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Scafell Pike, Wansfell Pike & Skiddaw Mountain – A Polar Reunion

By womanontherun on 2014.05.12 In Polar reunions!

 

When doing the Fjällräven Polar adventure, I spoke to Phil Raisbeck, one of the other Polarists. We were chatting a bit about upcoming adventures and he mentioned the Lake District, a place where he has been before and which he would visit again in a few weeks with his friends. It sounded all well and he asked me to come over, and visit him and his friends. It sounded like a very good adventure, the date was chosen very well (my only spare week left for next months), but it still felt like something far away.
When home after Polar, I started thinking about this idea again. After comparing prizes, it became clear it would be possible to go. So, I bought my tickets and left home on Sunday 18:15. It would be an excellent moment for a reunion – and I could try my new Fjällräven gear (Keb jacket, Keb trousers, Abisko Hybdrid vest etc).

Sunday/Monday, May 4th/5th
After packing my backpack, what went really fast after I reorganized my outdoor stuff, my parents drove me to the railway station in Dieren, the Netherlands. Still somewhat frightened about flying, I was getting to take the Megabus from Amsterdam to Preston (was also somewhat cheaper). We would drive to le viva la France first and then cross the sea to England. In what way, I didn’t knew, but I thought we would take the Eurotunnel. First wrong thoughts (many would follow..) and we were waked up at 03:00 to leave the bus and enter the ferry. Great. Two hours and a bit of sleep later, I found a next surprise. I had to change bus in London and wait for 3 hours for the next one. Eventually I could get an earlier bus to Preston and in Preston, I could get an earlier train to Penrith. My first acquaintance with England was very good. People were kind and helpful.

In Penrith, Phil was ready to take me of the train. We would drive to the Nordic Outdoorstore in Keswick, to meet the manager who wanted some photo’s of us Polarists. We talked about lots of stuff, like Fjällräven Classic and Polar, but also about Scafell Pike, the mountain we would walk next day. They told us about ‘the Corridor route’, what must be a great walk to get up Scafell.

Our house, were I would stay for the next days, was big. Big and luxury. There were many bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room, a small room, a capacious kitchen and a garden in which you would get lost. The house is on sale for 3 million pounds, so that says enough, I think. I’ve never been to a luxury house like this before and I was really looking forward to all comfort.
In the garden I met Jason, one of Phil’s mates, who just went out for a run. I also met Joe and at then I wasn’t sure if I’d met the gardener or Phil’s mate, a hilarious moment.

Joe loved cooking (I think), because we got a really tasteful dinner. I wasn’t familiar with all dishes, but I can say; it tasted very good.
We collected some wood in the garden and made a fire in the living room. Although I had bring my Morakniv, I haven’t used it this week. Will practise with it at home again ;).
The evening was full of pleasant live music. Joe appears to me a great singer and Jason can play the guitar very well. For me, it was like a scenery of a good movie. These are such lovely moments for me, I can really enjoy.

We talked about Polar, we talked about adventure and we talked about next day. Scafell Pike was on the programme, and I was really looking forward to it. Some years ago I read about it and I was very lucky Phil and his mates had planned this hike when I was visiting them.

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Tuesday, May 6th

08:00 Time to wake up! We decided to leave at 10:00, so there was lots of time to have a nice shower, pack my bag and to have a relaxed breakfast. Joe decided not to hike with us, because his girlfriend Terry would come over at this day.

At 10:00 we left to our starting point. Phil and Jason had inspected the map carefully for many hours, so I was full of confidence we would take the right direction. It appears to be that Phil and Jason had had former problems, navigation with a map, and that they’ve been lost on almost every trip. All this I heard when we were already en route.

Seathwaite farm was our starting point and we could park the car very near.

Naamloos

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Last checks were made; shoes, food, luggage and clothes. At 11:00 all was done and we were ready to leave.

After 5 min of walking (we just pasted the farm and went through a few fences, the map was taken out. A promising thing. We decided to follow the fence, along the river, on the left side of the field.

After the first kilometre, the trail went upward fast. I felt my muscles working hard and I loved the changing sceneries. We had moments of rest and we had moments of enjoying the nature. In spite of the hard wind, we all got really warm and I was happy I wore only my Aclima baselayer. My Keb was perfect for these conditions, I could open and close zips along the road and the hat was of great value. The map was taken out lots of times and after half an hour our guides came to the conclusion we were lost on the map. Although Phil got a GPS device, it didn’t help. It all didn’t matter for me, I was just happy to get out.

On a protected place, we decided to have a little snack.

