Lingmell To Slight Side via The Scafell’s

4th September 2011

This walk or climb wasn’t on the schedule today at all, for today I had my mind set on Whin Rigg & lllgill Head just near by.

I really must stop planning future walks because all I seem to do recently is change my mind on the last minute.

So, as it goes I was really looking forward to some big views from the ridge that together forms Whin Rigg & lllgill Head in Wasdale, the amount of times I have gazed upon its rugged steep screes that then buries itself into the unknown that is Wast Water is un-countable. I have saved some walks towards the end of my campaign for many reasons, some for the kick up the self belief backside that I can actually do them, & other reasons, just because I want to do them-as if to save some of the best until last, lllgill head was one of these.

The weather report couldn’t of been more perfect for an assault on the southern fells if it had tried, I said goodbye to my wife that morning at her half asleep un-consciousness & said, its lllgill or the Scafells.

The Scafell trip had been planned for many many months, a couple of times it had been a wash out & a weekends camping cancelled, others for my own personal reasons as of late that questioned ones own integrity if I had it in me to assault Englands highest with the previous months costing’s that had burdened my shoulders as of late.

Wainwright Guidebook
The Southern Fells

A hill is smooth, a mountain is rough, in the case of Scafell Pike, opinions must agree that here is a mountain without doubt, and a mountain that is, moreover, every inch a mountain. Roughness and ruggedness are the necessary attributes, and the Pike has these in greater measure than other high ground in the country – which is just as it should be, for there is no higher ground than this.


Ascent: 4,500 Feet, 1,372 Meters
Wainwrights: 4, Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Sca Fell & Slight Side
Weather: Clear Bright & Sunny, Light Winds, Highs Of 17° Lows Of 11°
Parking: Wasdale Head Camp Site
Area: Southern
Miles: 9.7
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL7
Time Taken: 7 hours
Route: Brackenclose, Lingmell, Lingmell Col, Scafell Pike, Lords Rake, Sca Fell, Long Green, Slight Side, Quagrigg Moss, Broad Tongue, Burnmoor Tarn, Wasdale Head

Map and Photo Gallery



Kirk Fell, from Down In The Vale.

In my eagerness to get onto the fell side little did I realise that I had left my Sat-Nav stuck on the windscreen & still plugged in, as I got back to the car hours later that it owes to the  that  fact that we are all equals here in Wasdale today.


In the shade of Lingmell as I cross Lingmell Beck, the beck here was pretty fast moving & I’m putting this down to the previous nights rainfall.


Big beautiful blue skies as I find myself looking up the steep path of Lingmell, it was here I passed on my ‘good mornings’ to a few people taking in the views & getting ready for their ascents on Lingmell or Scafell Pike, one of whom a chap that had followed me in from the CP at Wasdale Head was Shaun, a fellow I was later to meet up with on our ascents on Scafell pike.

There’s no doubt about it, just like Kirk Fell geographically Lingmell has a steep grassy incline & scree slope towards the top shoulder of Goat crags, I took my time here & found the ascent quite enjoyable.


Yewbarrow from my ascent.


Cloud reflections on Wast Water.

To the left my intended walk of lllgill Head & to the right is Middle Fell.


Nearing the rocky section of Goat Crags & the shoulder of Lingmell, there was a great path that cut through the loose rock & scree here.


Burst of sunlight over the Scafell’s & Hollow Stones.

You can see just how much rain has fallen over the past 24hrs with Lingmell Gill looking quite swollen.


The valley of Mosedale of which I have fond memories from my summits of all the peaks you see here in one exhausting day. L to R we have Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Windy Gap & finally Pillar.


Wonderful views down the steep path towards lllgill Head & Wast Water.


