Scafell via Great Moss

As much as I usually malign summer for mountain photography, I can’t think of anywhere else in the Lake District that suits an idyllic summer day as much as Upper Eskdale and Great Moss.

It’s the route I took earlier this week for an ascent of Scafell, before returning via Slight Side. And yes, it was an idyllic summer day.

Finding a space at the bottom of Hardknott Pass, I set off for Brotherilkeld Farm, the air redolent of warm gorse and overheating brakes (not mine).

The path hugs the River Esk, the beautifully clear waters of which tumble over numerous small waterfalls, before crossing Lingcove Bridge and ascending Throstle Garth towards Great Moss.

Here you get your first glimpse of the Scafells, before the path flattens out and you suddenly find yourself in the surprisingly open plateau of Great Moss itself.

Fringed on all sides by some of the highest and craggiest hills in the Lake District, the only option is to climb up one of them 🙂

My route on to Scafell took me up the steep rocky path next to the impressive cascade of Cam Spout, before veering off up the small gulley below Broad Stand to Foxes Tarn (puddle).

The views back over the route traveled towards Bowfell and Crinkle Crags are worth sitting and drinking in, and it’s then just a short steep climb up loose scree to the summit, with equally grand views over Wasdale, Mosedale, Hollow Stones and Great Gable.

And then just the simple matter of the descent back down over Slight Side to Eskdale.

Somehow I lost the path lower down,  but given the unsummery superb visibility it was hardly an issue. I blame it on too much sun.

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2 Responses to Scafell via Great Moss

  1. Mal Walker says:

    Lovely photography. In 1983 I climbed up Scafell Pike from the Wasdale Inn on a lovely spring day, leaving my wife and daughter at the Inn.
    I climbed up with only two people passing me coming down, as I reached the top a great cloud/mist descended on the top, but I carried on until I got to the cairn, where I added a rock. Unfortunately I lost my way on the top and finished up just descending, I couldn’t see more than six foot in any direction. I eventually got to a waterfall and climbed down it into a great basin (since found out was the ‘Great Moss’). With difficulty I made my way, jumping over boulders in the stream and balancing on mossy mounds to another waterfall between two high rocks. Climbing down that following the river I eventually came to a pathway which led to a road and along the road came to a pub where a chap kindly gave me a lift to the Wasdale Inn.
    An adventure for me that I’ve remembered vividly all my life.
    Your photos brought it back beautifully, thanks

    • Stewart says:

      Hi Mal

      I’m sure you’re not the last to have descended back down to the wrong valley from Scafell Pike, but glad the little adventure ended safely! And good you got a lift back because it’s a bit of a trek to walk back round to Wasdale after you’ve already done a hard day.


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