Wainwright No. 29 – 2,649ft (807m)
Its officially the start of the summer holidays. Having had a busy few days starting to turn our house into a home following a much needed IKEA delivery, Aunty Clare had kindly offered to have Megan and William for the night and entertain them at Lowther Castle the following day, allowing Lay and I to escape into the fells together for the first time in over six months. This was a much needed break from the stress of lockdown, homeschooling and moving house.
Having had a tip off about a lovely wild swimming spot, and wanting to keep clear of the staycation crowds that were dominant in all the main tourist hot-spots, we decided to head over to Wasdale and climb Lingmell – a decent peak that is largely overlooked as it neighbours Scafell Pike (England’s highest peak).
Having resisted the temptation to wild camp (given the numbers of people that were abusing the local beauty spots with their unsympathetic overnight stays) we set off early to guarantee being able to find a parking spot. Our forward planning paid off as we were one of the first vehicles to arrive at Wasdale Head NT car park.
Our ascent followed the main Scarfell Pike tourist path, handrailing Lingmell Gill for a couple of kilometres until it climbed out of the Gill and closer to the crags beneath Scafell where we could pick out Lords Rake gully and the distinctive steep edge of Mickledore, the narrow ridge that connects Scafell with Scafell Pike.
Once at Lingmell Col, we headed north west to gain Lingmell’s summit. A non-technical climb that was rewarded with great views of Scafell Pike and the nearby peaks of Broad Crag and Great End.
We debated climbing Scafell Pike as it seemed temptingly close. However, we decided that climbing the highest peak would be a fine way to mark the end of our 214 Wainwright bagging journey so left this for another day and headed off on the path that handrails Piers Gill (reportendly an accident blackspot).
Mindful of the steep drop into Piers Gill we meandered down the path until the ground became steeper around Middleboot Knotts and the short and sharp scrambling sections we encountered were a timely reminder to take our time and not fall victim to the routes reputation.
Once the ground leveled out, we set on a mission to find a secluded wild swim spot we had been tipped off about until we discovered a truly magical pool of crystal clear water with a double waterfall.
Despite the slight drizzle and cooler climate, we couldn’t resist a dip. The water was freezing, too deep to stand up in and swimming was a totally immersive experience.
We will have to return in more favourable conditions to make the most of this glorious location.
The return to Wasdale Head car park was via the well used bridleways with views of the flanks of the Gables (Great and Green) to the north and Lingmell to the south.
Surprisingly, Wasdale Head had not reached its capacity on our return, presumably the weather had deterred some from venturing into the hills.
Our return journey took us back over Birker Fell, a journey we have made on several occasions, noting the small ‘The Crosby Snack Shed’ – which is quite literally a cafe in the middle of no-where that is run out of a shed. We were thrilled to find it open on this occasion and stopped off to sample the wares. We were even more delighted to learn about the’Cake Cupboard’, which is a small cupboard on the site of the road that is stocked on a daily basis with cakes and fresh eggs that can be purchased using the honesty box. Never again will we have to drive past empty handed!!!
Its great to be back out doing the do again after lockdown. This is why we moved here, this is what makes us us. This IS the life!!