Friday, 28 May 2010

The National 3 Peaks Challenge - Scafell Pike (Peak Number 2)

View Scafell Pike - 3 Peaks in a larger map

Bleary eyed we got out of the van in the Lake District and put clean socks on and my shoes ready to drag ourselves up Scafell Pike. This was far from a pleasant experience. I hadn't changed the dressing on my foot as it had wept during the first walk and it had dried so I didn't was to pull the wound off with the dressing. I'm not sure if this was the reason or not as to why it was giving me so much grief from the off. I was thankful that I had the key for the van in case I ended up turning back.

We'd left the van (075873) at 6am and only minutes later started passing people that we recognised from Ben Nevis, I was a bit delirious at this point, due to the total lack of sleep although looking at the dudes heading off for Snowdon I actually felt quite fresh, this was what we were to look forward to and more (or worse). Looking up you can see the path trace up the Scafell Pike and again into thick cloud - ace! This is a spectacular view on a clear day however this wasn't to be one of them.

You follow Lingmell Gill heading up Scafell Pike with the stream on your right. You then cross the stream where the path veers to the right (at 195075). This can be a bit of a precarious crossing and if you stay and watch long enough you should see someone go in, one of our guys did. This is always a source of huge amusement and lifts spirits - even if it's yourself.

By this point everyone is feeling the burn and on little or no sleep anything was an effort. Harry had made himself a strong mix of lemon cordial and water which turned on him with a vengeance and ended up exiting his body with great haste on a number of occasions all over the hillside. The view of Wastwater (the deepest lake in the Lake District and indeed inEngland) is awesome from this ascent. However it wasn't long before we'd hit the fog line and the views that we'd enjoyed disappeared into the mist leaving us staring at the floor and trudging uphill one step at a time. I employed the slow but sure theory and kept plugging away.

wastwater from Scafell Pike on the national 3 peaks
The path forks (at 202074) and we took the left fork, I've made this mistake before and the right fork takes you up towards the Lords Rake and some pretty challenging gullies leading to the Scafell Pike summit - this was not the day to be attempting this. There was a constant stream of people heading down now as we trudged up through the cloud one step at a time. The fatigue was setting in pretty heavily now but we had a place to be and a time to be there so no stops were scheduled on this ascent and none were taken, just a steady yomp to the top.

scafell pike summit
Eventually we arrived, in the cloud, at the top of Scafell Pike with the second of the three summits now conquered. The time was by now around 8am and we had to get down, with very limited visibility there was nothing to hang around for apart from to catch our breath. With the burn affecting different muscles groups on the descent everyone roared off aiming downhill - next stop the bottom. There was still patchy snow at the top with gave a clue as to the temperature, up here though it felt nowhere near as baltic as it was up on Ben Nevis in Scotland only hours earlier.

With poles out to cushion the impact it wasn't too long before we'd emerged out of the cloud and the view of Wastwater was pretty impressive. No time really to take it in, today was a challenge rather than a ramble. In brief sporadic moments the cloud whipped back up and surrounded us momentarily eradicating the view. We yomped back down to the van with knees starting to give a bit a grief but we were through half way now and although time was tight we were in with a shot of completing the 3 peaks in the 24 hours.

cloud on scafell pike
We arrived at the van for 9:30am to the smell of sausages as a car next to us (all the other vans had already left for Snowdon) prepared lunch for themselves or their compadres who had hiked off into the yonder somewhere to return to a hearty feast. Feeling pretty shattered now, starving and craving snags we'd managed to get up and down Scafell Pike in three and a half hours, fair play we weren't pulling up any trees but we were pretty pleased with that and it certainly put us back in the running for complete the 3 Peaks in the 24 hours which I certainly thought had slipped from our palms as we were tearing though non marked villages around 4 hours earlier.

Same drill as before we all grabbed food, took off shoes to give our feet a breather and jumped aboard the, by now a bit grotty, fun bus. There were shortbread crumbs all over the back seat and coffee swilling up and down the floor. These were minor issues we could sort at a later stage for now we had to get to Llanberis and the base of Snowdon like yesterday.

With that in mind Ken took the wheel and we tore out of the Lake District (I think) - I managed to get some sleep in and dozed pretty much until we came off the A55.

View Directions to snowdon in a larger map

We were meeting a couple of our girlfriends, who were going to climb Snowdon with us but they'd got a reasonably early start so were already there to our knowledge. We arrived somewhere near the bottom car park and the roads were lined with cars, the weather had brightened up a treat and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. If we weren't so tired we may have marvelled at the view.

Being right up against it timewise we drove to the car park with our fingers and toes crossed for a space. There weren't any so we decided to wait on the off chance people would be leaving. It was the right call and within 10 mins we were in the car park and throwing kit on to get a shift on. It was touch and go whether we were going to get up and down before 6:45pm.


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