Three Peaks Day 3 – Scafell Pike, Cumbria

Over night we’d travelled from Fort William in Scotland, to a place in the peak district of England. We weren’t starting as close to our target mountain as the previous day so we didn’t get such an early start. The start of the day was cloudy and wet, although not raining, so we made sure we’d started out fully kitted out again and started our climb. It’s a fair walk from the starting point until you actually start to climb and involves crossing streams with fast, rushing water – obviously something to be careful in doing as you wouldn’t want to slip before you’ve even started in earnest.

One of the milder streams

To reach the start of the snow didn’t take as long as the previous day, but this time we didn’t have a guide or crampons – we had to rely on ourselves to get to the top. Going it alone (well not really alone as there were seven of us again) it’s really essential that you take the easier path in this sort of weather. The “easy” path is relatively gentle climb which winds round the back of the mountain, in the photo below you can see the quicker, more direct route. To give you an idea of the madness of that route you may notice two men and a dog whom appear as specks in the bottom left hand corner.

Snowy peaks, Scafell Pike

This slower, winding path is still hard work as the snow gets deeper and it becomes harder to tell which route is the best to take due to a scattering of rocks protruding out of the snow. This mountain was colder due to the presence of wind and the familiar experience of sporadic fog. This fog actually proved to be a bit of a problem the closer we got to the top. Some of us were able to take the mountain a little faster than the others and had ended up about 10 to 20 metres in front of the others. Looking back we thought we could see them so kept going, alas it was another group and the rest of our group were lagging further behind, unsure of where we had gone with no map for themselves.

We reached the summit without realising they were still 5 minutes behind us, and when they arrived they were initially furious at us for leaving them behind. I think they realised we never meant for it to happen, and moments after we were all enjoying being at the summit. Sadly the conditions at the top of this mountain weren’t the same as Ben Nevis – this mountain had a biting wind which meant any lengthy stay at the top would have been a bad idea. We took our compulsory photographs from the summit and of the trig point and made our way back down.

Having had the opportunity to slide down Ben Nevis we decided we’d try and do the same down Scafell Pike. Sadly the snow didn’t have the same smoothness to it which meant it didn’t really help us get down the mountain any faster. It was a fairly uneventful descent getting down past the snow, over the rocks and crossing the stream. However we somehow managed to take a wrong turn and ended up walking down across a field and along a bridle way. It was a slightly longer path but it was a pleasant walk.

Leaving Scafell Pike behind us…

Thankfully at the bottom of this mountain is a pub that serves hot food so although we couldn’t get the Sunday roast we had hoped for we did manage to get warmed up and ready for the drive to Wales. The last part of this descent wasn’t easy for me either due to the blister I’d gotten from the previous day having gotten worse during this second descent.

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