Saturday 6 December 2008

Trip Report: Lingmel & Scafell Pike – Day Two

By 5am I was wide awake and itching to get up like a child on Christmas Day. It wasn’t just excitement, I needed the loo.

There was ice on the inside of tent fly which wasn’t filling me with much motivation to leave my cosy sleeping bag. The alarm finally went off at 6.30 and we gingerly got out of the bags for an 800m toilet break. My shoes had completely frozen and putting my warm feet inside wasn’t a feeling I relished!

big_agnes_frostA cold early start

The plan was to leave the tent pitched and take just what we needed to the summit of Scafell Pike. I think Paul and I were attached to our Cumulus sleeping bags because despite the fact we agreed that the tent (and the gear in it) would be safe, these were the only items we refused to leave behind!

We could tell we would be cutting it fine for sunrise if we didn’t get a move on so we set off at around 7am. The snow made the track a little difficult to see, especially in the low light. We picked our way to the top and it became obvious we were just on time for sunrise as we approached the summit shelter.

dawn_walking The summit approach

I’d not seen anything like it before. I’ve seen sunrise and sunsets in some beautiful places but from the mountains it has its own character. Our timing was jammy and the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. We just stood there and watched and for a change it was a while before one us said something ridiculous.

sunrise_silhouette Paul’s spooky silhouette

It was simply stunning and the light just kept getting better and better. I wished I’d brought my SLR but in hindsight it wouldn’t have liked the temperatures we were experiencing and I just made do with the N82. Paul and I were firing off pictures and recording video like it was our last night on earth!

Scafell_pike_sunrise My ugly mug ruining a perfectly good shot

The view from the top was endless. We had unrestricted views in all directions and I can’t imagine how many times we’d have to go back to get anything like it again.

Sunlight_on-ScafellsSunrise on the Scafells

We took shelter from the wind and made the highest cup of tea in England! It was so cold the sweat in my gloves had frozen having only removed them minutes before. We spent about an hour enjoying the views and watching the light change before we headed back down to see if our tent had been ransacked by Lakeland bears!

Everything had gone perfectly and every view we saw was of pure wintry goodness. As we looked down onto Lingmel the size of our neighbours became more apparent than it had seemed from down there the day before.

winter_wonderland Descending the winter landscape

I treasured the whole descent and wished I didn’t have to leave. We could see the fog coming in from the west as the forecast had predicted. I think this was the point when I became a bit feral and the thought of the office gave me a feeling of dread. I began to understand that none of that stuff is real, its just the lives we make for ourselves and as easily as it is created it can be undone. Looking out to the west I just stood and pondered, taking in every last detail of just being there. This is a beautiful country.

absorb_landscape The life we make for ourselves


Ron Bloomquist said...

Excellent report!!
Awesome photos.
Overcoming your reluctance was well rewarded!

Yes indeed, "The lives we make for ourselves".

Marcus said...

Cheers Ron. It was an unforgettable trip.

Hope all is well with you.

Nigel Gray said...

Sounds and looks like a fantastic trip!

Always enjoy reading your blog. It's inspiring me to sort out my first winter walk in N.Wales at New Year.

Interested in how prepared you guys were for the snow. Did you take ice-axe and crampons?

Marcus said...

Hi Nigel and thanks for your comments.

It was a grade A time and I would recommend it to anyone. In terms of equipment for the snow, we didn't need ice axes or crampons and I just wore my trail shoes as opposed to my winter boots.

It would depend on where you're going and the conditions running up to and during your trip. The key factors will be weather and terrain.

I look forward to hearing about your trip and of course the photos!
P.S. Congrats on the wedding by the way.

DarkTrail said...

Can I ask what the aspect ratio is of that absorb_landscape photo? Nice pictures.

Marcus said...


That was a crop taken from a full size image - hence the strange aspect ratio! Simple but effective.