A Scotsman captured by the Lakes

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t biased towards the mountains of Scotland, particularly the Munros. The Munros are the highest and the grandest in the UK in my opinion.  Discounting the dull hills in Drumochter the variety on offer is huge,  from the majestic Cairngorms to the Craggy Sgurr’s in the West. But that’s enough about Scotland!

During a six and a half year stint doing the Munros, nowhere south of the Border made it onto my radar. But two weeks after my compleation this was about to change. I was invited on an impromptu trip down to the Lake District. The invite was accepted.

Day 1 saw us parked up at Eskdale, the quieter side of the two Scafell’s. We took in Ill Crag, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Scafell. Scafell Pike was pretty busy as is to be expected for England’s highest mountain. However we pretty much got Scafell to ourselves, the nicer of the two Scafell’s in my opinion.

Scafell Pike from the summit of Scafell

My first thoughts of The Lake District were that the mountains are similar to the Southern Highlands, say around Arrochar and Crianlarich. Grassy approaches but more craggy further up.  In contrast the valleys were more manicured with pretty farms and quaint villages.

Warning sign before driving up the Hardknott Pass.

On the second day, we got an absolute cracker on Helvellyn. But it was a noisy mountain to say the least. Not a walk to do if you’re after some solitude. Nevertheless Striding Edge was enjoyable but a bit lukewarm if you enjoy a bit of hands on scrambling. Probably on a comparison to the Carn Mor Dearg Arete for difficulty.

Striding Edge with Helvellyn behind.

I shared a trip report for this on my favourite hill walking website, ScottishHills:

http://www.scottishhills.com/html/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=17683

I returned home to Edinburgh having enjoyed my first foray into the Lake District. Promised myself to return again, but nothing to do with the Furths of course.

I returned to the Lake District just two weeks ago. A meet that was organised over on ScottishHills. A last-minute decision had me booking a bed in Borrowdale Youth hostel and scrambling to get myself a lift with the others who were already booked up.

Our next target was Skiddaw via Longside Edge picking up a selection of Wainwrights and erm… Birketts along the way. There was fresh snow from the night before and it was cold and blustery on the summit plateau of Skiddaw. It wasn’t a great day but good company on the hills meant you didn’t really notice the weather… much.

On Saturday we did the high level ridge walk from Gatesgarth taking in; Hay Stacks, High Crag, High Stile and Red PIke.

High Crag from Hay Stacks
a dusting of snow…

My right knee flared up the day before on Skiddaw, I was a bit worried about this walk but my knee was thankfully fine.

We returned back to the Youth Hostel, the others played table tennis in the games room but I bailed for an early night.. I must be getting old.

I was keen to head straight home on the Sunday morning, but the joys of car sharing means you are bound by the driver’s decision. As it happens I’m glad we didn’t go straight home. We eyed up Helm Crag, the only Lakeland fell requiring a scramble to reach the summit. This should be interesting… “The Lion and the Lamb”. Quite noticeable from the road as we arrived in Grasmere. Helm Crag is lower than my local hills in the Pentlands, but what Helm Crag lacks in height, it more than makes up for with the rocky appearance.

Rocky summit

The line up to the summit isn’t obvious, I scouted around for the best line before going for it.

The line up
Below the summit and the road below

I was glad to have my friend there shouting tips where the holds were on the way down. Down climbs have never been my strongest point. This would probably be a grade 2 scramble.

I got home later that night and although my heart will always be in Scotland when it comes to mountains, I have to admit that the Lake District has captured me. I will go back. Perhaps not in the height of season but early spring, autumn time when the Lakes are less busy. I think what I liked most is the compactness of the Lakes with a variety of different hills on offer without having to drive for miles. The motorway also means I can be down in The Lakes 3 hours flat. However, before I return to the Lakes I’ll be driving passed on the M6 to head to Wales and erm, Ireland. Furth Fever now!

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5 thoughts on “A Scotsman captured by the Lakes

  1. You certainly made the most of your weekend 🙂 I like the compactness and the variety in such a small area – I have to admit to being biaised in that the Lakes is still my favourite area no matter where else I go. The Lakes aren’t bad if you can get there in mid-week.

    I’ve also suddenly started with knee tendon problems 😦 After 30 years hard walking with no problems, I’m a bit surprised at that – I was thinking I had unproblematic legs for life! I’m working on building up the relevant muscles and trying to build up my distances and height gains gradually – I always get a bit unfit over winter as I don’t do enough (although I do keep on doing small hills).

    Snowdonia is superb – very rocky and dramatic 🙂

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