Evading the clouds on Sca Fell

“We should definitely do Sca Fell,” I told Jen, “because the views are far better than from the Pike – and anyway we can walk straight from Boot” (where we were staying in Eskdale). Having bigged up Sca Fell on what was forecast to be a bright and sunny day, it was somewhat disheartening to see a thick layer of cloud enshrouding all the high tops! Jen took this philosophically – I was a little less inclined to do so…

Cloudy views towards Great How (front right) on the way up to Sca Fell.

Cloudy views towards Great How (front right) on the way up to Sca Fell.

As we plodded upwards we were tantalised by the clouds lifting and then descending, only to repeat the cycle. Nevertheless, when we got onto the main part of the mountain, the views across Upper Eskdale to Bow Fell and more distant peaks were impressive in themselves, even if the looming clouds gave a rather moody appearance…

Upper Eskdale from the ascent to Sca Fell

Upper Eskdale from the ascent to Sca Fell

Scafell Pike from Sca Fell

Scafell Pike from Sca Fell

With Jen at the top of Sca Fell

With Jen at the top of Sca Fell

Fortunately, the clouds finally lifted as we reached the summit ridge – the kind of timing that only rarely happens! Indeed the views got better the longer we stayed up at the top.

I was particularly relieved that, having talked Jen into going up Sca Fell, it lived up to – and exceeded – expectations. We lingered at the top for lunch, and the panorama in front of us provided plenty of opportunity to bag some photos.

View from Sca Fell across to Pillar (with the snowy cap) and Great Gable (looming front right)

View from Sca Fell across to Pillar (with the snowy cap) and Great Gable (looming front right), with Grasmoor (far right).

Wastwater from Sca Fell, with Yewbarrow on the right.

Wastwater from Sca Fell, with Yewbarrow on the right.

The return journey promised to be easier – except that the path, which was already very wet in places, was set to cross the marshy ground east of Burnmoor Tarn. (In fact we’d been warned about this by the manager of the Boot Inn the previous evening: if you get your feet soaked, he’d said, you’d only have to walk an hour to get back).

Burnmoor Tarn from Sca Fell, with Raven Crag on the left

Burnmoor Tarn from Sca Fell, with Raven Crag on the left

I did get my feet nicely soaked – but much higher up on the mountainside, and in the end we were able to navigate through the marshland fairly easily.

Sca Fell from Burnmoor Tarn... the mountain looks deceptively easy from here!

Sca Fell from Burnmoor Tarn… the mountain looks deceptively easy from here!

The following two days were dreadful, weather-wise. John, the proprietor of the B&B, recommended a trip to the RSPB’s site at Hodbarrow – a suggestion I quite readily took up! The road to the site is dreadful – riddled with potholes – but just as we arrived a local birder pointed out a summer-plumaged Slavonian grebe close to where we’d parked. Having spent an Easter trip to Loch Ruthven to see them, I was particularly pleased to see one so easily, on migration to its breeding area.

Slavonian grebe at RSPB Hodbarrow.

Slavonian grebe at RSPB Hodbarrow.

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