A varied day out on Scafell with a big daft dog and great company
Jos forged up Lords Rake with graceful ease, not pausing until he was above the leaning chockstone. Richard, however, wanted to show The Viking and I a less well-trodden route. So while Jos continued up the rake, we turned left into the West Wall Traverse and thence into Deep Gill.
This provided a very entertaining route to the summit (although the dog evidently thought otherwise). It was wet in places but had plenty of good handholds and was intermittently loose underfoot. There was a bit of exposure in one or two spots but by no means scarily so. We emerged very near Symonds Knot where Jos was nonchalantly scoffing home-made cake. An opportunistic raven circled above him.It was my first time on top of Scafell and I found the deserted grassy plateau a far more welcoming place than the crowded boulder-strewn litter bin that is the summit of Scafell Pike. We layered up - the temperature was hovering around zero and there was a breeze - and ate a relaxed, if early, lunch. Very few people passed by Symonds Knot although more were gathered at the summit cairn. A guy came over to ask for a steer to Deep Gill and chatted for a few minutes. But otherwise we had the place more or less to ourselves. We then walked over to the summit cairn and took in the wide views.From Scafell summit, we made our way down to Foxes Tarn. I was very surprised how small the tarn is - I'd imagined it a good bit larger. We dropped down the gully and found quite a few more people coming up to the tarn, presumably en route between the Pike and Scafell.
Richard led the way over to the bottom of Broad Stand where The Viking and I slipped through Fat Man's Agony to gawp at the infamous climb and the rock spear below it. Richard regaled us with tales of rescues at the spot, some with rather gruesome outcomes. Soon after we emerged, a group of lads arrived and began preparing ropes and gear. When we had crossed Mickledore, we looked back and watched them start their ascent.We avoided the path from the Pike and headed over the grass and rocks above Pike Crag towards Lingmell Col. Until this point, the air had been very clear affording us some excellent long-distance views. Now, however, cloud rolled in and swirled majestically up over Mickledore. Jos, ahead in the mist, paused - when we caught up with him he pointed to a spot nearby where he'd just seen half-a-dozen dotterel land. He said it was the first time he'd seen any for some years but the birds were so well camouflaged that I couldn't discern them among the boulders. Having never seen dotterel, I was a bit disappointed.We were still good for time so we decided to take in Lingmell summit. We crossed the main path near the zigzags below Scafell Pike and a few hundred yards of easy walking took us to the cairn atop Lingmell. The prospect over Piers Gill to the Corridor opened up and there was a particularly fine view of Gable. A line of ant-like figures dotted the skyline from Ill Crag to Great End, a lark rose into the now clear sky and all seemed right with the world. We celebrated with cake and Kit Kat.Like Scafell, Lingmell was nearly deserted. A couple of Richard's colleagues from Wasdale MRT came over for a brief chat before bounding off downhill and a few other walkers turned up. We started back and, after an easy trot over grass, the slope steepened down the nose of Lingmell. Jos was off like a rocket, scampering away down the fellside, but we followed at a more sedate pace. Re-united at the carpark, we bid Richard farewell then Jos, The Viking and I drove to the Wasdale Head Inn for a well-earned pint.In summary: fine weather, great companions, fascinating routes and some of the most magnificent rock scenery in the Lake District. All in all a day to remember.
A nicely written account.
That Jos sounds a bit of a Jess.
Ta, Ed and GOF
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