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We were lucky with the weather. When going to the Lakes, I was mentally prepared for lots of rain. It didn’t rain till this far on the hike and my Keb hood could manage the very strong wind. It actually was that windy, that when an unexpected squall came, I almost felt. We even saw the sun at the beginning of the hike!

The path was full of rocks, big ones and small ones, so I was unable to really enjoy the scenery. I looked at the ground almost every moment, preventing myself from stumbling. It didn’t matter, it gave us extra moments of justified relaxing.

After a few kilometres, we met two other hikers. They were doing Scafell Pike as well, and they told us they were following the Corridor route. At that moment, we knew little but one thing; we were not on the Corridor route, so nor were they. But they were also heading for Scafell Pike, so it must be okay. Not much later, Scafell Pike came in sight. We needed both our hands to get up and the view was limited to a few hundred of meters around us. A small and beautiful world. But what a wind!
We reached the top soon (after 7 kilometres) and after a few photo’s, it was time for lunch.

Scafell Pike – 978 m.

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Phil got us some dryfood from Adventure food and the Mince Beef hotpot tasted well. After some 20 minutes, we were cold again and decided to start the descend.

Our descend took around 6 kilometre and a path was sometimes hard to find. We needed to climb along steep gulfs, something I like a lot. We walked and walked and scenery kept on changing. At some point we could see the valley again and not much later – Seathwaite. At this moment, we pointed out we came down along the right side of the field (we got up at the left side of this field) and that we were descending on the Corridor route. It became clear were we took the wrong turn, but it didn’t make a difference for us. We enjoyed our hike, reached the summit of Scafell Pike as planned and we even hiked a part of the Corridor route. Perfect.

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After a short ride we reached our luxury resort again and we found a delightful smelling kitchen. Joe and Terry spent a lot of time in the cuisine and I can say – dinner was again very tasteful. We got a selfmade strawberry-cheesecake as desert and I wished I could eat some now!

We could enjoy our live band again this evening and I loved the atmosphere of everything.
Around 23:00 – 24:00 it was time to get to bed, because next day we would leave somewhat earlier than today.

 

Wednesday, May 7th

Today, we left somewhat earlier than yesterday. A hike to Wensfill Pike was on the program, a mountain with an altitude of 482 meter. We planned to do the hike with all 5 of us (Jason, Joe, Terry, Phil and me), but Terry and Joe decided to sleep a bit longer and we left with 3 of us.

The hike started near Ambleside, a lovely little place with lots of outdoor shops we definitely would visit when we came back from our hike. That was actually the reason of starting somewhat earlier ;).
I knew the weather wouldn’t be as good as yesterday, but I didn’t took a proper raincoat with me. I thought it would be too warm, a plastic bag around me, so I took a disposable poncho (I know, still a plastic bag, but somewhat different ;)).

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On our way to Ambleside it already started to rain. Heavy rain. Our first change of clothes could begin before we even did a step into the right direction. It didn’t rain hard enough for me, so I decided to wear my Keb. Raincover on my pack; I was ready. Phil wore his Fjällräven Bäck rainclothes and after my trip to the Lakes, I’ve decided to buy one myself as well.

The trek started in the woods and after 15 minutes, we had a beautiful view of Ambleside. It started to rain somewhat harder, but not enough for headstrong me to get my poncho. The first few kilometres we walked between lands full of sheep and over small farmyards. I was happy I walked here with real Englishman, because I wouldn’t be sure if I was allowed to walk along/over/in the farmyards. No dogs chased us, so it appears to be al right.

After 4,5 kilometre, we walked in a little tea house in a small village. Unfortunately, the tea-room was closed, but we could get a warm cup of coffee and tea in the little shop. It was a lovely place, full of homemade brownies and flapjacks. We decided to drink something and have lunch later on the day and what I can say afterwards, it wasn’t the right decision for me. I felt a bit sick when walking to the top, probably due to lack of energy.

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The rain became more and more heavy and it was time for a change of clothes number 101. I took my poncho, but I hadn’t thought about the short sleeves of it. My Keb wasn’t waterproof and preventing everything from getting soaked, it decided to go up with my bare arms. In the beginning it was a bit cold, but after some time I coudn’t feel them anymore. Fine!

Our way to the summit of Wansfell Pike was cold, windy and hard due to a lack of energy. On the summit itself (after 7,5 kilometre), we had no view because of the mist. It gave a magical feeling, but made us descend fast. Big stones laid as a stair and in no time we left the clouds and could see Ambleside again. 2 Kilometres later, we reached Ambleside. Time to change clothes and go shopping!

