Wainwrights: Great End, Lingmell, Scafell, Scafell Pike
Hewitts: Broad Crag, Great End, Ill Crag, Lingmell, Scafell, Scafell Pike
Date walked: 15/04/2014
Time taken: 10 hours
SCAFELL PIKE CORRIDOR ROUTE
First walk report here, so hope its ok and informative and I'm open to any questions anyone may have. Hope the pics I've chosen add a little something to the proceedings too.
I had fancied an Epic on the hills for a few weeks, rather than fidgeting around trying to Wainwright-Bag, so I planned out a few possible Epics which would hopefully make for a fantastic day.
So, it was decided it was time to tackle Scafell Pike for the third time, but this time not from the bog-standard (and boring) Wasdale Route, but by the Corridor Route. We had decided that we would start from Seatoller, go up via Styhead Tarn and onto the CR and then visit Lingmell, Scafell (via Foxes Tarn), and then back over to Scafell Pike. Then onto Broad Crag, Ill Crag, and over to Great End and descend via The Band, visiting Sprinkling Tarn (my 'Favourite Tarn In The Lakes'), before making the final push back down Grains Gill and home.
Our group for the day was myself and Gerry (fellow WH member), who generally plot off the routes and decide where we go. Two of our closest friends joining us today were DannyP and Thomas. Both good lads with a good mountain respect and a love of the hills themselves. Also joining us was CocoRatWeasel – an excuse for a dog but really just a pink rat on a lead. The only good thing about Dannys dog is the fact that it winds up Gerry so much. But anyway – more about Coco later...
Gerry, DannyP and I had summitted Scafell Pike first last April, in semi-winter conditions. For Thomas it was to be his first visit to Englands highest peak, but being a seasoned Munro walker there would be no issues from him. Dissenting voices were heard from Danny about the length of the day, but the brains behind the operation (MOI) declared it could be done. I ruled out my original plan of adding Great Gable and Green Gable, and Base Brown to the party – but I still feel with hindsight this could have been done. But anyway! Off we set.
The weather was fantastic, and we had truly picked a great day to tackle what turned out to be an Epic, as desired! After breakfast at The Rooster in Penrith (our usual meeting point due to half the party being in Manchester and the other in Glasgow), we headed into Keswick and down through Borrowdale Valley to Seatoller. We set off late in the morning, but made decent progress to Stockley Bridge, home of one of our groups funniest moments of 2013 where fellow WH member, 'Gerrydelaney' fell into Grains Gill after a 'photo opportunity' went wrong. On that occasion, UNFORTUNATELY, only Gerry and I were there
– So needless to say there was some degree of homage paid to that great moment by our group today, before heading off up to Greenhow Knott and around to Styhead Tarn.
Now, we all like a nice cup of tea so we decided that sitting here, with Spout Head and The Band of Great End in the background, would be a perfect first stop. Shortly after, we headed to the Stretcher Box and had the usual photos for posterity. I'd post them all but theres a 25 pic limit on?
Now, as usual, certain members of the group wandered off and headed off towards the ford at the top of Spouthead Gill. Me and G walked off towards the correct route for today, and were presented with another 'photo opportunity' whilst waiting for the others to realise their mistake and head back to us. Alas, no repeat of the comedy from the infamous Stockley Bridge and we were reunited and headed up to Skew Gill. Within minutes – literally – we had headed the wrong way and found ourselves a good 50 metres below the path! How this happened, I have no idea. This is what happens when DannyP is leading the way... He being one of those who wandered off to Spouthead... A telling indictment! As usual, he blamed Coco. Like she can read a map...
By now, I should be telling you, dear reader, that Coco is viewed as something of a conduit... Dannys thoughts imposed on the dog and then 'interpreted' by young Daniel himself...
So we resumed the path and headed along the route. And what a route. Some little bits of exposure, rocky sections, and an all round 1.5k or so meander along the path towards Piers Gill.
