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An Unusual Ascent of the Scafell Pikes

Continued from last month's B.B.

Readers of last month's B.B. will recall that we left BOB CROSS on the top of Scafell Pike, England's loftiest spot.  We hope he has not got too cold by now, and you will be able to read how he gets down again.

One look at the mighty cairn, and you would swear MacAlpine's boys had built it.  Standing at this point, our eyes were drawn down the entire length of Borrowdale over Derwentwater and beyond to the majestic peaks of Skiddaw (3,054') and Blencathra (2,847').  Eastwards, we could see Bowfell, the Langdales and way beyond Windermere the broad mass of the Pennines with Great Coum, LeckFell and Ingleborough. In my opinion, however, the Pike does not give exceptional views.  Its neighbours, Great Gable and Bowfell both give better ones.

A mile and a half of rough going in a North-easterly direction brought us to Great End (2,9B4'). From here it was easy downhill going all the way via Esk Hause (it is pronounced 'house') to Angle Tarn.

Esk Hause is the name given to the col between Great End and Esk Pike and it carries the paths between Borrowdale and Eskdale.  Between Esk Hause and Allen Crags and about a hundred and fifty feet lower, runs the N.W./S.E. path between Langdale and Wastdale.  The crossroads are an old route centre for pack mules and are well marked on the ground.   Close by there are iron rings set into flat boulders that were once used for tethering mules.

At Angle Tarn, we noted a couple of tents pitched at the popular spot by the outfall.  A short ascent brought us to the head of Rossitt Gill, a feature of Lakeland I particularly dislike.  Up until now, I had been ignorant of the existence of an alternative, but Mike showed me an old mule track that branches Southwards under Bowfell, eventually reaching head of Mickleden on the south side of Rossitt Gill. I was glad of this bit of information and soon discovered a more gentle and comfortable descent.

Our last two miles lay along the wide strath of Mickleden to the Dungeon Gill Hotel and over Great Langdal Beck to the campsite.  Our walk had taken us up 5,500 ft of ascent and 12 miles in seven hours.