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Taking care on Scafell

Posted 10 April 2012
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Taking care on Scafell
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For those who like to go walking in England, the ultimate challenge is either a long distance walk or, for those who love their mountains, to climb to the roof of England.

But next to the 3,210 ft Scafell Pike lies Scafell. The names actually imply that Scafell is the higher of the two, an optical illusion possible from some angles but long known not to be so, with Scafell being 3,164 ft. 

While some people may regard the ascent of England's highest peak as being enough on its own - or, of course, part of the national three peaks challenge - experienced walkers may enjoy combining the two loftiest peaks in one exhibition.

To do this means crossing between the two on a narrow ridge called Mickeldore and if ever a reminder was needed that this landscape of narrow ridges, boulders and cliffs has its dangers, it is provided by the mountain rescue box on the ridge.

And now Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team has noted a fresh hazard in the area. Broad Stand is the most direct route up from Mickeldore to Scafell, but it is prone to boulder falls and one has just occurred near Hollowstones and the Woolworth Boulder.

It stated: "The rockfall is just off the usual line of ascent but the debris is unstable and caution is recommended."

Broad Stand is not the only route potentially affected, as Mickledore is also the start point for the descent into upper Eskdale and also for the Foxes Tarn route, which takes a gully to the right and passes the tiny body of water - itself dominated by a fallen boulder - on its way up to Scafell's summit plateau.

The third way across is on the Wasdale side of Mickeldore and this takes the narrow passage of Lord's Rake. This saw a boulder fall several years ago and is regarded as potentially hazardous.

But while care is needed when combining the two peaks, none of this should detract from the summit view from Scafell. Usually free from crowds unlike its neighbour, the westward vista on a clear day across Wast Water, Burnmoor and the Irish Sea offers a fine panorama.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801335774-ADNFCR