Knipsel

We had lunch at The Priest Hole Restaurant and I really needed a big warm meal. I got a sandwich with chili beef and french fries, delicious. It had a special name, like everything on the menu, but I felt really in a foreign country, not knowing what everything was.

In the outdoor shops we talked to staff members and of course we talked about Classic and Polar again, as the peaks of my outdoor adventures. We looked of course at Fjällräven gear, but I didn’t bought anything, because I will save my money for a good day of shopping in Flagshipstore Amsterdam.

Around 17:00 o’clock, we finished our shoppings and left to our estate. Terry and Joe prepared dinner again. This time we got Red Curry, a delicious meal.

Tomorrow, we will leave somewhat earlier than today, because rain is predicted for the evening.

Thursday, May 8th

First big language barrier: we agreed on leaving at half 9 for or next hike. I thought it was best if I would set my alarm at 07:00, so I had 1,5 hour for preparing. 08:30: I was ready and steady for a go! But I was the only one. Jason still walked around in his pyjamas. It didn’t matter for me, I would sure find something else to fill my time. Later on this vacation, I understand what went wrong. In England, they mean 09:30 by half 9. From half past 9. In Holland, we say half 9 for 08:30. That’s why I was that early all these previous days!

Anyway, it was time for our hike. We would start in the backyard of our house and walk up the hills to Skiddaw Mountain. It would’t be a very long one, cause we wanted to get home before rainfall and of course – we wanted to go shopping in Keswick in the evening.

We left at 09:15 and happily the weather was good again, after different showers of last night. After a quarter we reached the foot of a long hill and we started to climb up. It was a long climb and the view became better every minute. We really needed a lot of moments to rest.

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Around 10:10 we reached the top of the first hill (what apparently doesn’t have a name) and it was time for a little snack. I learned from previous days and took some bread.
Unfortunately it started a bit to rain again, so we left our spot earlier.

Jason and Phil had done this trek already and they warned me about the upcoming ascend. Skiddaw Mountain had lots of loose rocks on a steep hill, which would roll away at unexpected moments. They told me we couldn’t stop along the wall and that we had to keep walking. I was a little bit concerned about these words, because I didn’t knew what to expect.

At that moment, mist became thicker and we had little sight left. Again, the world appears to be small.

We reached the summit of Skiddaw Mountain (931 meter, the fourth highest mountain in England) in about 20 minutes, a bit faster than Jason and Phil expected. The ascend turned out better than expected. It was actually no problem at all.
On top there was nothing to be seen, but in good weather, we could have seen Scafell Pike which we did two days earlier.

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The descend was again easy and went fast. It wasn’t that steep, but a long stretched out walk between colourful fields. In the distance, we could see Derwentwater, a beautiful sight.

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When in the valley again, it was time to change clothes and go out for some shopping. We went to the Nordic Outdoor shop again, because Phil wanted to try some clothes and around 16:00 we went home again.

Knipsel

After some sleep, it was time to get ready for dinner. We would dine out, because Phil, called The Silver Fox after that night, would celebrate his birthday next day. We dined at Keswick and went to some pubs after. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince Phil from going to the ‘Loft’, a dancing hall. Pubs closed around 12 I think, and most stopped serving drinks after 23:00.

We called a taxi and went back to our house for a last night of sleep in it. Tomorrow we would leave – and I would start my journey back to the Netherlands, after a wonderful time in the Lakes.

Friday, May 9th

We had to leave the house around 10:00 and we left to Ambleside for a meeting with a tour operator. Phil and his friends are planning a vacation to Morocco in October and wanted to get some information.

My bus from Preston would leave at 14:20 and Jason dropped me of at the bus station. After a long ride, I arrived in Amsterdam at 09:00, Saturday 10th.

 

Phil, Jason, Joe, Terry – Thanks for this fantastic week!

 

 

 

5 Responses to "Scafell Pike, Wansfell Pike & Skiddaw Mountain – A Polar Reunion"

    Comments (5)

  1. René Zuurman wrote:

    Heerlijk verhaal, zo om 00:34 uur, na een Middagdienst , 2300 h thuis, douchen, en even lezen in bed,….. Had er wel bij willen zijn,….. Jaloers,…. Welterusten. X. Gr. René .

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Hej hej!

I'm always collecting things to enlarge my outdoor collection,
I'm always collecting memories to widen my thoughts.

I like to go out and I want to make the outdoor more accessible.
I haven't set goals, I'll just have a look what crosses my path.

At the moment I'm studying medicine and do a lot of sports (running, swimming, korfball). I work as a Lifeguard in summer and at the moment, I'm learning Swedish.

Maybe a small goal? Inspire other people - and get inspired by people!

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