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Scafell Pike 2004


This summit was jointly activated by myself, and Myke G6DDQ on Thursday 2nd September 2004.    Click to return to summit index


This was a long and tiring day, and whenever I next tackle this summit, it will be based from accommodation in the Lake District, and not as a day-trip from Macclesfield.   I was on the road with Penelope at 5.30am, and just over an hour later I was in 2m QSO with Myke G6DDQ/M on the M6, as ever accompanied by Gwendolyn.  We rendezvoused at the Little Chef on the A590 near Levens for a cooked breakfast, before continuing westwards and across the A5092 to pick up the minor roads up to Wast Water and Wasdale.   We parked on the village green at Wasdale Head and left Myke's 8-year-old Gwendolyn babysitting my 2-year-old Penelope for the day, although they were somewhat upset by the fact that we weren't to return until some eleven hours later.

Tom M1EYP at the summit of Scafell Pike G/LD-001         The SOTA Beam set up on the shelter wall

We followed the Moses' Trod path up between Kirk Fell and Lingmell, reaching the mountain rescue box at Sty Head around one hour later.  As we then headed south-eastwards towards Sprinkling Tarn, we were treated to some fine views over Ullswater.  The going was good, and we made steady progress.  Continuing to spiral in, another right turn towards Ill Crag saw us reach Esk Hause, shortly after which Keith G0OXV yet again managed to call Myke within an hour of his summit!  Coming across Ill Crag and Broad Crag was the only slightly difficult part of the ascent as we had to cross boulder fields.  The final ascent up Scafell Pike was steep but straightforward, and the summit itself was busy, with many people huddled around the one side of the summit cairn that was unfound by the sharp westerly wind.  I sat here to have some soup from the flask.

As the mist slightly cleared on the summit, it revealed several good shelters scattered around the summit plateau.  I headed for one that was out of the way of the absolute summit, but was substantially built, with high walls.  The SOTA Beam, WASP and walking pole was erected in one of the shelter walls.  By this time, Myke G6DDQ had qualified the summit on his handy, including 3 contacts on 70cm.  I worked a batch of regular chasers on 2m despite the attentions of the ubiquitous Lakeland "Classic FM" SOTA jammer.   The last few contacts were completed hurriedly in worsening rain, and this weather forced me to cancel any plans to play on 2m SSB.  I packed up, donned the waterproof trousers, got the essential trig point photograph and set off back down with Myke.

Activating from Scafell Pike G/LD-001

We had decided to return to Sty Head via the corridor route, a decision we were soon regretting with difficult steep segment down.  In any case, we were able to relax slightly on a good maintained path, and followed it to the stream at the top of the deep gully NY 218 084.  Once over the stream, things became very ambigous.  There were three ways the path could have gone, but all three quickly faded to be very undefined, and all seemed to lead to dangerous crag edges.  Furthermore, Myke who had done the corridor route before, did not recognise any of this section.  Taking a few moments to stop, think and replan, we decided to retrace our steps right back, and beyond in the direction of Hollow Stones.  On the return we still couldn't find a path we may have missed, and the fact that it was such a good, obviously maintained and deliberate path that seemed to fade to nothing confused us.  We had to ascend quite considerably as we turned back on ourselves, but after the crags at NY 212 077, it was downhill all the way with nothing too steep.  It was however difficult, with the rain having been continuous since the summit, and the stones on the path very slippy, and hard under foot after a long tiring day.  Up at the crags I had slipped and tore my overtrousers to shreds, but at least not my skin!  We continued on the path down Brown Tongue and by Lingmell Gill, beyond the National Trust midge-infested campsite and onto the road, where we turned right and headed back to Gwendolyn and Penelope, both bored stiff on the village green.

The failure to complete the corridor route descent had cost us two hours and much energy, so it was nice to be able to have a meal and a drink in the Wasdale Inn.  We then set off on the long and tedious trek back to the M6 around the A595, A5092 and A590 before reconvening for a much-needed coffee at Forton Services.  Leaving here at around midnight, I made it only to the next services - Charnock Richard - before needing another rest-stop, consisting of a drink of water and a 5-minute power nap.  This then got me to Lymm services, where I indulged in a 15-minute nap, more water and a Double Decker chocolate bar.  I completed the drive home listening to the rantings of James Stannage on Piccadilly Key 103, and arrived QTHR just before 2.00am, 21 hours after the start of the day.

I was pleased to have crossed off another of my lifelong ambitions by conquering Scafell Pike, but won't be doing it as a day-trip with Jimmy next year!  Neither will I be descending on any route other than Esk Hause - Sty Head - Wasdale Head, while ascent would be a choice between this and Brown Tongue - Hollow Stones.  Many thanks to Myke G6DDQ for his company throughout the day - but just where did that Corridor Route go.....?

Thanks to the following stations, all worked on 2m FM using 0.5 watts, except the initial call and first contact, using 2.5 watts:

G0OXV/M Latham Keith
M0SGB/M Haslingden Steve
GW4EVX Mold Ron
2E0NHM Warton Nigel
M3EDX Blackpool Ian
M3HOC/M Blackpool Les
M0FSK Bolton-le-Sands Frank
GW0VMW near Conwy Rick
G4BLH/M near Colne Mike
M1YAM Bradford Clive
G0UQT Keighley Ron
G0AKF Knutsford Ken