A wonderful wander around and on the Scafell massif

wild camping, Yewbarrow, Lake District
Camping on Yewbarrow, Lake District.

Well, I’m back home and settled after a fab week in the Lake District working on ‘Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike’. As usual, I timed my trip out just right to catch some fine weather for the North West of England. Much of the time was spent hiking and filming under clear blue skies and very warm temperatures with hardly a breeze.

If anything it took me time to adjust to the warm climes compared to the cold I experienced not so long ago up in the Cairngorms! It may have slowed me down a little but thankfully the days are long now which ensured I stuck to my planned routes and mileage.
Essentially, I did a snaking circuit around the Scafell massif over 7 days – with the odd detour into the fabulous Great Moss, Mickledore and elsewhere before finishing off in Keswick after setting off from Great Langdale at the beginning of the trip.
I must admit, after spending so much time in the Cairngorms recently it felt rather unreal to be wandering around this wonderful (and arguably best) part of the Lake District. The scale of the place just doesn’t compare to the Eastern Highlands but it’s no less something to behold on the eyes and soul. Where the Lakes loses out on scale, it certainly makes up for with beauty – it truly is a picturesque place and despite it’s popularity, the route I followed ensured I was always away from the crowds. On two days I encountered no more than 5 people!
Something else that struck me – or served to remind me I should say – is how the ever-changing light and weather dances around these fells of Northern England. Regularly revealing new sights and moods from the very same spot you may well be lingering. And as a result I spent quite some time just hanging around one vantage point observing and admiring a view as it sparkled under the sun one minute, to being atmospherically shrouded by breaking cloud the next. The effect being a living landscape painting constantly morphing into something new and different.
For shelter, I decided to take out the Terra Nova Competition Tarp 1 and combined this with a Rab Survival Zone bivvy – the latter being a water-resistant sleeping bag cover, which I chose to use just in case the odd splash of rain managed to reach my down sleeping bag. For all of the trip I stuck with the simple ‘lean to’ configuration for the tarp as there wasn’t much wind at all.
However, it did make me vulnerable to the odd midge storm. Saying that, one evening I was slapping on some aloe vera after sun cream and to my surprise noticed that any midges about stayed well clear of me! They didn’t even attempt to crawl on me. It was like I had a 2-3 foot halo of midges around me once I put the cream on. Normally, I’d use Avon’s So Soft (?) and this tends to prevent any bites but not the little black bastards from crawling all over you. I had forgot to pack some, so I was thrilled to learn how effective this after sun cream was!
I did use a tent too for a couple of nights. I had intended to leave the tent (and collect on another trip) at the campsite in Langdale but the staff were so busy with the half-term holiday crowds I chose to take it with me. Thankfully, the tent packs small and is very light and I have it up for sale in the previous blogpost.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip and very productive. You can view a video below which shows some of the scenes I captured on the trip. Which ones will make the final cut of the film, I don’t know. That’s a long way off yet. 
I’m also looking forward to returning to the area soon, as I’ll be hooking up with the local National Trust team as they set about working on some landscape restoration up on the Scafells. Some litter picking maybe on the cards too. But it will be nice to see how they go about dealing with the effects of Three Peaks Challengers that have now descended on the mountain. As much as I admire those who participate such events and the challenge involved – it also riles me the harm they do to routes such as Brown Tongue that climb Scafell Pike, the litter (inc human waste), path erosion and more to the area. I’m keen to show all sides of this particular argument. Should make for interesting viewing, no?
Other than that, speak soon and feel free to take a look at the video below and some photos I captured on this wonderful visit to the Western Lake District…..

Eskdale, Lake District
Looking to Eskdale from Hard Knott.
Wild camping, Hard Knott, Lake District. Vaude Power Tokee UL
Camp on Hard Knott with the Scafells as a backdrop.
Slight Side and Scafell, Lake District
Mean and moody Slight Side and Scafell from Hard Knott.
Sunset, Scafell, Lake District
The sunsets behind Slight Side.
Harter Fell, Lake District
Late evening light on Harter Fell.
Wastwater, Lake District
Looking to Illgill Head and Wastwater from Lingmell.
Wild camping, Lake District, Scafell
Camp on flanks of Lingmell looking to a brooding Scafell.
Sunset, Lingmell, Lake District
The sunsets as seen from camp on Lingmell.
Lingmell, sunset, Lake District
A fine sunset from camp on Lingmell.
Piers Ghyll, Lake District
Looking down into Piers Ghyll at dawn.
Scafell Pike, from Yewbarrow.
The Scafell massif as seen from Yewbarrow.
Wild camp, Terra Nova Competition Tarp 1, Lake District
Camp on Yewbarrow.
Burnmoor Tarn, Lake District
The view south from camp to Burnmoor Tarn.
Wastwater at dawn from Yewbarrow
Lovely Wastwater at sunset.
The screes as they tumble into Wastwater.
Scafell Pike from Wastwater, Lake District
The Scafells as seen from Wastwater.
Wasdale Head, Lake District
Wasdale Head as seen from Moses Trod on Great Gable.
Wild camping, Terra Nova Competition Tarp 1, Great Gable
Camp on a ledge near the Great Gable girdle traverse.
Scafell Pike, Lake District
Looking to Scafell Pike from camp.
Piers Ghyll, Scafell Pike, Lake District
Piers Ghyll cuts into the Scafell massif – at dawn.
Terra Nova Competition Tarp 1, wild camping, Scafell Pike
Camp at dawn looking to the Scafells.
Styhead Tarn, Lake District
Looking back to the Scafells from near Styhead Tarn.
Derwentwater, Lake District
Dawn on Derwentwater on the day of my departure.
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