94. Scafell Pike, 30th April, 2016
I had been planning something a little more ambitious but was a little taken aback to arrive at Wasdale Head to find the hills covered in snow so I settled for Scafell Pike by the usual tourist route. The way is straightfoward enough. You start at the National Trust Car Park and head south a short way to near the mouth of Lingmell Gill which you follow up past the Fell and Rock Climbing Club hut at Brackenclose to a place where there is a meeting of streams. The way lies between these on a well-engineered stepped path up an incipient ridge called Brown Tongue which leads to a big boulder strewn area below Mickledore called Hollow Stones. Here a branch line path heads off towards Mickledore but the tourist route turns left towards Lingmell Col and from there straight up the northwest slopes of Scafell Pike to the summit. It’s a long, arduous ascent but straightforward enough. Today however there was comprehensive snow cover from Hollow Stones up which made for interesting going.
This was not a solitary walk. The snow had not deterred the May Bank Holiday crowds. There were hundreds of them, a much more international crowd than you get on most British hills. I guess as England’s highest it’s something a lot of tourist’s like to tick off. Lots of children. Lots of dogs. So many people made the going a little harder as so much traffic had compacted the snow leaving it treacherously slippery. Of course nobody had crampons. A very confident Frenchman was escorting a very unconfident, extremely nervous girlfriend with rather touching patience and kindness. “Bravo!”, “Magnifique!”, he would salute her every time she inched warily down another short section of slipperiness. But the weather held. Everyone got home safely. A good time was had by all. And the Ratty Arms in Ravenglass made me a nice hearty dinner.
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