Wainwright Walks 23: Sleepless on Scafell Pike

Hills:Scafell Pike, Lingmell
Wainwrights: 58 and 59
Time: ugh, don’t ask.
Weather: okay, though clag at the summit
Conditions underfoot: dry. Good paths throughout except for the descent off Lingmell. Stony/ bouldery terrain in part.
Who: me and the mountaineering minion
MWIS accuracy: medium. 80% cloud free and dry in the west translated to very light rain and some clag which blew in and out
Post walk watering hole: The Unicorn, Ambleside
Post walk drink: Merlot

What would make the ideal training regime for climbing England’s highest mountain? Probably something involving trips to the gym, shorter walks, etc… the sort of thing a sensible person would do. However, my training regime for this one was pretty much every bit as haphazard as my preparation for climbing the highest mountains in Scotland (Ben Nevis in 2010) and Wales (Snowdon in 2011).

My preparation for Ben Nevis went as follows: have a hectic week at work, trying to cram 5 days work into 4. Drive from London to my parents in Birmingham on the Thursday night. Drive from Birmingham to the Lake District on the Friday morning. Belt up Skiddaw in record time (for me) on the Friday afternoon. Drive to Scotland. Pick up Stuart from delayed plane at 11pm. Drive back to his parents. Get about 4 hours sleep at best getting up at 4am in order to get to the Torlundy car park for 9am for a friend’s compleation. Do Ben Nevis via the CMD arête in dodgy weather and see nothing from the top.. Snowdon was at least slightly better in that I managed about 5 hours sleep rather than 4 after a hellish drive to where my walking club was staying and I ended up plodding up the Pyg track on adrenalin and seeing nothing from the top apart from hordes of people – busiest summit I have ever seen by a mile.

As to Scafell Pike. I had booked a Friday off work at last minute to take advantage of a supposed weather window. I did not particularly want to do Scafell Pike on a weekend due to the crowds that might involve and with June also being the peak month (pun not intentional) for Three Peaks attempts a weekday blast seemed sensible. I had booked myself into a Travelodge on the Thursday night on the motorway just south of Kendal and B&B in a pub in Ambleside on the Friday night. For once there was no transport debacle as I had a pretty clear run up the motorway (although driving through a thunderstorm was not something I can say I particularly enjoyed). So what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading