|Distance:||12.6 km or 7.8 miles|
|Ascent:||1149m or 3770ft|
Monday 14th May was forecast to be more-or-less sunny all day, so I decided on a another trip to the lake District for a walk up Scafell Pike and Scafell from Wasdale Head.
Setting off from the National Trust car-park at Wasdale Campsite, I walked beside Lingmell Gill up the Brown Tongue route to Hollow Stones, and then onwards to Lingmell Col, before turning south easterly for the final few hundred feet of ascent to Scafell Pike summit.
From there, I descended to Mickledore, and then took the steep and not so well known faint track that skirts the foot of Scafell's main crags, directly down to the bottom of Lord's Rake.
Lord's Rake was loose, slippy, and hard going. - Very much the same awkward scree slope that it was thirty or more years ago when I last climbed it! - But nevertheless, incredibly enjoyable for the views to be had, both looking directly up and back down it, and looking out over the valleys from the tops of each of its sections. - You just don't get a sense of the scale of things in that area from photos.
Incredibly, (or not - as it happens all too frequently in the Lake District), although there had been more or less wall-to-wall sunshine so far, some extensive banks of mist began to arrive as I made my way up the final section of Lord's Rake. - Taking the edge off any possibility of getting good scenic photos for the next couple of hours or so.
At the top of Lord's Rake, it was a simple plod up the last few hundred feet to Scafell's summit plateau, passing by Symonds Knott and then across to the head of the West Wall Traverse for a look down into Deep Gill - where a group of climbers were enjoying themselves on its almost vertical walls.
A short back-track past Symonds Knott, and up the final few feet to Scafell summit, where I stopped for lunch, and had a lengthy wait around, hoping that the patchy mist would clear!
It began to finally clear after about an hour and a half, so, from Scafell summit, I decided to head down Kettle Cove, towards the Burnmoor Tarn area. Which, depending on time, and my energy levels, would then give me the option of going up over Illgill Head and Whin Rigg, or taking the old corpse road back to Wasdale. Unfortunately, an untimely slip on a loose boulder not long after leaving the Scafell's summit left me with a slight but niggling knee injury for the rest of the walk that ended any thoughts of my doing Illgill Head etc. - So back down the old corpse road it was!
GPX track of the route walked: -
Walk Elevation Profile: -
Wastwater from the Brown Tongue area of the path from Wasdale, heading towards Scafell Pike: -
The crags of Scafell, as seen from Hollow Stones area on the approach to Lingmell Col: -
A much "zoomed-in" shot of Sellafield - about twelve miles away as the crow flies. (Taken from Lingmell Col): -
Great Gable, with the northern fells on the far horizon, as seen from Lingmell Col: -
Great Gable and Styhead Tarn, with Skiddaw and Blencathra on the horizon. (From flanks of Scafell Pike): -
Great Gable etc., from beside Scafell Pike's summit triangulation pillar: -
Scafell Pike's summit memorial tablet: - The text reads:- "IN PERPETUAL MEMORY OF THE MEN OF THE LAKE DISTRICT WHO FELL FOR GOD AND KING, FOR FREEDOM PEACE AND RIGHT IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918. THIS SUMMIT OF SCAFELL WAS GIVEN TO THE NATION SUBJECT TO ANY COMMONERS RIGHTS & PLACED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE NATIONAL TRUST BY CHARLES HENRY, BARON LECONFIELD, 1919".
Looking across Mickledore to Scafell, from Scafell Pike summit plateau: -
Scafell's crags, with Lord's Rake just right of centre: -
A "zoomed-in" shot of Lord's Rake, from the approach to Mickledore: -
The Mountain Rescue Post at Mickledore, with Broad Stand, and the crags of Scafell Beyond: -
A close-up shot of Broad Stand. - Infamous for being the scene of many accidents & mountain rescue call-outs: -
Looking down Little Narrowcove (unfortunately against the light), to Upper Eskdale. Crinkle Crags & Coniston fells etc. on horizon. (From Mickledore): -
Looking down the awkward track that leads off from Mickledore, directly to the foot of Lord's Rake: - Needs care. Quite steep sections with loose gravelly terrain underfoot. (Like walking on marbles!).
Looking up the first section of Lord's Rake: -
Still a few remnants of Snow to be found. These are in a side gully near the start of Lord's Rake: -
Looking back down the first section of Lord's Rake, with Scafell Pike facing: - (To give an idea of scale, there is someone wearing a red jacket, just about visible at the bottom of the rake).
Looking across to the second section of Lord's Rake, with Wastwater far below: -
Looking back towards Great Gable, (behind Lingmell), with the zig-zag path to Lingmell Col prominent in the shot: -
Looking back towards the first section of Lord's Rake, with Scafell Pike beyond: -
It was as I was approaching the final part of Lord's Rake that the mist began to arrive. Wastwater from top of final section of Lord's Rake, (with mist arriving over Illgill Head to left hand side of shot): -
A minute later, and the view back to Scafell Pike and Lord's Rake first section becomes enveloped in mist: -
Symonds Knott, a large cross of boulders, on the summit plateau of Scafell. - (More mist arriving in the background): -
Looking down Deep Gill from the head of the West Wall Traverse. (With another patch of pesky mist obscuring the otherwise superb view across to Great Gable). A pair of climbers can just be seen on the right hand face: -
A closer view of the climbing duo: -
Looking across to a momentarily clear Scafell Pike summit, with more mist just about to obscure the view again: -
Scafell Pike's (almost) fully repaired memorial summit cairn, with National Trust Rangers, (the repair team), and several walkers: -
Looking across to Bowfell from Scafell's summit plateau: -
Crinkle Crags from Scafell's summit plateau.
