Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Friday, 25 June 2010

Aonach Eagach, 25th June 2010.

We travelled north for a change of scenery and camped in the Invercoe Camspite just outside Glencoe village. The site has great views out over Loch Leven and the Ballachulish Bridge and beyond. The plan was to do the Grade II scramble along the Aonach Eagach Ridge. 
We had the bright idea of getting the City-Link bus out to Alt na Reigh in Glencoe and then just walking all the way back to the campsite (East to West); which we did, but be warned it's £6 each one way for less than 10 minutes on the bus!
As we arrived at Alt na Reigh we got talking to Mike, who was originally from Sheffield and had emigrated to Australia, and was over doing a "Grand Tour" of the UK. He was a little unsure of the route ot it's possible difficulties, so he tagged along with us, which turned out great as we spent most of the time moaning about the state of the country etc, etc!


The morning mist gave Glencoe the usual air of mystery and danger.


Lorna and Mike at the bottom of the first "difficult" down climb off Am Bodach; not really difficult at all with plenty of options and holds if you take your time to spot them.

As you gain height and move along the ridge to the first Munro of Meal Dearg - 953m, each new gully reveals a new view of Glencoe.

The way ahead with the Crazy Pinnacles to contend with.

Mike leading the way over one of the pinnacles. To be honest, once on the ridge it's difficult to relate exactly where you are in relation to the guide book. However most of the climbs, up or down are quite well protected, ie in chimneys or grooves although you still get the feeling of some exposure. Also it definitely safer to stick to the rock and the crests as we saw some paths that looked like they avoided the crest but lead to unsafe ground at the sides of the ridge.


I was looking for the "Chancellor", a spur that juts out over Glencoe. I'm not sure if this is it as I had put the guide book away, but it has a faint path running out to it so maybe it was? Across the Glen and almost directly above me is Ossians Cave on Aonach Dubh.


One of the gaps between one of the pinnacles (?). Although these appear narrow, they are easily crossed with care, oh and give jaw dropping views downwards!

Me poncing about right on the crest!

Mike trying to make it look difficult!

A team behind us on another (?) big downclimb.

The final Munro of the ridge is Sgorr nam Fiannaidh - 967m, and the long painful descent back to Glencoe Village, avoiding the Clachaing Gully. The descent although a bit unforgiving, gives you great views over Loch Leven and our campsite just right of centre in the photo. 
Vey kindly Mike and his wife Jenny (who was waiting to pick him up) gave us a lift to our car which we had left by the bus stop. And to round the day off, we all went along to the Claching Inn for a refreshing soft drink, ahem! Mike and Jenny were leaving for Skye the next day so hopefully the Scottish weather will be kind to them before the forecast rain at the end of the week.

The view from our camp.

The next time we do the Aonach Eagach, I think we will avoid the last Munro and reverse the route, that way you end up back at the car, and avoid the walk off! Just need to do it in winter now!!!  

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Scafell Pike via Great End, Esk Pike and Bowfell, 22nd June 2010.

After a day lazing in the sun and doing nothing it was time to get out and get some miles in!  We headed for Hollow Stones via the path that leads straight from the campsite and cut across to the Corridor Route and the head of Piers Gill.

Looking up to Hollow Stones from the campsite. The small notch in the middle would be our eventual return route later.

After joining the Corridor Route and passing the head of Piers Gill, we descended on the path to a point where the path levels, about 200m above a natural rock gateway. This is the start point for the grade II scramble up Great End. Although there was still some early morning mist which spoilt the views briefly.


Nice grade II scrambling came in several tiers of crags, and as we got higher the views down to Styhead Tarn improved although we never quite saw the top of Great Gable.

After a cuppa on the summit of Great End, we crossed over to the main path to climb Esk Pike with views over to Langdale and the "Pikes".

From Esk Pike it was on to Bowfell with the "crinkles" beyond.

Bowfell's summit has great views right over the Great Slab and into Langdale. From here we retraced out steps back to Great End, but stayed on the main route for Scafell Pike via Broad Crag.

The summit of Scafell Pike comes into view as we cross over Broad Crag.

We finally get a glimpse of Great Gable and the head of Piers Gill from above.

Looking across to Scafell from Scafell Pike. Sadly we didn't have time to the grade III Broad Stand route to it's summit, seen centre left of the picture. Lord's Rake can also be seen in the centre.

We still had to descend to Hollow Stones anyway, so we got a closer look at the famous Broad Stand route and it's notorious sloping terraces. A rope is usually advised , even on this grade III route due to the potential of it going pear shaped!

We also got a good view into Lord's Rake with it's jammed, fallen block at the top.

A careful descent from the col down a steep scambly and loose path brought us back into the Hollow Stones area and back on the path to the campsite with views of Wastwater all the way!


Sunday, 20 June 2010

Threading the Needle, Sphinx Ridge and Pinnacle Ridge - 20th June 2010

Another promising weather forecast lead us to choose Wasdale as our base for some walking /scrambling, so we headed south for the National Trust campsite near Wasdale Head. The campsite involves a longer drive to get to, via Whitehaven, but the location is stunning and as it's a car free site much more peaceful.

The campsite has views of Great Gable, Scafell Pike and Hollow Stones (shown above).

From the campsite we headed past The Wasdale Inn and up the path to Styhead with views of the Napes Ridges on our left all the way up to the stretcher box  near Styhead Tarn.

A closer view of the Napes Ridges and the White Napes to the left, with Westmorland Crags higher up.

From the stretcher box, we turned sharp left on the rising path that leads up and below Kern Knotts and Tophet Wall where the more serious climbers where heading. Scafell Pike is across the valley behind Lorna with Lingmell to the right.

This Gold Ringed Dragonfly kindly lead the way for a few hundred metres!

The grade I/II Climbers Traverse as it is known eventually leads to Napes Needle and the strenuous chimney that you shuffle up to reach the narrow gap between the needle and the main crag - difficult to make out the awkwardness from the photo. 

The view of Napes Needle from the natural viewpoint of the " Dress Circle", showing the grade II downclimb into the gully and climbers on the V-Diff  "Needle Ridge", which starts directly from the gap.

A better view of Needle Ridge and Needle Gully on it's left.

Sphinx Rock comes into view as you traverse around the gullies and ridges of the Napes. Our next route, the grade II Sphinx Ridge, rises up directly behind the Sphinx itself.


Before reaching the Sphinx you pass behind this large flake, the start of another climb I assume as we saw a team set off from there (?), and on past Arrowhead Ridge.

Climbers on the V-Diff Arrowhead Ridge. A grade II option exists to bypass the lower section and join above the climbing difficulties via the gully on it's left.


The Sphinx gazes down into Wasdale whilst I find a way up to the strart of the Sphinx Ridge.

From the top of Sphinx Ridge, a short path leads over to the right of Westmorland Crags and Pinnacle Ridge. Another nice grade II with a continuing alpine (ish) feel to it. The route rises from right to left up a central arete which is difficult to spot until close up. 

From the top of the ridge it's a short walk to the summit of Great Gable with views down over Hell Gate and the tops of the Napes Ridges
On Great Gable's summit is a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by members of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club during the First World War. Every year on Remembrance Sunday, hundreds gather here in all weathers to pay their respects.