Wasdale Head - Easter 2018
Thursday 29 March
|Scafell Pike Ascent Summit Descent Evening Features Read Me|
Thursday, 29th March, turned out to be a nice day. The Weather Gods have not been known to take account of social considerations, and could turn aggressive on subsequent days. The other four of our early birds decided to go up the Black Sail Pass to Kirk Fell, probably in the knowledge that they had been up Scafell Pike before. However, I wanted to make sure that, having ascended Scotland's and Wales's highest mountains, I should also pay my respect to England's contribution to the league of the UK's highest peaks. The weather, as mentioned, might not be so favourable on subsequent days. It was a case of "CARPE DIEM".
Thus it was that I went up Scafell Pike, also in the knowledge that the bank holiday crowds would, weather permitting, make their pilgrimage on subsequent days.
The heights for March 29 - and for walks on other days - on the "Walk Features" slide are to be interpreted carefully. Because of the measurement processes associated with my Garmin®, the maximum height above sea level is given as 975 metres which is very slightly below the "977 (978)" metres on OS® Maps. Also, the total ascent (collective "ups") and the total descent (collective "downs"), and the relationship of these parameters to the maximum height reached, should, indeed, be understood correctly. Another point is that walks in mountainous areas are generally shorter than those in the flat lands, because, in mountainous areas, the emphasis is more on the height gained and less on the total distance walked.
It was quite sunny on the way up. although clouds started to gather closer to the peak. The ascent was dominated by good views across Wast Water and towards the "right hand ascent via Mickledore". The advice at base and from other walkers was to take the left-hand ascent via Hollow Stones. The right-hand ascent via Mickledore was deemed to be too icy. Indeed, there were reports of those who had gone some way down the descent from the peak via Mickledore and who then had to turn back to the peak because of the prevailing icy conditions.
On the summit there were - as expected - good views all round, as far as Scotland, although the Isle of Man was lost in the mist. It was snowy, with the snow covering a layer of ice. This surprised the unprepared! The rudimentary shelter carried a weathered plaque "to King and Country".
Finally, the luxury of having slate and stones under one's feet is regained. The descent is characterized by views of the icy Mickledore route, the west-facing views across Wast Water and the stony re-crossing of the Lingmell Gill. (What's the difference between a Gill and a Beck? Answers, as usual, on a postcard please.)
This was the first evening where most of our party had arrived. Our get-together was duly held in Ritson's Bar. It was the occasion to natter about everything in general and our plans for tomorrow in particular. For Jane's son, Ted, it was the first CLOG event. Ted and Tony were probably the fittest in our party. However, most of us were just rearing to hit those stony mountain tracks come tomorrow.