Thursday, 20 April 2017

Wasdale Head to Scafell in Pictures

The number of people hiking up Scafell Pike every summer would probably fill a football stadium but the neighboring peak of Scafell - though an equally fine expedition when the rain stays away - is far less frequented. England's second highest peak is definitely the abode of the fellwalker rather than that of the tourist. The route initially follows the same path (from Wasdale Head village green or the National Trust campsite - the paths converge shortly after where the first two photos were taken - initially following the stream of Lingmell Gill and then up the relentless slopes to Hollowstones - the wild and rock cwm below the peaks. The way to the Pike - and the crowds - branch off to the left while our route continues up over rough steep terrain to Mickledore the obvious col between Scafell and Scafell Pike at about 2650ft.. 

Head down the far side for a short way towards Upper Eskdale, keeping to the right which avoids a boulder field, until the gully is spotted leading up through broken crags to the right. Going up here can be wet after rain as it doubles as a stream bed but it's not boggy and we stayed dry today!  The path is clear up past Foxes Tarn - which turns out to be a small pool with a rock in the middle - and on up to the summit of Scafell which at 3162ft is the second highest point in England.

If anything this route is harder than the slightly higher Pike due to the roughness of the terrain and the descent from Mickledore. The rock scenery up to the ridge is sublime and the ascent of the Foxes Tarn gully exciting but not difficult or exposed. We descended west from the summit via the Green How route which is without difficulty unless you follow our route down the steep scree back to Lingmell Gill - better to continue on down to Brackenclose and the campsite. 

Total distance 10km/6.25 miles >>> Ascent 3100ft/950m >>> Descent 3100ft/950m

The Lord's Rake route was subject to rock falls some years back and has a large boulder to be negotiated. It's passable but there's always a risk of further rock falls and this route is a straightforward one. Do not be tempted to go up Broad Stand - the direct route from Mickledore unless you're an experienced rock climber - it looks short but it's a climb rather than a walk and without a belay rope a slip would not end well!

wastwater in the lake district
Wastwater and the Screes from early in the walk

wasdale head from path to scafell
Wasdale Head from the same place looking to Pillar and Kirkfell

route to mickledore and scafell
Further up is the area known as Hollow Stones just below Mickledore

mickledore between wasdale and upper eskdale
Mickledore separates Scafell and the Pike looking to Broad Stand

hiking scafell from wasdale head
Looking up the gully towards Foxes Tarn

Looking back down the gully from just before the tarn

summit view from scafell
The summit of Scafell with the Wasdale Fells and Grasmoor far distance

Scafell Crag with Deep Ghyll Butress left and Scafell Pinnacle

The Wasdale Fells looking towards Pillar, Kirkfell and Mosedale

Looking back to Scafell Pike 

The top of Deep Ghyll Butress is a fine vantage point reached by an easy scramble

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