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A favourite walk

A favourite walk


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Fri May 27, 2016 2:09 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Scafell Pike

Hewitts included on this walk: Scafell Pike

Date walked: 21/02/2009

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A favourite walk - done it many times but never get tired of it.


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My friend Stuart and I made the usual early start from Seathwaite Farm. Not enough daylight for a photo of Taylorgill Force in its deep ravine. But in the dawn twilight, the few easy scrambling moves above the chasm put us in the mood for what was to come.

By the time we reached Styhead Tarn there was daylight in the sky: we could sense the rays of the sun on the other side of the Scafell range, even if we were still in shadow. Great End in the centre of this photo and Broad Crag on the right.

We could see our route to Scafell Pike ahead of us, on the flanks of Great End. First Skew Gill, the lower part of which appears as the dark slice on the fellside about two-thirds of the way across the photo. Then Cust's Gully, which can be made out a little to the left-hand side of Great End's domed skyline. Both gullies have the distinction of getting whole sections to themselves in Wainwright's Great End chapter of his "Southern Fells".

ImageIMG_4813 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

We climbed a bit higher, and so did the sun.

Here's the view from near the stretcher-box on the top of the pass, looking back down to the tarn with Blencathra in the distance.

ImageIMG_4814 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Skew Gill cuts straight into the side of Great End like a huge trench. It starts as a stony uphill walk and then turns into an easy scramble.

This route from Seathwaite to the summit of Scafell Pike is my very favourite Lakeland hill walk. The scrambling sections of the route are enclosed in deep, dark ravines. But after each one you come back out into the sunlight - and each time you do, the changed, wider view comes as a surprise.

Best of all, it feels like a secret way up the mountain.

Here's the view from the Gill towards Great Gable: the top cairn and maybe even the Westmorland Cairn are just about visible (well, they are on the Flickr image...)

ImageIMG_4818 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Higher up the Gill - skyline of Seatallan, Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Scoat Fell, the teeniest glimpse of Steeple, and Kirkfell.

ImageIMG_4820 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The Gill narrows and then suddenly widens out on a shoulder of the fellside. We could see Sprinkling Tarn below.

ImageIMG_4827 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A short distance up the fellside is the mouth of Cust's Gully, with the famous wedged boulder jammed in the slot.

ImageIMG_4835 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The view back down Borrowdale from the entrance to the gully, with Skiddaw and Blencathra appearing like bookends beyond Derwentwater.

ImageIMG_4831 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Onwards and upwards -

ImageIMG_4837 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Through the tunnel...

ImageIMG_4841 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The upper section of the gully. I like the Wainwright comment "the wedged boulder supports several stones which can only be at temporary rest. Heaven help anyone who is inside Cust's Gully when they fall off. It won't be the author, anyway: he's not going there again."

ImageIMG_4846 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Top of the gully: emerging into the sunshine near the west summit of Great End

ImageIMG_4853 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The scene from the top of Cust's Gully is a contender, I think, for Lakeland's finest hill-top view. I was pleased to get my shadow (or possibly Stuart's) into the shot, and also, in the middle bottom, is the wedged boulder in deep shadow.

The skyline is all Skiddaw Slate: from left to right Wandope, Eel Crag, Sail, Grisedale Pike, Scar Crags, then the Skiddaw group and Blencathra on the far right. Closer at hand on the left are Robinson, Hindscarth, Dale Head and High Spy, then closer still Grey Knotts and then Base Brown, and of course Seathwaite Fell in the foreground and the flanks of Glaramara over to the right.

ImageIMG_4856 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

From Great End we headed towards Scafell Pike, visible here to the right of Ill Crag's prominent top-knot.

ImageIMG_4858 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking across upper Eskdale to the Coniston Fells

ImageIMG_4859 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A wider view down Eskdale, with Bowfell, Wetherlam and the Crinkles to the left.

ImageIMG_4861 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

On Broad Crag, admiring the view across to the Mosedale fells

ImageIMG_4865 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Although it was February, it was warm in the sunshine on the roof of England.

ImageIMG_4872 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Wastwater from the summit, framed by Scafell Crag, Illgill Head and Seatallan and its satellites. Below the crag, Mickledore can be seen catching the sunshine.

