As it's the highest mountain in England, and a mighty fine mountain too, it makes a lot of sense that many want to stand on its rocky summit and soak up the views.
On a clear, calm, summers day reaching the summit is pretty straightforward, but as Andy & Simon witnessed yesterday, those benign conditions can rapidly change and the landscape quickly becomes disorientating.
We set off from the Wasdale Head Inn and followed the Brown Tongue route to Hollow Stones. From here we decided to head for Mickledore, this allowed to us watch the rock climbers high up on Scafell crag. The ground on the approach to Mickledore is loose and makes for tiring progress, once in the gully it's possible to use hands to help with the ascent as the ground is still loose and requires care. Whilst we were in there a walker took a tumble, we were able to assist and ensure they made it safely through the gully.
Once at Mickledore col, we rested and soaked up the extensive view over the Great Moss and into Eskdale. Soon cloud began to build and Scafell Crag disappeared as did the summit plateau of Scafell Pike. Even though I know the terrain up there vey well, I took the precaution of setting the compass and kept a close eye on the bearing as we progressed towards the summit. A number of other walkers had decided to follow us to the top as they didn't know where they were!
Andy & Simon didn't need to worry at all about that, rather they could enjoy the experience, safe in the knowledge that a local guide would take care of all the navigation on their behalf.
The summit remained shrouded in thick cloud and we had torrential rain for a while (this was quite pleasant). The distance rumble of thunder caused us to keep moving in case a storm should come our way.
Soon we were back out of the cloud, in warm sunshine and enjoying wonderful views of Wast Water. The thunder occasionally rumbled, but wasn't nearby and if anything was moving away from us, this allowed us to relax and take a steady pace back to the Wasdale valley, chatting about geology, farming, lakes, and flowers as we went.
Thanks Andy & Simon and good luck with Ben Nevis