Wasdale to Borrowdale
Having weighed up whether to do the walk over Lingmell or chicken out and just take the easier option straight over Sty Head Pass from Wasdale, there was a certain irony in me ending up doing both. Here’s how it happened…I woke up in a more positive frame of mind, had a good breakfast and was on my way by 9, walking the 3 miles up to Wasdale Head. Cloud hung over the very top of Great Gable but the cloud was breaking and a small patch of blue sky sat over where Borrowdale was, as if to invite me forwards.
Reaching Wasdale Head, I headed up the ridge line of Lingmell, making slow but steady progress weighed down by my pack for the second day running. But I knew it was just a matter of being patient and gradually knocking off metre by metre. No one else was on Lingmell, the only feet apart from mine being people crossing the ridge to get from Wasdale Head to the Hollow Stones path up to Scafell Pike. A good choice, as that way you can see the summit all the way, as could I.
I stopped periodically to look behind me at the views of Wadale.
3 hours into the walk, I topped the mountain and looked at the panorama. To start with every 3000ft mountain in England – Skiddaw and family to the north, the entire Helvellyn ridge, Scafell and Scafell Pike of course. Nearby, Great Gable, Kirk Fell, Great End, Glaramara, Seathwaite Fell, and the Wastwater fells.
Below me in front of Great End and Broad Crag were my next objectives – Round How and Middleboot Knotts, both technically mountains, but only if you’re a peakbagger.
I descended, dumped my rucksack at the bottom of Greta Gill and ran up to bag Round How. Done. Same with Middleboot Knotts overlooking the ravine of Piers Gill. Then I started off on the Corridor Route down to Sty Head.
All was going well until I reached a bit where the path appeared to descend although there were people clambering about above. In hindsight clearly that was where the path was, despite the lack of sign of it. I descended and as I lost height something seemed wrong – I wasn’t making progress around Great End, just going down. As I neared 500m, the rough height of Sty Head, it was clear I’d gone badly wrong.
I tried contouring round but was met with ravines. I tried re-ascending to find the path – no luck. Reluctantly I descended to a level where I could contour around to the path up from Wasdale Head, then I began the 100m of re-ascent I’d wanted to avoid. I reached Sty Head and started down the path to Seathwaite, going at a huge pace to try to recover time and meet the 4pm bus in an hour or so. I got to the point I could see down to Seathwaite and could see it was hopeless. At this point I started to feel the pain in my feet, and my knees were also starting to protest about the jarring pace. I kept up the pace as best I could and when I hit the road at Seathwaite, up the pace went again as I desperately tried to make the next bus.
I arrived at the bus stop, checked the timetable, and collapsed to wait for the bus.
In Keswick I headed for the B&B I booked this morning, having decided I wanted a room to myself and a bit of comfort for one night. I think I can afford to write off the £14 for the hostel. Now I just need to decide what to do tomorrow. I could really do with a rest day but I’ve got to get to Glenridding. I think I’ll decide in the morning how I’ll get there.
Distance: 11.81 miles / 19km
Time: 6 hrs 42 mins
Speed: 1.76mph / 2.84kph
FES: 2.66 mph / 4.28 kph
Wainwrights (subtotal): 1 (24)
Nuttalls: 3 (13)
Hewitts: 1 (8)
Marilyns: 0 (4)
Trail 100s: 0 (1)
Birketts: 1 (41)
Points: 11 (148)