Summit 2: Scafell Pike – 978m/3209 feet
So, having made it up and down Harrison stickle, how good would it have been to have a day to rest our achey legs? Dry out our sodden boots? Have a lie in?
Afraid not, the alarm went off at 6.30am the next morning and we struggled out of bed to find the rain hammering down outside. It was with leaden legs and aching joints that we climbed into the car for the drive through thunder and rain to our starting point at Seathwaite Farm.
The route we were taking up to Scafell Pike was called the Corridor route. It was supposed to be much more spectacular and hopefully quieter than the busy Wasdale route. But it was considerably longer – over 15km and we would be climbing up to the summit – 978m or 3,209 feet.
We set off around 9am with our anoraks done up to our chins in a somewhat futile attempt to keep the relentless rain and wind out.
Just to be clear, this was not much fun. The cloud was so low we couldn’t see a thing, the wind was blowing an absolute gale, Issie had water in her boots after about 10 minutes and to say enthusiasm levels were not high is a big understatement.
And to top everything, we couldn’t even see where we were heading – the picture below was our view of Scafell Pike.
After an hour and a half of trudging along the valley floor, struggling to stay upright in the wind – we were even colder and wetter and it felt like we hadn’t gained a single metre in height. We came across a family who had decided to abandon their attempt to reach the summit in the face of wretched weather conditions.
“It was hard when we met a family that had decided to turn back. I couldn’t even see where we were walking to, the wind was nearly blowing us off our feet and my legs were so tired! I thought maybe we weren’t going to make it up.” Issie
Luckily, at this stage our guide pulled out an emergency pop-up survival tent and Kettle Chips and Haribo came to the rescue.
We talked about why we were putting ourselves through this and what this meant to both of us. Should we keep going? With a small nod, Issie pointed towards the top and off we set again.
The path started to climb upwards and we were rewarded with some dramatic views. Our guide kept Issie entertained with his experiences in the mountain rescue service and before we knew it we were scrambling up and into the clouds – at last, some height.
The mountain sheep skipped around us and at last it felt like we were really getting somewhere. After 4 hours we came to the final scramble up to the summit and the route became much busier as all the walkers from Wasdale joined our path.
Frustratingly, the cloud closed in as we got higher and we needed to find our way by following the cairns built to show climbers the path. This was hard, hard work.
But looking back to where we’d come from renewed our spirits. In the picture below – look for the tarn or lake, that had been our half way point, we’d started way back down the valley behind it.
Another 45 minutes of climbing and scrambling past various false summits and we made it to the top.
We were the highest people in England! We’d done it!
We rewarded ourselves with warm ribena and chocolate for making it to the top. What a feeling! We stopped to chat to fellow walkers all taking their chance to have their photos taken at the top. There were people from all over the country and of all ages. Everyone with a big smile on their faces!
But soon the cold started to chill us and we geared ourselves up for the long walk back. It was going to be another long old slog – and both our knees were aching as two days worth of walking took its toll.
“Coming down is so hard, I thought going up would be the worst bit! We were so tired and still had to walk all the way back. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but some music and walking poles really helped me!” Issie
And finally – around 7pm and over 10 hours after we’d started – we stumbled back over the river and back to our starting point. Aching, cold, wet – but completely jubilant – we crawled into the car.
We’d done it!
2 summits down, 8 to go now.