Conquering Scafell Pike

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Lake District National Park, England, United Kingdom
We would never have considered climbing the highest mountain in England, if James & Lynette hadn’t suggested it. (They were also behind us climbing Snowdon Peak (the highest mountain in Wales) two years ago!) The weather looked half-promising, and so we committed to the plan, setting off after one of Lesley’s hearty breakfasts where she douses her delicious homemade bread in way too much butter and serves bacon that tastes more like ham.
We parked the car at the top of Wast Water, took advantage of the last toilet opportunity, and then proceeded to climb Scafell Pike. Whilst not as high as Snowdon Peak, it is still a challenge. Many people have lost their lives climbing it, but this usually occurs in treacherous wintry conditions when the trail is hard to find in the mist and the wind is so strong it can blow you off balance. Trust me, we would not have attempted the climb had the conditions been remotely dangerous!
The first part of the hike consisted of stone steps leading up the valley, at one stage crossing over a stream. Slowly and steadily, we plodded up the slope, eventually finding ourselves on more rocky ground where one had to concentrate on every step so as not to twist an ankle. Finally, after 3 hours and 20 minutes (including lots of photo stops), we reached the summit. Miraculously, the clouds cleared and we were rewarded with a 360-degree view of mountains bathed in sunshine. (Those who had bolted up earlier would have missed the wonderful view, as the summit had been shrouded in mist for the entire time we were ascending the mountain.)
We took the obligatory photos hailing our achievement, and then moved down to lower ground to find somewhere a little sheltered from the frigid wind to enjoy Lesley’s sandwiches (left over from the day before). 
The hike down, whilst requiring less physical exertion, was very taxing on our old knees. One also had to tread carefully to ensure that one didn’t slip on any of the rock steps. Early in our descent, a blast of cold air and heavy clouds enveloped us. Any concerns that we were in for a wet walk back down the mountain quickly dissipated, as did the clouds. For the rest of the afternoon, the sun shone gloriously.
The walk back down took us about 2.5 hours, again with numerous pauses for photos. My poor bladder was so relieved to get back to the car park toilets! It had been well over 6 hours since my last visit.
On the way back to our B&B, we stopped at the same vantage point we had visited on the evening we arrived. What a contrast between the flat, dull mountains on that overcast day and the bright-coloured mountains before us now. Sunlight certainly adds a lot of depth to the landscape.
James and Michael dropped Lynette and me back at our accommodation and then drove on to a couple of different towns to find bread, tomatoes, etc. for dinner. Lesley, who was entertaining visitors in the sunroom, kindly offered us the use of her lounge room, even supplying us with some ham and salad to supplement our meal, and setting up her Amazon Alexa to play easy listening music in the background. When we finally called it a night, we were well and truly ready for sleep!
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Comments

Barb
2019-08-22

Wow. Well done.

Ian
2019-08-23

You certainly had a magnificent day, starting with a hearty breakfast, which incidentally might not have been so good for the heart, being soaked with butter. It surprised me to learn that you had not planned to climb the highest mountain in England until Lynette and James had suggested the idea to you. You certainly had the good fortune to climb Scafell Pike when it was cloudy until nearing the summit and, with the sun coming out as you were reaching the top, the photos became majestically changed with sunlit mountains. A delightful collection of shots were taken. Great!

Tracy
2019-08-24

All sounding very energetic but providing some amazing views - excellent effort guys

2022-10-03