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Great Moss Wild Camp

Great Moss Wild Camp


Postby pic4186 » Sun May 30, 2010 4:17 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Scafell, Slight Side

Hewitts included on this walk: Scafell

Date walked: 20/05/2010

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This report isn't so much a walk-report - rather an account of a wild camping experience. I hope the photos below and accompanying account are of sufficient interest to make up for the small amount of space dedicated to the walking.

My son and I based our 3 day expedition around Great Moss in the Lake District. Our main hill objective for the outing was Scafell - other than this the aim was simply to live away from civilisation for a few days. I'm pleased to say we achieved both.

Our first day was warm and still - but cloudy such that all of the peaks were obscured during our walk-in. As we arrived in Great Moss at around 1,200 feet the cloud base was more or less at head height. We pitched, cooked and ate dinner, and packed all of our gear in the tent. As the light of the day started to fade the cloud cover started to break - revealing some of the peaks around (remember Great Moss is surrounded by the Scafells, Bowfell, Esk Pike, the Crinkles et al). My son retrieved his camera from the tent, just in case there were one or two worthwhile shots.

At this time we simply couldn't have anticipated the stunning light-show we were about to witness - as the clouds successively cleared and gathered, and the sun slowly faded to gave way to bright moonlight. I think the following sequence of photographs is a nice illustration of the experience - and I've accompanied it with the journal notes I wrote at the time. I hope you like them.

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Thursday 9.50pm. Still a little light left. The clag around us has cleared, and collected on the plain below. We can see clearly up to Esk Hause and the Scafells - and beneath our feet a sea of soupy cloud.

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Quite an eerie display now the light is going. The way cloud clings to rock faces in long bands, or small break-away clusters, or swims around the valley looking for something to hold onto. Left is clear - right is mist - now the basin of Great Moss is almost completely full up with fog. I can barely see the river Esk through the murk.

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The mist now looks to be forming a neat queue as it moves down the valley. The feed of fog from Esk Hause has stopped - maybe it will clear altogether when this train has passed through?

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A bank of cloud is heading at us from our left - like a wave rolling in - just at our eye level.

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On Friday morning the cloud quickly burned off as we ate breakfast and packed up. Our expedition for the day was to climb Scafell via Cam Spout and Foxes Tarn. It was a hard but satisfying day - unseasonably high temperatures, complete absence of breeze, heavy packs, and steep ascents all contributed to the difficulty of the climb - but as always it was worth it. There was a real sense of achievement as we attained the summit ridge, and we spent some time on and around Scafell summit (including a short excursion to Symonds Knott - without rucksacks!) - taking in the sense of height and the peacefulness of the scene, that seemed in direct contrast to the congestion on nearby Scafell Pike. We could see people queuing to summit from our vantage point on Scafell.

The Cam Spout route up to Scafell is best described as steep - and involves a long walk-in if you don't camp the night before. The initial uphill past the waterfall gets the walk off to a typical start - and there as some sections where you feel like you need to keep moving in order to avoid slipping backwards. The incline eases a little then and whilst still hard work this is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the walk. The east faces of Scafell and Scafell Pike come clearly into view, and Mickledore at the centre of the scene acts as the key navigation point.

Then, just as Mickledore seems to be but a few footsteps away we jagged left onto the "path" up to Foxes Tarn. This may be the "easy" way up Scafell, but it is still a hands and feet clamber up an extended chute. I must say this was enjoyable despite the effort - and additional manouvering difficulty caused by the large bags. Foxes Tarn is a good spot for a break before the final scree slope to the top. There was in fact a little snow here.

The walk up the scree is just a bit of a grind - it doesn't take very long but it's uncomfortable and strength sapping work. The good thing is there are no surprises - you can see the top of the slope - and when you're there you're there - no false summits. Symonds Knott is right ahead - and Scafell summit a couple of hundred yards to the left. Fittingly - there is a short clamber across rocks to get to the simple summit marker.
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pic4186
 
Posts: 20
Munros:2   
Hewitts:41
Wainwrights:52   
Joined: Apr 29, 2009
Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire

Re: Great Moss Wild Camp

Postby mountain coward » Sun May 30, 2010 5:03 pm

That's great - you had some wonderful conditions the night before didn't you :D

The only little point I'd make is that it would be better to refer to your route as the 'Foxes Tarn' route (which does go up the side of Cam Spout anyway - the actual Cam Spout route goes up a ridge along the edge of Cam Spout crags not long after the waterfall and then joins the 'Long Green' ridge up to Scafell (keep meaning to try that one)...
mountain coward
 

Re: Great Moss Wild Camp

Postby pic4186 » Mon May 31, 2010 10:17 am

Thanks MC - I just spotted the oversight myself :?
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pic4186
 
Posts: 20
Munros:2   
Hewitts:41
Wainwrights:52   
Joined: Apr 29, 2009
Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire

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