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Scafell Pike 2005


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Today was the day that Jimmy's Marilyns score would increase by one, to just one behind his father.  I did Scafell Pike G/LD-001 last year, but this was Jimmy's first ascent of this hill.  The lady at the campsite collected our fees (Jimmy, apparently, is an "adult" at 12), and we drove up into Keswick to buy food for the day from the Co-op.  We returned past the campsite, and onto Seathwaite where we parked in one of the many spaces just before the trout farm.

The walk took us to Stockley Bridge, from where we elected to ascend via Grains Gill rather than branch off for Sty Head.  This was a very pleasant walk along an increasingly vibrant stream, and we took a couple of rest/food stops along here.  Drink stops were abolished though, as two days previously, I had invested in bladders and drinking tubes for our rucksacks.   These turned out to be extremely convenient, allowing the water to be taken little and often preventing dehydration, and were much easier to pack efficiently compared to bottles.  However, Jimmy didn't really get the hang of the "little and often" concept, and on three out of the four days had guzzled his two litres on the ascent alone!  I found that I was only using 500 to 800mls on my ascents, so there was enough left to share on the descents.

Jimmy on top of the World!    SOTA Beam on Scafell Pike    Tom MX1SWL/P activating from Scafell Pike G/LD-001

At the top of Grains Gill, we branched left for Esk Hause, and I was now on the same path for this section as I had used last year.  We negotiated the boulder field by Broad Crag and finally the steep ascent to the summit from the mini-coll where our route met the Corridor Route.  The summit was very busy, but most were congregated around the trig point, so we took our pick of the many shelters and ended up in the same one as last year.

    Tom and Jimmy at the trig on Scafell Pike        The tallest man in England?

I spent just over 20 minutes on air and made 9 contacts on 2m FM.  Having heard from Roger MW0IDX and Rob G4RQJ about the storm, torrential rain, strong wind and static crashes all heading my way, it was not the time to be hanging around.  We had enjoyed lovely weather all day, and the view was completely clear from the summit, but we didn't wish to be lulled into a false sense of security.  We got on our way, and only halfway to Esk Hause the rain started and the waterproofs were on.  However, that was as bad as it got, and I can only assume that the worst of it didn't make it over the top of Scafell Pike, which was certainly sheltering us from the strong south-westerly wind the more we descended.

We reached the car by about 6pm, returned to the campsite for a shower and change, and then to the Riverside Bar at the Scafell Hotel.  Tonight we opted for starters rather than puddings, with Jimmy having the chicken liver pate, and me opting for the smoked trout.  I then had an excellent homemade steak & kidney pie with huge chunks of steak, while Jimmy had the Cumbrian gammon steak with egg.  I started to worry, remembering the "Eggs & Gammon" sketch from John Shuttleworth's 500 Bus Stops, but two pints of Theakston Old Peculiar washed this down very nicely, and we chatted with a couple from Colne who had done a circular walk including Catseye Cam and High Spy, although they never mentioned Helvellyn!

Tonight's radio sleep-set choice in the tent was BBC Radio 4 on VHF, with a programme about Mars.  

Thanks to the following stations, all worked on 2m FM (using MX1SWL/P - ISWL club callsign) with 2.5 watts:

MW0IDX/M Rhos-on-Sea Roger
GW3GUX Anglesey John
G0MJG Crosby Stuart
2E0NHM Warton Nigel
2E0HJD Clitheroe Mick
G4RQJ Walney Island Rob
G4BLH Brierfield Mike
G7EGQ Dalton-in-Furness Ian