On what I can only describe as the summit shoulder of Lingmell, with Lingmell Crags dead ahead & its summit this was a nice section of the walk after the steepness of the first part of the climb. The two people you see behind me in the previous picture only made it to this cairn & then turned right towards Lingmell Col, I could only imagine that they thought this was the main summit cairn or they had summated Lingmell before, but guessing from the conversation I had with them at the start of the ascent I’m guessing they thought this was the summit, the guy out of the couple asked me was this Lingmell as he was looking at his map from the wrong page or upside down I cant quite remember, shame they didn’t make the summit though.


Rugged Beauty.


Lingmell’s huge summit cairn with Great Gable in the background.


Great End, Piers Gill & Broad Crag seen from the summit of Lingmell.


Piers Gill.

Piers Gill is a spectacle that I have always wanted to view & perched on the summit of Lingmell I am at gasp at the landscape it divides.

Although I am at awe at this amazing view-in my eagerness to press on I fail to make my way over to the north cairn & take in the full view of Piers Gill.


Great Gable & Styhead Tarn from Lingmell.


Lingmell Col.

It was here a conscious decision was to be made on how I was going to get over to Sca Fell, I had it in my head that I wasn’t fully prepared for a full on assault of Lords Rake as I didn’t quite feel gutsy enough…or did I?


Commanding views all over the western, north & north western Lakeland from the main summit path on Scafell Pike.

It was here I met back up with Shaun, he waited for me as I caught him up from Lingmell Col for just a minute or so, he explained to me that he had-had a slow ascent on the path from Brown Tongue due to the fact that Lingmell Beck had swollen the main path & he & others had to take of their boots & make their way around somehow, here Shaun explained that he tried to help a woman walker cross the swollen beck only to find that in the end after putting her boots back on she then did a nice job of filling them with water, I smirked to myself & thought, I know how that feels. We carried on the path towards Scafell’s summit & chatted about our passion for Lakeland.


A great guy, so much was his passion for the fells he travelled all the way up from London where he lives to spend a week in Lakeland.


Scafell Pike summit shelter & Trig Point.

This rough & desolate summit is, after all, just as it should be, and none of us would really want it different. A smooth green promenade here would be wrong. This is the summit of England, and it is fittingly that it should be sturdy and rugged and strong.

  Alfred Wainwright.


Views all the way down to Borrowdale & Derwent Water from Scafell Pike.


Looking South towards Bow Fell & Esk Pike with The Langdales in the background. it really is a day for summit spotting, It was here I said farewell to Shaun & wished him well for the rest of the day, I recommended Lingmell as a good descent for him as he didn’t quite fancy a soaking from Lingmell Beck again.


I follow two guys down from Scafell Pike to Mickledore yet they seemed to be in a hurry for some reason, I note them descending Broad Stand as I take in this wonderful landscape, I say to myself ‘I cant believe that I am on Mickledore’, its been a long time looking at the maps at you’.


While in thought & general giddiness I have just had a chat with these two gents on there way up to Scafell Pike from Eskdale via Broad Stand. Two really down to earth gents explaining there night spent rough camping on the banks of the River Esk somewhere in between Scar Lathing & Cam Sprout, what they said next makes my jaw drop. It was about 01:30am & lashing it down, I mean-lashing it down, I’ve never seen dark like it, after a few bottles of Bud each we bed down for the night, The older bloke out of the two fell asleep with his head torch on… This was probably going to save a few youngsters that evening. He was awakened not long after by five freezing cold, wet & petrified twenty odd year olds who had gotten themselves lost on a descent from Scafell Pike & where in search of Eskdale, We followed the light they explained (his head torch) I asked him what was they were doing on Scafell so late, Three Peakers I asked? nope, I don’t know, they didn’t say, I pointed them in the right direction (none of them had torches) as they made there way down into Eskdale & that was the last we heard of em.

This, a story of stupidest beyond reach, & is not what I wanted to hear as I contemplated my next move.


Broad Stand &  Great Moss from the Mickledore Ridge.


Lords Rake from the Mickledore Ridge.

My mind is made up.