Mist all but gone, and sunshine returns, leaving a clear view across to Great Gable & beyond. - From Scafell summit: -
Looking towards Burnmoor Tarn, Whin Rigg, Illgill Head, and Wastwater, from the flanks of Scafell: -
Rhizocarpon geographicum, (yellow), and a rusty red (as yet unidentified) lichen on one of Scafell's boulders: - (It was not long after taking this shot that I twisted my leg! ).
Yewbarrow, as seen from the Hard Rigg area between Scafell and Burnmoor Tarn: -
Looking towards Wasdale Head and a prominent Kirk Fell. (From the old corpse road that runs between Wasdale & Eskdale): -
One of the many Herdwick lambs seen on the walk: -
Yewbarrow as seen from the old corpse road: -
Yewbarrow as seen from beside Fence Wood: -
Nearing the end of the walk, and a shot looking up to Scafell Pike from the area of Brackenclose: -
The Scafells, from the bridge over Lingmell Gill. (Just behind the National Trust carpark at Wasdale): -
After the walk I couldn't miss the opportunity to take a few early evening shots looking down and across Wastwater.
View down Wastwater, with Yewbarrow, Great Gable, Lingmell, & The Scafells on the horizon: -
Early evening view across Wastwater to the Screes: -
Another shot of the Screes (from the "Pinnacles/Landing stage" area of Wastwater Lake): -
Looking towards Yewbarrow and Great Gable. Taken from the point where Countess Beck runs into Wastwater Lake: -
A similar shot from slightly further south along the lake. (Just beyond Countess Beck road bridge): -
One of the old style road signs at the Wasdale Head/Gosforth/Santon Bridge, (Greendale) road juction: -
Another great day out in the Lakes!
Another good walk & report, but it makes me long to get back up to the lakes, but distance & work prevent me going. I have been planing a similar walk for the autumn but can't decided between Lord's Rake & the West Wall Traverse and wondered with you having been there recently, or anyone else, their views on each.
One comment I do have is I don't need the pics of sheep, see plenty at home
Hi, thanks for your comment.
As for Lord's Rake versus West Wall Traverse, they are both pretty similar as far as what's underfoot is concerned. - Lots of scree and slippy gravelly stones!
I have to mention that before this last Scafell walk, it had been about thirty years since I last did Lord's Rake (and the West Wall Traverse). Lord's Rake was really very much as I'd remembered it, apart from it now having the remnants of the huge fallen chock-stone at the top of the first section. - (That chock-stone hadn't actually come away from the rockface last time I was up there all those years ago!). But as far as getting up it, it's no different now to what it was then, and I would be pretty confident that the West Wall Traverse is much the same too.
Taking the two as separate entities, I think the West Wall Traverse just has the edge, as you are completely surrounded by Scafell's enormous crags. - You couldn't get any better for rock scenery without being an all out rock climber.
If you haven't done either, then I'd probably recommend Lord's Rake as being the more straight forward (no pun intended!) as it is a dead straight line with three ups and two downs, and a left turn at the top that leads you up to Scafell summit plateau.
If you are pretty fit, or a glutton for punishment , you could do both in the day by doing Lord's Rake, then dropping down from the plateau via Fox's Tarn Gully, back up to Mickledore, and then up the first section of Lord's Rake again to the start of the West Wall Traverse. (I've done that years ago, but think it might be a bit much for me these days!).
However, if you aren't that bothered about fully completing Lord's Rake, then you could do the first (and arguably the best) section. nip over the crest of that into the first descent section for some stunning views across the valleys, and then backtrack just into the top bit of the first section - which is where the West Wall Traverse starts - (about 10 metres or so from the top on the right hand side as you look down the rake).
Doing that, you would combine what I'd say are the best parts of Lord's Rake with the full West Wall Traverse. Alternatively, if you didn't fancy the descent/re-ascent that Fox's tarn Gully would involve, you could do the full Lord's Rake, and then instead of carrying on up to the plateau, back track across as far as the start of the west Wall Traverse.
Both Lord's Rake and the West Wall Traverse will be full of loose scree, and you have to be careful when pulling on any rocks used as hand-holds. - Lots of the rocks on the actual crag faces are quite loose, so you need to test everything before pulling on it.
Thank You Mike. I'll probably see how things are when hopefully I get there in terms of weather, how fit I'm feeling and just what I do or don't like the look of. Going round to do both would make my already planned walk to long, take yours and add Lingmel, Great End, Pen & Slight Side & you'll understand.
But here's a solution for you or others who need a good rest on big walks -
Take your bed with you as this lot did
The sign says Liverpool University Chemical SOC Scafell Sleepwalk. The pic was taken by my father and could be about 60 years old, but if anyone has a better date please respond.