Thu 13th Apr - Sun 16th Apr, 2023
Midge and John Castick
A well-attended and highly enjoyable meet at the newly refurbished Brackenclose hut. And refurbished it is! Those FRCC folk have done a cracking job of sympathetically rebuilding the partially destroyed hut to a high standard. Indeed, it must be the fanciest climbing hut in the UK. It felt like it had as many washrooms as guests!
It had been a wet week, but hopes were high the weekend would be dry enough to get some climbing done. Thurs seemed to be a little dry and Sean, Will and Mich went for an optimistic scramble around Middlefell (Wasdale). And despite the damp rock, an enjoyable afternoon was had.
As the forecast wasn’t so great for Friday, after much deliberation, a team walk was planned. Taking Yewbarrow from a path to the East to begin, then Red Pike, Black Crag and Pillar before looping back and finishing up at the Wasdale Head Inn for much needed refreshments. As the day progressed the skies cleared and climbing the day after looked increasingly likely.
On Saturday, Robert and Dave set out on a walk of their own, starting off up the tourist path to Hollow Stones. On the way, Dave spotted a rope in the rucksack of one of a pair of women heading up too. I asked them which crag they were heading for and it turned out to be Pikes Crag, to do "Grooved Arête" there - which was a route that others in our team had been looking at! From the main path, they went up the scree to get into Lord's
Rake and up to the summit of Scafell. Surprisingly, Robert said that he had never actually been there before. The summit, was a checkpoint for the Eskdale Fell Race, having arrived just as the first runners were going through.
They descended to Foxes Tarn, back up to Mickledore and joined the crowds on Scafell Pike, before walking down to Lingmell Coll. They Encountered a couple who were just coming down from Lingmell - but had thought they'd been on Great Gable!! They had realised their
mistake, however, having apparently turned the wrong way at the Sty Head mountain rescue box! Dave and Rob also, but intentionally, went up onto Lingmell. The descent back down the West ridge was nearly all on a good grassy path, far nicer than bashing down the tourist steps from Hollow Stones.
Andy, Stevie, Will and Sean made an early start, to take the long (easy) way round to Napes, While Stu, Caroline and Mich made a leisurely start in favour of the shorter, more energetic approach, which given the heat from the sun, almost proved fatal. Much appreciation was had for the miracle of lambing season enroute and sheep antics were to be the theme of the day.
Andy got on the Needle (VD) with Sean, while Stu, Caroline and Mich beat (for the record) Stevie and Will to Arrowhead Ridge (VD), but graciously let them go first, which, turned out to be for the best, as Stevie was called to sheep rescue action as soon as he summited. A sheep looked to have been stuck on a small ledge next to arrowhead ridge for some time. A chap had returned from spotting it the previous week with a length of 8mm cord to try to rescue the sheep. Of course, Stevie couldn’t resist helping and set about a precarious rescue attempt on semi belay. Doomed to failure, he eventually conceded defeat, but not before he had entertained everyone else on Arrowhead with his gallant heroics. Bypassing the show, Andy and Sean nipped up Pinnacle Ridge (M) to finish off. A quick scree decent, led back to the pub with the hope the others will get back to the hut to light the fire before us. At the pub, we met the ‘women climbers’, who Dave and Rob met earlier. They confirmed our suspicions that Grooved Arete needed another day to dry and that Napes was probably the better decision - especially given the additional sheep rescue action entertainment!
A roaring fire and surprise guests greeted us when we returned. I guess checking out the hut makeover was too much for Midge and John to miss out on too.
Sunday was a bit wet, but everyone made the most of it by getting out. Andy and Will summited Scafell via lords Rake west wall traverse and deep ghyll. Intending to climb, but the weather had other ideas. After much guidebook scrutiny (over peraps one too many coffee's) Stu, Stevie, Dave and Mich had a potter up to Illgill Head and back.
Thanks everyone for a great weekend! Lots of mileage on the hill and laughs along the way!
Lakes meet Brackenclose2
April 13th – 16th
Recently restored and reopened Brackenclose2 is the perfect base for the high crags and tops of the Scafells, Great Gable and Pillar are all within striking distance for both climbing and walking. When these are out of condition, Buckbarrow or Wallabarrow in Duddon valley provide good sport for climbers and walkers can explore the lower tops and side valleys or St Bees on the coast.
£12 per night payable in advance please.