Scramble Scafell Pike
It's 19:39 and I'm writing this blog whilst sitting on the bus from Manchester - London Victoria before catching a train to Gatwick a short 5 hour journey... but all for a good cause as tomorrow I fly to Antigua! I'm ready for some sunshine and salt water. This well and truly is one of the last 'cold' blogs I will release for a while.
Rewind to Monday, I travelled up from Manchester to the Lake District to the Wasdale campsite. It took just over 2 hours to get there. Nestled at the bottom of the mountains and spectacular lake this was the perfect place to spend the evening. The sun was shining and the tent was erected after a minor issue with one of the poles. In went the self inflating mattress, 2 sleeping bags, a blanket and pillows. The tent was complete the olive green canvas blending in perfectly to the surroundings, there were no other tents there that night. It was decided that since the sun was going to set soon, wifi was needed, I had a few emails to send and my friend had to get us the map downloaded for our hike. The only place to go was the Wasdale head Inn, just a short 10 minute walk or a couple of minutes in the car. That old pub smell wafted towards us as we opened the old wooden door, little wooden benches and small booths with hiking photographs lining the walls - we ordered the local blonde beer which was very much needed and a pack of cards was laid on the table.. I won my first game and may have lost a few. Cards isn't something I have ever been interested in or played but it's incredible how much fun and time can pass over just a few simple games! After a few hours in the warm cozy inn the fire alight we ordered our dinner a hunters chicken with chips and they certainly weren't shy on the portion sizes. After downloading a film to watch in the tent we headed back early so we could be up bright and early to climb scafell!
The birds were my alarm clock on Tuesday morning and with no signal it was nice to just switch off from the world for a day! We packed up the tent, had a shower on the campsite and warmed our iced coffee on the stove!
It was now time to head up the first part of Scafell pike. It's quite steep from the get go as you can imagine being the tallest mountain in England at 978 metres. We started the hike and my concerns about having a slightly warmer jacket were null as my heart started pounding with the constant uphill - who needs a leg press machine. We overtook a few ramblers and it's surprising how incredible the views get after just 20 minutes or so of hiking.
We continued our ascent with a quick drink break and also a bit of a strip off. My hat came off, so did my jacket and fleece.. both of which I tied around my waist. We then took the fork of the path to the right and scrambled up Mickledoor which was quite exciting on the crumbly stones before getting to the top of the ridge that continues up towards the summit. Where immediately we were hit by the stronger winds and icy air, time for fleece, jacket and hat back on!
We continued our hike along the ridge walking past the mountain rescue box, and a few stone cairns. I wrote my name on a stone and placed it at the top of the first one I saw but then I realised there were many of these cairns all over the place! Why so many?
As we reached the summit the wind spectacularly kicked in, you almost felt like you could be blown over. We took shelter behind the memorial which was erected in memory of the men of the Lake District who gave their lives during the Great War.
Once we had a little snack, and some berocca we headed back down the corridor route, which is a longer hike and involves more scrambling around bad step - I think I definitley need to invest in some better hiking boots now as my toes fall forward in mine and the rocks under my soles feel like little dull knives. Despite this we saw some extremley cute sheep an old dog coat which we took with us to throw away. It is a shame that during the walk I saw rubbish, not a lot but it's sad that people enjoy nature but don't look after it. Anyway below see a photo of me attempting to mountain goat!
As we got down towards the river heading back towards the Wasdale head inn we noticed some beautiful deep turquoise pools! Now as you can see from my attire it wasn't a warm day mid- February, but when have I ever let that deter me. Although this time I was a little less well prepared and had not brought my bikini - as there were walkers here and there I didn't want anyone seeing me stark naked. I used my neck warmer as a bikini top and my friend had a spare pair of shorts so job done it was time to get in there.
Biting cold, is how I would describe the water. At first it's a shock but after a minute it gets easier, you feel your feet freeze up the blood in your core and you have to slow your breathing down. Now I am no expert but I am trying my best to improve.Word of warning, cold water can be very dangerous and only if you are used to exposure and with another person in a safe location with the right kit should you attempt this and we never stay in more than 5 minutes.
Granted, I'm not sure what I am doing with my hands here...praying I don't freeze to death? Anyway, after the dip it was time to get dressed and continue the hike which is normally done with haste to warm up!
The best part about the end of the hike is you know there is the warm cosy inn at the end. We went to collect the car first but then drove back for a drink and to warm up for heading off. It's a beautiful drive away too in the sunset through the lakes.
I'll pop the track HERE once I have a copy from my friend but as I am on the bus to London and nearly there...time is of the essence!
Tomorrow morning I will be on a flight to Antigua for the Carribean 600! So safe to say this is the last cold blog for a while and more sailing coming soon.
Hope you enjoyed reading.