I sense a slight wobble in my legs as I near the bottom of the Rake, I put this down to pre-nerves & thankfully after a little ‘big me up’ chat to myself I am fine & start the climb.


My route up Lords Rake.

I initially head for the centre of the gully to try & get a feel for the rock & scree under foot as it soon becomes apparent that most of all the larger boulders had fallen to the foot of the gully, even though the larger of the rocks are found here they still move with minimum ease, its only the ones I suppose I choose that I know will support my footings that I take great care & lean all my weight into the climb towards the left wall & trust my support on the larger well formed rocks.

It is true that; which ever route you choose up the rake you will cause rock fall & I was thankful no-one was behind me, my first thoughts about Lords Rake are that not of how steep it is, but how glad I was that no-one was following me.


Nearing the Chock-Stone at the top of Lords Rake.

I quote Wasdale Mountain Rescue: Only a piece of rock no bigger than the screen you are looking at is all that is holding that pillar up.

Daunting words from the experts as I contemplate my way around, I choose to go under the Chock-Stone pack & all with ease.


Looking back down Lords Rake with a huge smile on my face & not to mention a few ye-ha’s, The pictures I have published are the only ones I took while ascending the gully, I just deemed it to dangerous to try & hold the camera in a upright position without putting myself in danger.


Looking back on the Chock-Stone & the only section of rock holding it up.


Looking back on the second section & top of the first section of Lords Rake from the exit at Symonds Knott.


Scafell Pike from Sca Fell summit cairn.


And a close up of Scafell Pike’s summit shelter from Sca Fell’s summit with quite a few people on there by now.


Looking over Cam Sprout in the foreground with views towards Bow Fell (L) & Crinkle Crags (R)


After a quick bite to eat I now leave the boulder strewn summit of the Scafell’s behind & head along Long Green seen here in between my next summit of Slight Side at the far end of the ridge.


Slight Side summit cairn.

For such an imposing fell, especially seen from Eskdale I expected a little more than a small cairn on the summit of Slight Side. It was while on the summit that I strap my walking pole back to my pack, It had served me well today & as for something that I rarely get out & use I kinda stuck a bond to it today.

In taking my pack off which also meant un-hooking my trademark Bloc Billy sunglasses from a small hoop from where I keep them on the chest-strap of my pack, I put them down carefully on the summit, tie in my walking pole, shoulder my pack & head off leaving my second pair of Bloc Billy’s on the summit of a Mountain in Lakeland.



Sca Fell & Slight Side seen from a small un-named Tarn over looking Quagrigg Moss.

By now the sun was at its hottest & in some ways I was glad that this heat hadn’t hit me while on the Scafell’s as this would of been pretty uncomfortable, here I sit down on a small outcrop of Rock somewhere near the summit of Raven Crag & take in the atmosphere of this lonely un-named Tarn with only me & the birds as company. Bliss.


Burnmoor Tarn from my descent down Raven Crag.

I had always wanted to spend some time at Burnmoor Tarn & no more than today as a good spruce up was in order, I had now been walking for almost six hours & even though I had plenty of hydration I was in need of something colder, This came in the form of Oliver Gill which flows in between Raven Crag & Broad Tongue.


Ok Sharks you can stop posing now.

The only time I have truly felt the need to kneel down at the side of running water was last summer while traversing the Mosedale Round, a time I virtually bathed in Wast Water when I had ran out of hydration… this was the second time, & that cold Oliver Beck was like the first cold one going down on a summers evening.


The Waterfalls where Oliver Gill & Long Gill converge.


Kirk Fell, Great Gable & Lingmell as I make my descent back to Wasdale Head.

Today has been a day for conquering all sorts of feelings together with can’s, & can’t do’s, this works for me on so many different levels. Today I climbed two of England’s Highest Peaks, I traversed Lords Rake, something that I had been telling myself that I am a walker &  not a climber, I did all these in the face of one terrible month that I & my family had experienced, I did all this today on my own-of which I am immensely proud of myself if I don’t mind saying myself.


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