For some reason I wasn’t too scared of doing a section of the BG, but as I look back on yesterday, I know I should have been. Our projected time of 8 hours to do 23 miles, turned into almost 10 hours to finish 20 miles, and the route we walked and ran has quickly blurred into a never ending rollercoaster of steep climbs and sharp descents, peppered with every more climbs and a few rock scrambles. To be fair to the BG route, the section we did claims some of the worst rocky parts, but I’m sure the rest of it has its moments as well!
To start from the beginning, we made the climb out of Rosthwaite under cloudy skies up to Glaramara and Allen Crags, before joining onto the BG route. It was about at that point that we rose up into the clouds, and as it was also cold and windy, we skipped the summits of Great End, Ill Crag and Broad Crag, heading straight for Scafell Pike instead. And so I summited England’s highest peak. Skipping Scafell and the tricky rope crossing (uh, we had no rope), we descended straight down the valley to the top end of Wast Water reservoir. It was raining quite heavily on the descent, and under the meager shelter of the dripping trees, we stopped for a snack while looking up at the ominously steep climb to Yewbarrow.
We had covered 9 miles relatively easily at that point (if reaching the highest peak in a country could be called easy), and were at the end of the BG Leg 3. Leg 4 in its entirety waited for us as an obstacle to return to the car, but our route still led away from the comfort of four wheels. The climb up to Yewbarrow took almost a full hour, but at least the rain stopped and we could see sections of sunshine everywhere but where we were. Typical in the lakes, I reckon. Mike and his dual trekking poles was soon high above us climbing like a mountain goat. From the cairn at the top it was down again (surprise!) steeply to a saddle and then back up to Red Pike. Sheer cliffs along the edge of the trail rolled off into foggy depths. A choice of routes from Red Pike let us bypass an unseen Steeple and continue on to Pillar. I wasn’t arguing as I was slowly getting left behind on every climb by the guys, who were kind enough to wait at the top for me to come back into sight.
The fog slowly started to recede, and as we curved around to Pillar the top of Scafell Pike was almost out of the clouds. From there on, the day got nicer, the clouds lifted, and we were treated to the sight of the Lakes District in all its glory. Unfortunately for me, we could also see the remaining summits still far in the distance, including the mushroom top of Great Gable. First it was up and over Kirk Fell, which required a steep scramble up a crag, and then a more rounded path to the cairn. Great Gable awaited us after rest and nibbles inside the shelter cairn, and it looked a lot steeper from up there than it did at the foot of it, thankfully. Not that it wasn’t still steep…. By then I was thinking at some point that my legs would refuse to carry me either up or down, and wondering how I would get home if that happened!
Somehow I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and reached the top of the mushroom summit. With 360 degrees of clear views, we could see the islands of Scotland in the distance, and trace the line of peaks that made up the Bob Graham route, from distant Skiddaw to the ridge containing Helvellyn and back around to Scafell and the peaks we had just walked.
|Mike, trig point, Jarv|
|Bullet-shaped hail stones|
The Day’s Summits:
|Climbing the gully up to Kirk Fell (Photo courtesy of Mike)|
|Great Gable looming in the distance (to the left), and Scafell Pike in the clouds on the right|
|Jarv's attempt to show me Steeple summit without actually walking up to it (photo courtesy of Mike) |
I think this is actually to scale...
|View down from Yewbarrow|
|Yewbarrow on the right|
|Climbing up out of Rosthwaite|
|Below Green Gable summit|
|The hail piled up on Brandreth cairn|
|Scrambling up to Glaramara (Photo courtesy of Mike)|