'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Summer's Here And The Time Is Right For Climbing Scafell Pike

Cumbria in June: a glorious Friday of cloudless skies, so after dragging myself away from the world of telegrams and hate early in the morning, to St Bees where La V and I decided on an expedition to Wasdale. Once there, we took a leisurely walk up to Sty Head Pass, admiring the crags of the Napes on Great Gable above us. At the pass it seemed logical to set off along the Corridor Route towards Lingmell Col, so we walked on in the heat of the afternoon, past the magnificent rock scenery of Piers Gill until we took a wrong turn and found ourselves with a steep scramble up scree to the path between Broad Crag and Scafell
Pike itself
. By now we were thoroughly hot and sweaty, but the warmth of the day and the sheer rugged beauty of the rock architecture provided deep pleasure. Once atop Scafell Pike we picked our way through the boulder field to Mickledore, the narrow ridge that links Scafell and Scafell Pike and terminates in the massive rock bastions of Scafell Buttress. On the way down we paused to watch two climbers negotiate the upper pitches of a route on Scafell Pinnacle, a truly terrifying series of sheer aretes between Mickledore and Lord's Rake. Mickledore itself is a place of quite magical beauty - a ridge of grass and red earth fifty metres long which tapers to a narrow saddle at the foot of the buttress. It has an intimacy and repose quite at odds with the grandeur of the crags at one end and the mountain rescue kit screwed into the mountain at the other. On one side, a magnificent view of Crinkle Crags and the Coniston fells; on the other, Lord's Rake, Hollow Stones and Lingmell are laid out at your feet. We dropped down to visit Fat Man's Agony, the entrance to Broad Stand where Samuel Taylor Coleridge experienced the terror and exhiliration of what is probably the world's first recorded rock climb (he was coming down alone and had no idea what each successive drop held in store) before scrambling down the scree towards Hollow Stones and returning to Wasdale Head. Altogether the most magnificent half-day's expedition imaginable.


Anonymous Eleanor said...

This sounds like a similar turn taken with Franklin years past, minus the snow. Good show!

6/6/06 5:12 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

Eleanor - precisely right, though Franklin & I didn't go down to Mickledore & Lord's Rake. It was a fabulous day . . .

6/6/06 6:34 pm  

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