Scafell from Slight Side

Scafell, viewed from Slight Side

Height: 3162 feet above sea level. The second-highest Wainwright of all, and the second-highest mountain in England.

Volume: Book 4 (The Southern Fells).

Date climbed: 3rd July 2010 (walk 20b)

Scafell Crag

Scafell Crag, from the final slope up to the nearby Scafell Pike. Picture taken on 19th May 2012, walk 56.

Bagged as number: 67 out of 330. [ << Lingmell (66)  (68) Slight Side >> ]

Route of ascent and descent:  Having climbed Lingmell, I skirted the western face of Scafell Pike to reach Mickledore then ascended from there. However, a climb of Broad Stand, immediately ahead, is impossible, and Lord’s Rake looked far too difficult [and is currently not recommended for walkers] so I ended up going down the side of the East Buttress and then ascending via Foxes Tarn.  (For pictures of Broad Stand and Lord’s Rake see the walk 20b page.)

Descended by the ridge going down to Slight Side then Eskdale.

Scafell, above Miterdale

Scafell, above Miterdale. Wainwright says of this valley (on page Whin Rigg 3) – “it is extraordinary how Scafell dominates the head of the valley exclusively, as if it were solitary, like a Matterhorn”.

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 2 of his chapter): “Many folk… even with the added knowledge that the main [Scafell] Pike is not only higher but actually the highest land in the country, share the old opinion that Scafell is the superior mountain of the group. This respect is inspired not by the huge western flank going down to Wasdale nor by the broad southern slopes ending in the Eskdale foothills but rather by the towering rampart of shadowed crags facing north and east below the summit, the greatest display of natural grandeur in the district, a spectacle of massive strength and savage wildness but without beauty, an awesome and a humbling scene.”

Scafell summit

The summit of Scafell. Scafell Pike – the only higher ground in England – is visible in the background.

What I say: There were times on the ascent of this fell when I was feeling very thankful for the fact that subsequently I would never have to climb it again. None of the routes from Mickledore up to the summit are anything less than strenuous. This is hardly surprising when faced by the huge mass of Scafell Crag rising up from Mickledore, a sight I did not fully see due to cloud (though had I done so I think the whole place would have been even more intimidating).

I am still struggling to feel positive about the fell but as I said in the walk commentary – it is the second-highest mountain in England – and should not be expected to be easy. Memorable, yes. I’ll give it that.

Scafell in dusting of snow

Scafell seen with a dusting of snow (in May) on walk 96. Cam Spout crags are prominent lower down.

This last photo was taken from more or less the same point, on Dow Crag, on walk 25, 24/9/10.

Scafell and Slight Side, viewed through rainbow

Scafell and Slight Side, viewed from Dow Crag: 12.30pm, 24/9/10

[ << Sallows       Scafell Pike >> ]

One Response to “Scafell”

  1. […] — walk 180 — a fine little prelude to what was intended to be further explorations up Scafell, at […]

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