A busy September on Scafell Pike?

September is often a popular time to spend walking in the Lake District and the first half of this month has been no exception.  With children back at school, there are fewer families around and many folk wait until now when it's quieter to visit the Lakes for some fell-walking.  If you're lucky enough not to be restricted by school holidays, accommodation is far cheaper and the weather generally seems to be much more settled.   Certainly during the past two weeks it seems we have had less rain than throughout the rest of the summer put together, and the frequent sunny days have made it a pleasure to be out.   Between us,  Mark and I have been on Scafell Pike 6 times over the past week and only once have I had to put waterproofs on! 

Four of these trips up Scafell Pike were early morning or late evening walks, all part of Three Peaks Challenges (we were working for various companies on these - Highpoint Mountain Guides, Raw Adventures and Advocate Adventures).  The one I did during the early hours of Thursday morning was beautifully quiet for much of the way - we only passed a couple of other groups out doing the challenge.  It was only when we were descending the Brown Tongue path below Hollowstones that it started to become busy with folk...out  to enjoy a beautiful sunny day in the fells.

By contrast the weekend 'Three Peaks' ascents were considerably busier with a great many teams out, almost all of them raising money for charities.  Driving down Wasdale in the dark I could see many headtorches on the mountain. The Lake Head National Trust car park was also very busy with teams leaving and setting off.  I set off with my group at first light and met lots of teams on their way down from the summit but there were also many just starting the ascent like ourselves.  It was good to see that there are now many organisers of these events (including the ones we worked for) who have looked into encouraging changes to itineraries and logistics to fit in with the codes of practice.  The Three Peaks code of practice became necessary due to the many thousands attempting this challenge every year, and the impact they are having on the local and mountain environment, especially in Wasdale.  For example starting from Lake Head National Trust car park and also not ascending the mountain between the hours of 11pm and 6pm is a small way of minimising the impact these events can have on the local residents. Litter did not seem to be as bad as on previous occasions although there were still many banana skins lying around - did you know that it can take up to 2 years for a banana skin to biodegrade in the mountain environment?  We always encourage our clients to 'leave no trace' which means that absolutely everything you take out with you in the mountains, returns with you at the end of the day!


Styhead Tarn looking towards Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Lingmell

We also had two fantastic 'day' walks up Scafell Pike.  I had a wonderful day out on Tuesday...walking up from Seathwaite, Borrowdale with Linda, who was up from London and on a personal challenge to get to the summit!  It was beautifully sunny and a fairly quiet day. We ascended via Styhead Tarn and the Corridor route, had lunch on the summit whilst enjoying the fabulous views and then made the walk circular by descending down to Esk Hause and Ruddy Gill.  

Mark was out with George on Monday, an 80 year old who was full of many interesting stories and advice about life and times gone by.  George was an inspiration...very active and fit for his age, passing many younger people on his way up the mountain!  


Herdwicks in Wasdale

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