Now, I will add as an aside, I am scared of heights. Terrified. I'm not talking about sobbing and dropping to my knees, unable to move, cragfast type... It hits me slightly differently... I get irritable, snappy and sometimes just plain nasty. Shouting at my pals, perma-frown, generally being a foul-tempered Jack Russell on a bad day. Its called 'TheFear'... They, like me, can recognise the signs, and thankfully just entertain me whilst I'm like that. I'm lucky they put up with it, and very thankful they do. I'm trying to get better and hopefully I am, but its always a consideration when it comes to anything with exposure or that 'je ne sais quoi' which causes an outburst. On prepping for the Corridor Route, I had seen a scary looking pic of the section near the 'Bad Step' which involves a downclimb onto slightly exposed drop down into a gill. This is the first of two sections that I was worried about (more on the climb up to Scafell later), and I can say it was fine and no issues from me. My brand new backpack that I was 'field-testing' today (Osprey Raptor 14 if you're interested!), more than helped me as it is very slimline and different from my usual Talon 33 in that it didnt feel as if it was restricting my movement or making me off balance. Either way, its not a problem at all and was done in seconds.
We approached Lingmell Crags and the top of Piers Gill, definitely a sight and worth taking this alternative route to see. After a brief photo session at the top of the Gill we began to see the sight ahead - the mulititudes of people heading up the Scafell Pike Wasdale Route. Unfortunately, and being a bit of a snob here, we knew we would need to join this expressway shortly and so we decided that a lunch spot would be Lingmell, so headed north and onto Lingmell. This afforded great views of not only Scafell Pike and its impression of a typical high street on the Boxing Day sales,but also our target after, Scafell. To say I was a bit intimidated by what I could see from Scafells hulk of a North Face is probably fair. The crags are amazing to see, and foreboding to someone with my affliction - But anyway, thats an hour or so away I reasoned!
After a spot of lunch on the relatively quiet Lingmell, three of us headed off to the edge of Lingmell Crag for a pic with the large cairn and Great Gable in the backdrop (leaving my bag and phone with G, hence it not showing on my GPS plot). After a few pics – the usual full on photo session – we headed back and started our climb to Scafell Pike.
Again, at the risk of causing offence, this Is where the day went a bit odd.
Up until here, everyone we had seen had decent kit and were prepared for mountain conditions, even though it was a good day. The amount of people with trainers, jeans, no map, no rucksack etc, increased by infinity. Now, I DO have a problem with this as I am personally fed up with the amount of irresponsible (and in my view, sometimes selfish) people, who get rescued off simple routes like the Scafell Pike Wasdale route by the volunteers of the Mountain Rescue Teams. Any day you read websites like WH or Grough you see similar stories. So yeah, its a bee in my bonnet but enough about that. My full support to the MRT by the way, and to everyone else, who offer to help those that go up ill-prepared or seriously lacking respect for what can be very extreme places.
http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2013/0 ... our-rescue
http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2014/0 ... earch-fell
http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2014/0 ... nmoor-tarn
Mountains are for everyone – I agree. But I also agree with the adage that mountains are MOUNTAINS. And they deserve and command respect. I took this hobby up a year ago and on the 'test run' (Arrochars 'The Cobbler' on a sunny day), I bought walking boots, a suitable rucksack (since replaced for a better one!), a map, and proper clothing. So I dont want to sound like a hypocrite or a snob, but some people should realise what a challenge mountains of this ilk pose and prepare for that rather than treat the mountains, the MRT and fellow walkers with complete disrespect by heading up apathetically. A case in point Anyway...!
After the procession up to Scafell Pike we were quickly angling off towards Mickledore, to dismaying faces of those stood at the summit! “Where on earth are they going!?!” it appeared to some people. Ahhhh, Mickledore. Dannys favourite place (he likes the name). Anyway, off to Mickeldore, where again photos were in abundance.
The usual bickering about photos being taken too close to the edge, but thankfully all in good humour as I'm glad to say we all have a healthy respect for the mountains and dont put ourselves into silly positions.
So back down to the Stretcher Box. I managed to catch a converastion with a lovely couple who clearly had been up Foxes Tarn on a previous occasion. I chatted to them (hillwalking is such a social hobby!), and they assured me that I would be ok with that route as they had recently done it, and that they were heading up Lords Rake this time. I knew that wasnt for me (#wimp) and wished them well and now full of confidence from their pep-talk, I felt I could do the Foxes Tarn Gully.
So we began the descent down to the ford to the foot of the gully which leads in turn to Foxes Tarn. Another worry of mine was how I would cope with what seemed a very steep descent down, but it was actually fine, steep but fine.
Then I was as already mentioned concerned about how difficult it would be to actually get up to Scafell – and if it was going to create any issues for a guy of my unstable mental state around heights...