ImageIMG_4868 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking from the summit across to Mosedale, with a skyline of Haycock, Red Pike, Scoat fell and Steeple, Black Crag, Pillar, Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag.

ImageIMG_4869 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The Eskdale summit of the Pike from the main summit. Left to right are Brim Fell and the Old Man of Coniston, Dow Crag, the long flat top of Walna Scar above Hard Knott, Caw, Harter Fell and then the sharp little summit of Stickle Pike appearing above the green fields of Eskdale. The sea can be made out in the distance.

ImageIMG_4873 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Another contender for the best Lakeland views from a mountain top - the view north-westwards on our descent from the Pike back towards Broad Crag.

From left to right - Black Crag, then Pillar appearing above Lingmell, High Stile & Co above Kirkfell, then Grasmoor, Great Gable and Grisedale Pike.

ImageIMG_4877 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
Last edited by HalfManHalfTitanium on Fri May 27, 2016 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Wainwrights:103   
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby Beery Hiker » Fri May 27, 2016 4:41 pm

Thanks Tim - another great report
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Fri May 27, 2016 7:53 pm

Beery Hiker wrote:Thanks Tim - another great report


cheers!- hope the weather and the visibility are as good when you do the walk!

Tim
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby trailmasher » Fri May 27, 2016 9:37 pm

Great report and photos :clap: :clap: thanks for sharing :)
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby ChrisW » Sat May 28, 2016 7:18 pm

Great write up HMHT, I can see why this is a favourite, who could tire of such a hike. That wedged boulder in Cust's Gully is reminiscent of one here on a local hike I do quite often....every time I duck under it I get that little chill of what if :shock: ...lovely shots of a great hike :clap: :clap:
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue May 31, 2016 1:21 pm

ChrisW wrote:Great write up HMHT, I can see why this is a favourite, who could tire of such a hike. That wedged boulder in Cust's Gully is reminiscent of one here on a local hike I do quite often....every time I duck under it I get that little chill of what if :shock: ...lovely shots of a great hike :clap: :clap:


Cheers ChrisW, yes it's a great route - and so weird, for England's highest - and very popular - mountain, that in about 10 ascents of this route over the years, I've never seen another person on it! - until after Great End, where the route joins the usual tourist route to the summit.

Yes - that "what if..." feeling - I guess the danger of a place being so unfrequented is the risk of a 127 Hours ordeal... must remember my penknife, next time I go!
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue May 31, 2016 3:17 pm

trailmasher wrote:Great report and photos :clap: :clap: thanks for sharing :)


cheers Trailmasher - thanks!
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby BobMcBob » Tue May 31, 2016 9:33 pm

Cracking photos and what looks like a great route that's a completely new one to me. One for my list :) Thanks.
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:55 pm

Cheers BobMcBob, thanks very much!

Tim
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby dav2930 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:45 pm

Missed this one - great report and pics! These retrospective reports are a good idea I think.

What amazes me is how little snow / ice there was up there for the time of year. The Skew/Cust's combo is also one of my favourite winter routes onto the Scafells. With a good filling of snow, Skew Gill is usually a straightforward snow plod, but last winter when a mate and myself went up it, there was hardly any snow but a thick coating of water-ice which made for quite tricky conditions. We came back another day for Cust's when there was more snow in it and that made for a good climb with some nice neve under the chockstone.

I'm looking forward to next winter already! :lol:
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Re: A favourite walk

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:08 pm

dav2930 wrote:Missed this one - great report and pics! These retrospective reports are a good idea I think.

What amazes me is how little snow / ice there was up there for the time of year. The Skew/Cust's combo is also one of my favourite winter routes onto the Scafells. With a good filling of snow, Skew Gill is usually a straightforward snow plod, but last winter when a mate and myself went up it, there was hardly any snow but a thick coating of water-ice which made for quite tricky conditions. We came back another day for Cust's when there was more snow in it and that made for a good climb with some nice neve under the chockstone.

I'm looking forward to next winter already! :lol:


cheers dav2930 - never tried it in winter conditions but I guess it would be a good grade I with short bits of II. The bit of snow we had on that day in Cust's actually made the one big step up, at the top exit of the gully ,easier because you could stand on top of the pyramid of snow to climb out!

Tim
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