We had a choice of starting from Brotherikeld and walking through upper Eskdale or starting from Seathwaite and going up Grains Gill, and over Scafell Pike. As I'd not done Scafell Pike either, we finally decided to start from Seathwaite Farm.
We had a long walk ahead of us so we planned on getting to Seathwaite Farm for 8 am. I picked Richard up just before 7 am and we managed to get to the farm for 7.45 am; we were ahead of schedule.
We got wrapped up nice and warm and set off towards Stockley Bridge, which was the start of our ascent of Grains Gill; you get a good view of Allen Crags from here and there was plenty of snow on the tops.
Further up, Grains Gill becomes Ruddy Gill. Once we joined Ruddy Gill we started to get a good view of Great End, which looked lovely with all the snow. After we reached the base of Great End, with Sprinkling Tarn nearby, we turned left and followed the path towards Esk Hause.
It was very cloudy as we approached Esk Hause, however, the tops of Great Gable and Green Gable were basking in sunshine behind us. From Esk Hause, we continued along the path towards Ill Crag and Broad Crag. It was lovely walking through here as the snow was nice and crisp underfoot and the sun was out slightly; it was a perfect Winters day.
There weren't many people about that morning, but we saw a group a bit further ahead of us approaching Ill Crag.
Going over Ill Crag we couldn't see where the path went because of the snow, but we knew the direction we were heading. After walking over Ill Crag and Broad Crag, we came to a short steep section above Broad Crag Col, which eventually takes you to the summit of Scafell Pike; we spent a bit of time on the summit before moving on towards our final destination, Scafell.
We'd decided to do Lord's Rake which I was really looking forward to. I'd never done it before, and this was going to be in full Winter conditions, however, I was still very excited about the challenge of this route.
As we approached Mickledore we were amazed at the amount of snow that had collected on the ridge. From here, we took the Walkers Path which was extremely difficult and scary in these conditions; I took it really slow down here, so it took longer than planned to get to the start of Lord's Rake. With Richard leading the way, I found Lord's Rake a very enjoyable scramble although there was a lot of hard compacted ice, so it was tricky in places.
After a hard slog over the three sections of Lord's Rake, we eventually reached the summit of Scafell at approx 4.30 pm. At this point, it was time to get the tent up. It was difficult finding Richard's usual pitch in all the snow, but we found it eventually. It was then time to unpack, get warmed up and get a brew on.
After refuelling and settling down in our sleeping bags for the night, it started to get very windy outside. We always check the weather before venturing out, and the weather forecast said 6 mph winds throughout the night. It got to 10 pm, and we were just getting ready to sleep when the winds seemed to reach around 40 mph; the weather man was wrong this time.
The tent seemed to be fine so we weren't too worried at this point. Eventually, we managed to get to sleep for a short while, only to wake up with snow inside the tent. Around 12 am we got battered by extreme winds of what felt like 80 mph and the feeling that the pegs were going to be ripped out from the ground. I've never known winds like it, and even Richard said it's the worst he'd ever witnessed. We didn't get much sleep and ended up preparing ourselves for an emergency escape, just in case. We expected the tent to get destroyed, however, it survived through the night.
At 8 am, it was worse than ever so we packed up with no breakfast, and got off the summit as quickly as possible.
We made the decision to descend into Wasdale and do a slightly longer, but safer walk as our original plan was to come back down Lord's Rake; this was not an option in these conditions. It was a relief when we eventually got far enough down to be out of the wind.
We headed down Hollow Gill towards what Richard calls "Wobbly Bridge", which has got to be one of the nicest little bridges in The Lake District. From here, we followed the path along the valley bottom to Wasdale Head. We stopped at the benches outside Wasdale Inn, so we could unpack our rucksacks and try to get the tent dried out the best we could. We also got the stove going so we could refuel as we'd not yet eaten anything that morning.
Once finished here we followed the path towards Sty Head, we then followed Styhead Gill and down to Stockley bridge, before returning back to Seathwaite Farm at around 4 pm.
14 miles and 5500 feet of ascent
|Looking towards Allen Crags over Grains Beck|
|Looking back down Seathwaite|
|Looking back with blue skies over Great Gable and Green Gable|
|Richard doing a 'happy yay' at Esk Hause|
|Looking back towards Seathwaite from Esk Hause|
|Looking back towards Great Gable and Green Gable|
|Looking across towards Esk Pike|
|Clouds over Pike de Bield with Ill Crag on the right|
|Ill Crag in cloud|
|Looking back to Esk Pike|
|Richard approaching Ill Crag|
|Looking back towards Broad Crag, from the ascent of Scafell Pike|
|Summit of Scafell Pike|
|Scafell Pike Trig Point|
|Scafell Pike Shelter|
|Scafell over Mickledore|
|The 'Walker's Path' and Lord's Rake from Mickledore|
|Yewbarrow from Mickledore|
|Scafell Crag with Lord's Rake on the right|
|Walking across Mickledore|
|The highest point of Mickledore|
|Descending down the 'Walker's Path'|
|Looking back to Pulpit Rock and Scafell Pike|
|The first 'up' section of Lord's Rake|
|Ascending Lord's Rake|
|Chockstone on Lord's Rake|
|Last view from Scafell|
|Kirk Fell and Great Gable from Down in the Dale|
|Great Gable from Wasdale Head|
|Kirk Fell and Great Gable over Row Head|
|The Pillar group and Mosedale from Wasdale Head|
|Seathwaite Fell and Styhead Tarn|
|Base Brown over Styhead Beck|
|Base Brown from Greenhow Knott|