement pair at their other shop!

*Our second reference to something Jethro Tull-ish on our walks in the UK.

As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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