Friday 25 March 2011

Walk 44
13.3m / 4700ft ascent
Time taken 10 hours

163. Seathwaite Fell LDW - 123 1972'
164. Great End LDW - 005 2986'
165. Scafell Pike LDW - 001 3209'
166. Allen Crags LDW - 042 2575'
167. Glaramara LDW - 044 2569'
168. Rosthwaite Fell LDW - 149 1808'

Route taken on 25th March 2011 By Phil G4OBK and friend Geoff
The route taken on this walk to Scafell Pike was unusual to say the least, however when we set out LDW-001 was not on the agenda.  When we topped out for lunch on Great End LDW-005 we realised the Pike was within reach so we went for it...

Our day started at  9.20am when we left the line of parked cars at Seathwaite to head for Stockley Bridge with the other fellwalkers bound for England's highest mountain. 

Stockley Bridge with LDW-117 Base Brown in the background
Our target was Great End LDW-005 before returning to Seathwaite via the ridge across Glaramara LDW-044, but first we needed to climb and activate Seathwaite Fell LDW-123. This fell sits between Great Gable and the Allen Crags/Glaramara ridge. It is one of those fells which has a "double top". We made for the northern summit. This isn't the highest point but it has the best view down into Borrowdale, which is why it was chosen as A Wainwright's named summit in the Southern Fells pictorial guide.  We couldn't see a clear track leaving the main path in Styhead Gill so we struck out to the summit at NY 22778 10652. There were a few minor scrambles - an easy ascent. 

Cairn on Seathwaite Fell LDW-123 with Green Gable in the background
As this photo shows the weather for March was perfect.  Eight contacts were made from the summit, mostly to the western Lakeland although G0TDM and G4WHA in Penrith also made it into the log.  The Gables screen the felltop to the north making it a difficult path in that direction, and to the south is no better with the much higher Great End, Esk Pike and Bow Fell getting in the way. 
Our route up on to Great End was one of the most interesting and scenic I've taken since I started climbing the Wainwright's. We crossed over Great Slack and made our way around the east side of Sprinkling Tarn, where there were a couple of abandoned backpacker tents pitched - presumably these were the "base camps" for some climbers we later saw on the crags below Great End. We crossed the bridlepath south of the tarn and then climbed diagonally up an area shown on the map as The Band where we found a minor path which doubled back and which took us to the top of Great End where we had lunch.  

Geoff concentrates on his scramble up The Band with Sprinkling Tarn below
Geoff and Phil on Great End LDW-005
The hordes of people who walk past Great End of their way to the Pike really miss out - it's a great vantage point. A super place to take out the map and identify all there is to see around.  We met a chap called David Owen here, and in conversation discovered he was also a member of The Wainwright Society, as both Geoff and I am. David told us he had finished the 214 some years previously and now concentrated on checking out individual summits from the pictorial guides  - taking his time exploring on his own, at leisure.  Great End LDW-005 at almost 3000 feet is good for radio - sixteen contacts were logged.  We could see Scafell Pike not far above us, and decided as we were so close that we ought to visit and this we did. Fortified from our packed lunch the walk across to LDW-001  took us just 45 minutes. It was only around 1.25 miles but is the sort of terrrain where you need to watch where you are putting your feet making progress slow. The radio effort took some time up - there was no shortage of callers and it was 50 minutes before we could move off once we finished off the pile up of 34 contacts.  Amongst the callers was G4ZRP - Brian on the Wirral using a mere 50mW to complete the contact and summit to summit contacts were had with Alex G7KSE/P on Harter Fell and G6MML/P Val on SP-011 Freehold's Top. After speaking to Brian G4ZRP on the radio who had a better knowledge of the Southern Fells than we did, we decided against continuing on to Scafell, so returned back towards Great End to find our way on to our three remaining Wainwrights of the day - Allen Crags, Glaramara and Rosthwaite Fell (Bessyboot).  Time was getting on due to our walk over to Scafell Pike and we knew as it got towards late afternoon that we could end up have to use our torches.

Pike o'Stickle and other Langdale Pikes - seen from High House Tarn
We reached Allen Crags LDW-042 at 3.45pm, Glaramara LDW-044 at 5.00pm and  Bessyboot at 6.12pm local time.  The paths across to Glaramara were straightforward, albeit they did not follow the OS marking, but that is to be expected.  Coming off Glaramara was due north, entailing a respectable downwards scramble before curving east with no clear paths on the ground visible,  to cross Great Hollow and Rosthwaite Cam before we passed to the west side of Tarn at Leaves to climb to the final summit cairn of Bessyboot LDW-149.  27 contacts were split between the three final summits.

6.00pm on Rosthwaite Fell...the light is going with one summit yet to activate and three miles left to walk
As dusk came in we were on our way down along Combe Gill. By the time we reached Thorneythwaite Farm it was dark but we found our way on to the unmarked footpath which comes out in Seatoller campsite (a placed I camped at in 1968), before exiting on to the Seathwaite road. It was now dark but this didn't matter as we made or way back to Geoff's car which we reached at 7.30pm after a long but memorable day on the fells.  
Credit to all the radio hams for the support by making contact with us during our round.  Especially Mark MM1MPB in Annan, Geoff G4WHA and John G0TDM in Penrith who made contact with us on all six summits. In total 83 contacts were completed in the day.  

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