No such issues. Foxes Tarn Gully was great fun and I would've liked it to be longer! On emerging at Foxes Tarn...
...a pic or two and then onto the steep and far less pleasurable scree slope up towards Symonds Knott. By now, Coco was in DannyP's arms. This is par for the course due to Coco 'getting a bit tired'. Despite DannyP's best efforts, hand feeding her Tesco Finest Crumbed Ham and putting a silver water bowl out with Brita filtered water, Coco was clearly in need of a rest, so in the loving embrace of DannyP she went... Back to the scree path, this was a bit of a pain, no issues with TheFear but a lot with constantly slipping on scree. As we emerged to the summit, I saw Mr and Mrs from the Stretcher Box – tales of the ways up were exchanged, as were congratulations for respective challenges completed! A lovely pair, who took some photos and headed off to Slight Side.
A few pics on Scafell and enjoying the peace and scenery (a total of 8 people and one awful dog - Coco), before beginning our way down towards the climb back to Mickledore.
A couple of our party struggled with the climb back up to Mickledore. It can be quite tough going due to the loose scree up a lot of the path. On reaching the Stretcher Box, a quick rest and then back onto Scafell Pike to take a few pics on the Trig Point of a now almost deserted summit! By now, due to boulders, Coco was permanent placement inside Dannys bag! She loves it though, so please no reports to the RSPCA!
After this, we headed over onto Broad Crag via Broad Crag col, a quick scramble onto Broad Crag and then back to the path and over onto Ill Crag. Two great little summits on their own merits (and Hewitts aswell so well worth it for any summit-baggers or just for the views). Defo worth doing the pair, great views and only a minor detour.
By now, we were all tiring and due to the sun and heat of the day, had basically all run out of water (apart from Coco who has a special stash of Brita-filtered water which gets put in the bowl, and then thrown away, because instead she prefers to lick out of a puddle). But no, we need to keep the emergency supply of Cocos water, just incase theres no more puddles! But its ok for the rest of us to dehydrate to keep that nice water for Coco (the puddle-preferer!)
Of note, the view extending to Great Gable from the col between Broad Crag and Scafell Pike, to me, is one of the finest photos in the Lakes. You get that open, vast, sweeping area encompassing something the size of Great Gable, yet still looking minuscule and with the slopes extending up either side of you from your viewpoint. A favourite of mine. Recommended...
So anyway, on hitting Great End, enthisiasm was waning. The long day was taking its toll (and Coco was getting 'one of her headaches')... The plan took an early-end detour when we saw that the easier way down for what were now very tired legs, was to go down towards Esk Hause and then straight to Grains Gill. Even from there it was another hour before we were back at the car. However, the backdrop of a slowly disappearing Great End fascinated me on the way down, it was so imposing to watch as I descended down Grains Gill that I could barely keep my eyes off it.
Then off to the Scafell pub in Rosthwaite, in Gerrys search for his 'New Favourite Pub In The Lakes' (NFPITL). Alas, despite us all liking it, it still hasnt wrestled the title of NFPITL from The Pheasant in Keswick, with a close second being The Queens Head in Askham! Oh, The Search for the NFPITL holds almost as much mystique as the mountains themselves!
The only dampener was the flocks of people fawning over that awful Coco! Four guys had made it 25 k each, and yet the plaudits went to the dog in the bag! Ha!
But what a day it had been. 3 of Englands 5 highest in one fell swoop for Thomas. New Wainwrights for us all. And an Epic day out to satisfy my masochism!
A definite 5/5 day.
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- Activity: Munro compleatist
- Pub: Tennetts on a hill !
- Place: The Cobbler in Argyll
- Gear: Osprey Talon 33
- Ideal day out: A bit of a scramble with some great views and nothing too scary. Striding Edge and Halls-Fell Ridge in The Lakes are about my limit I'm afraid!
- Ambition: Everest Base Camp
- Munros: 8
- Corbetts: 2
- Grahams: 1
- Wainwrights: 156
- Hewitts: 87
- Filter reports
- Trips: 1
- Distance: 24.08 km
- Ascent: 1619m
- Hewitts: 6
- Wainwrights 4
- Joined: Mar 19, 2013
- Last visited: Aug 27, 2020
- Total posts: 17 | Search posts