Lingmell, Scafell Pike & Great End
Scafell Pike remains the pinnacle of hillwalking in England for many people. At 978m, it is the highest point in England, with a number of well trodden routes to its summit. One of the most common routes , starts in the village of Seathwaite in Borrowdale, climbing steadily up to Styhead Tarn, before taking the Corridor route up to Lingmell Coll and then left and on up to the summit.
I had only reached the summit once myself, going up this way a few years ago. This was a memorable trip, which completely re-invigorated my love of walking in the Lake District. But on that occasion, it was a route without any views whatsoever. A group of 4 of us walked up Scafell Pike as part of the Water Aid challenge, which seeks to get people on top of all the Wainwright summits at the same time, to raise money for the charity Water Aid. Despite being in June, the weather was absolutely awful. Fully togged in waterproof gear, we were soaked to the skin as soon as we got out the car - with a full on power shower all the way up. Having bagged the summit we returned back the way we had come, for fear of getting stuck (streams seemed to be turning into waterfalls) or going the wrong way in the awful weather. In fact we met a couple on the way down who had become lost, and were able to guide them down to the path they wanted.
So it was with great anticipation and excitement that I approached a second visit to Scafell Pike. Maybe we would see something this time? The route we chose is shown below (a circular route of nearly 11 miles), and included two additional summits, Lingmell on the route up, and Great End on the route down, both new Wainwrights for me. I had thought that we could return down over Seathwaite Fell, but time and the weather meant this was best left to another day, and from Styhead Tarn we retraced our route back down to Borrowdale .
Even this trip was a bit hit and miss. The forecast for the weekend as a whole had been terrible, with nearly 5 inches of rain forecast at one point. Fortunately, the weather was much better than forecast, but it still looked a bit gloomy as we left the cars at Seathwaite and walked along the valley towards Stockley Bridge. And by the time we got to the bridge it had started raining! Oh no not again!!??
It continue to rain as we climbed up towards Styhead Tarn, so my camera stayed firmly in its bag (however see below for the views on the way down). But as we approach Styhead Tarn the weather broke slightly and I was able to start taking photos. And at this time, four of our group decided to head back, leaving Nigel, Paul, Richard and I to carry on.
The slopes of Great End came into view. Our route down brought us down the left of this picture. But for now we were heading across to the right, first down into the dip and then onto and up the Corridor Route.
As we progressed up the Corridor Route, our first summit came into view. At this time the summit of Lingmell was heavily cloaked in cloud.
The views at this stage though are all to your right. The imposing summit of Great Cable was equally cloaked in low cloud.
With views down Wasdale
and across to Kirk Fell and the Mosedale range.
After a while, the clouds started to break, with shafts of light creating patterns down the Wasdale valley.
Soon the breaks in the cloud got bigger and bigger - we certainly saw views that I simply didn't know existed on my previous visit.
The cloud still hung dramatically over the summit of Great Gable.
Looking back, the views over Styhead Tarn to Derwent Water were very impressive.
For a short period the light over the fells was really quite dramatic. Here Great Grable.
Great Gable , Green Gable and surrounding fells.
The views back down through the jaws of Borrowdale, to Derwent Water and beyond, were quite spectacular.
On reaching Lingmell Coll you can head right to Lingmell or continue up left to Scafell Pike. We decide to take in Lingmell as well. From the summit of Lingmell there are good views down Wastwater., with Scafell (different to Scafell Pike) on the left.
The sun was streaming down the nearby Mosedale valley to the right.
And you could clearly see the route back up to Scafell Pike.
And again there were great views down towards Styhead Tarn.
We traced our steps back and continued to climb to Scafell Pike. The rocky nature of the ground underfoot does not make it an easy route, but hey you are heading to the highest point in England!!! Unfortunately as we traced our steps back towards Scafell Pike, the weather closed in. Heavy cloud hung over the top of Scafell Pike and remained there for our entire visit. So I have no photos, other than a few quick snaps on my phone just to prove I got there (two scary pics of me below!!)- two visits and pretty much the same view each time - although at least this time it was dry!!
And we got similar views as we skirted Ill Crag and Broad Crag and visited Great End. These summits were clearly above the cloud base and we could see very little as a result.
As we came down from Great End we dropped below the cloud base and the views started to open up again. Richard and Paul had to travel home that day so they decided to take the quick route back down to the car, whilst Nigel and I ponded going back over Seathwaite Fell. Just as we were deciding we would give it a go, Nigel pointed at the top of Great Gable. Horizontal rain was bouncing off the side of the summit!! All of a sudden it was lashing it down with rain, with the tops of the fells looking considerably less attractive. So we decided to go down back the way we came up. As we passed back by Styhead Tarn, the light back behind us took a turn for the better.
The summits in view are Great End, Scafell Pike (in the clouds) and Lingmell (far right).
In the other direction a rainbow seemed to stretch from the summit of Green Gable.
As Nigel and I headed down hill, the views opened up down Borrowdale and to Blencathra in the distance.
Here, you can see that bot the start and the of the walk are on the flat valley floor, allowing your legs to both warm up and warm down again before and after steep ascent/decsents.
It had been a great walk and a great day. One of those days where you really know you've done a good walk - a day that makes you really glad to be alive!!
For more images from this walk please go to the gallery here.