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A night on Dow Crag then Scafell by the West Wall traverse

18th-19th July 2020

Route 18th Brotherilkeld - Lingcove Bridge - Great Moss - Dow Crag ( about 4.5 miles 2000 ft ascent )

19th - Pen - Rough Crag - Scafell Pike - Mickledore - Lord's Rake - West Wall Traverse - Scafell - Slight Side - Scale Gill - Taw House ( about 6 miles 1800 ft ascent )


I originally was going to bag a few peaks around Bowfell on Sunday but on Saturday afternoon I decided that I would throw my camping gear in the car and tick a couple of boxes that I have wanted to do for a while, namely camp on Dow Crag and climb Scafell by the West Wall Traverse.


It was 7.15 in the evening when I set off along the track to Brotherilkeld farm. Slight Side dominates the view ahead.


Further along the valley and It's Bowfell dominating the view ahead. ( although Crinkle Crags are staking a claim on the right ).


Approaching Lingcove Bridge now and Ill Crag appears in the distance with Throstle Garth catching the setting sun.


July has been pretty wet so the rivers were full and the falls spectacular.


I have crossed Lingcove Bridge now and am staring the hard work of climbing up to the Great Moss. It's eight o'clock now which I was a bit surprised by as I thought I'd be a bit quicker on this section.


A little bit of mist on Scafell Pike and first sight of my camping spot which is on top of the cliff face centre right.


Looking across the Great Moss to How Beck. The River Esk was in full flow so I gave up trying to cross with dry feet so rolled up my trousers and paddled across. It's twenty to nine now which I was surprised by as I thought I'd be slower on the uphill section.

Harter Fell catches the evening sun.

On with the steep pull to Dow Crag and looking down to the Great Moss.

And the Great Moss again from higher up with Hard Knott and Harter Fell middle distance and the Coniston fells in cloud beyond.

When I came to Dow Crag just before the lockdown I'd marked this spot on my GPS It's just gone half past nine which I was well pleased with as when I set off from home around five fifteen I thought anytime before ten when making camp would be good


Looking to the south east and the Crinkles are clear but the Coniston group are well covered.

A late tea tonight but well worth the wait.

I was up with the lark to hopefully see a nice sunrise. And the sky over Esk Pike was very promising. I decided to get higher so climbed up to the summit of Pen..

On to Pen to just catch the sun clearing Esk Pike.

Lovely morning light on Pen summit, part of Scafell, Long Green and Slight Side in the background.

I had a chuckle when I saw the sun lighting my way to Scafell Pike like a scene from an Indiana Jones film.

And the sun lighting the distinctive layered rock of Pen's summit

The morning has reached Silverybield Crag and is creeping across the Great Moss as I make my way back down to my tent for breakfast.

A little bit of morning mist has formed over the pike but it didn't last long.

The puzzle of Rough Crag. The solution ( or rather my solution ) is the slanted ramp about a third of the way from the left in this picture..

I noticed these rocks on my first walk this way in 2009 They remind my of a rock father and son looking out over the Great Moss. "It's a great view isn't it Dad". " it is son but don't go too near the edge".

On with the climb and passing the deep gully with Ill Crag in the background..


Beaten to the top of England today.

Well never mind as the view is not up to much today.

Down to Mickledore then on to the steep path down to the start of the rake which needs a bit of care as it's quite badly eroded.

Just before the start of the Rake is the carved cross monument to the four climbers killed here in 1903 ( more information on Raymond Greenhow's excellent blog )

 The climb up Lord's Rake is a bit less fearsome without the big boulder hanging above you.

The remains of the boulder litter the top of the first section. I don't need to climb quite that far as I turn left onto the narrow path of the West wall Traverse.

The first time for me on an airy exposed path and I've got the sun directly in my eyes.

Looking back to the top of the first section of the rake.and Tower Buttress.

Thankfully the sun is hidden behind the Pinnacle. I found the traverse to be nothing but superb and the rock scenery is truly jaw dropping.

Although hard to see there are two climbers on the Pinnacle. Scafell Pike in the background..

The feeling I got that I was in the very heart of the mountain and this view of Great Gable and all the fells beyond felt like a view out of a great window.

As you climb higher on the traverse you have to be careful not to trip over your jaw which will be dragging on the floor..

I wondered if this was the way out but I had read that the exit is a mini Lord's Rake and that didn't look like it.

The top of the Pinnacle above the climb out of Deep gill.

The last climb on the " mini Lord's Rake" was the section I found most difficult as the side wall was very crumbly and hand holds were hard to find but it doesn't last long and I was soon out in the sunlight.

To be honest the walk down over Scafell and to Slight Side seemed a bit of an anti climax after the traverse but It's still a beautiful stroll. This is Burnmoor Tarn and Wastwater separated by the Illgill Head/Wnin Rigg ridge.

Long Green then Slight Side.

The head of the Esk with Esk Pike above. Ill Crag to the left. Great End can be seen in the gap between the two.

I thought I'd follow the path down from just after Cat Crag to Scale Bridge but it disappeared into the bracken so I just followed Scale Gill down which had some lovely falls and pools.

  The skies had darkened by the time I reached Taw House farm and it did start to rain but that couldn't put a dampener on my adventure and as I returned home almost exactly twenty fours hours after I'd set off I couldn't help but think that was a full day.

Previous walk  - Above Dovedale - Next walk - The Wasdale Screes and a night on Great How.