Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scafell Pike and Birthday Plans

It's still two years away, but being something of a control freak I've started tentatively planning an expedition for my half-century celebrations. I've made mention of this on Facebook and rumour has spread rapidly. So rapidly that I've been accosted by several people who've said they want to join in.

So - here's how it is at the moment.

I'm planning to climb Scafell Pike on the day itself; the only proviso being that adverse weather doesn't make it unsafe.
From my point of view (bearing in mind it's a public place and I have no control whatever over who's there and who isn't), anyone who we know and like is very welcome to come with us - you just need to be able to afford the costs of accommodation, food, travel and oddsies (including copious quantities of ale). You also need to be fit and properly equipped for the expedition (absolute minimum equipment recommendations are here); it's not like wandering around Rame Head.

It is, of course, very early days yet and therefore plans might well change - but the current thought is to stay at the Wasdale Head Inn (from whence it is possible to climb Scafell Pike on a circular 8.1 mile route) or possibly in Nether Wasdale at The Screes Inn or something similar, which will mean either a longer fell walk or trying to organise transport to/from a start/finish point.
A word from Alfred Wainwright on the subject of Scafell Pike:

"[He] advises walkers not to underestimate the amount of work required to reach Scafell Pike. He writes "The ascent of Scafell Pike is the toughest proposition the ‘collector of summits’ is called upon to attempt .... From all bases except Wasdale Head the climb is long and arduous and progress is slow: this is a full-day expedition, and the appropriate preparations should be made" (Wainwright 1960, Scafell Pike 12).

Part of the reason for this is that Scafell Pike is just one summit in a spectacular range of fells. So much walking over foothills is required before the main range is reached, and the final ascents are made. The exception to this is, as Wainwright points out above, the Wasdale Head via Lingmell Gill route, which is the most direct and hence the shortest distance. "

I'm not planning to turn it into a penance by using any other route than the "tourist" trail via Wasdale Head, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a cakewalk unless we do the job properly. So now you know - don't say I didn't warn you!


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