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Scrambled Legs

By Phil on 2014.06.30 In Fjällräven Classic General Lake District

This weekend me and Jason P headed over to the Western side of the Lakes to Wasdale to meet our work mate Anthony H and his 5 mates, Anthony Q, Karl, Crofty, Sean and Jason B from Lancashire for a weekend of camping and hiking next to the Wasdale Head Inn.

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I had been looking forward to this weekend as it was another chance to try my Fjällräven Abisko 2 tent and Sarek 3 season sleeping bag in preparation for the Fjällräven Classic in August.

The campsite was a very small field just opposite the Wasdale Head Inn pub surrounded by the stunning hills of Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Pillar, Lingmell and Yewbarrow, with only the facilities of the pub/hotel and the Barn Shop close by.

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With it being a very small campsite and neighbouring tents very close by, you hear everything from your fellow outdoor neighbours. This meant a very early unplanned wakeup call at around 6:30am on Saturday morning as you hear the sound of campsite stoves burning away, cooking breakfasts, before everyone heads off one their planned hikes for the day.

I decided to try some more freeze dried breakfasts which I had brought along, while Jason P tucked into his bowl of Alpen procured from the Barn Shop. I have to say I was very impressed with the Adventure Food freeze dried Kunsa Museli I had. After our own breakfasts we headed over to see how Anthony H and his mates were getting on. You would think they were the official Campsite Café with the amount of stoves they had burning away. Serving up bacon, sausages, eggs and black pudding with a choice of tea or cafetiere coffee. Talk about glamping!

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As we waited for the Brookes brothers of Sean and Jason to arrive, Anthony H talked us through our planned hike for the day of Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Lords Rake then on to Sca Fell and back to Wasdale Head. He had mapped it out all by himself on his little computer. It was calculated at only 12.5km in distance but was a very challenging route with very steep ascent and descents and a couple of very tricky scrambles up Lords Rake.

The Brookes brothers arrived as schedule at 9:13am and pitched their tents (with Sean having a tent big enough for all 8 of us rather just himself!), before Sgt. Harrison gathered us all together to head off on our hike at precisely 10:04 as he had planned.

The hike started with a very steep ascent as we headed towards the summit of Lingmell. I must admit, I was struggling like never before and was wishing I hadn’t carbo-loaded on Peroni the night before. I had to enforce a couple of unsanctioned drinks breaks and it wasn’t long before I had to take drastic action and hit the trusted Dioralyte to settle my stomach. The Dioralyte soon started to do the trick as I managed to make our first summit of Lingmell.

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After a brief stop we headed on to our next summit and the highest in England, Scafell Pike at 978m. As it was a Saturday, Scafell Pike was its usual busy self, as the hordes of tourists, fell runners and 3 peak challengers head to the summit. It’s a pity Anthony H’s campsite café wasn’t portable, as he could have made a fortune had he been able to carry it to the top and start selling hot drinks and snacks.

After the usual summit photos at the Scafell Pike cairn, we decided 12:40 was a good time to stop and have our lunch, even if it was a little ahead of Sgt. Harrison’s planned 12:53 lunch stop. Crofty pulled out his dog eared copy of Wainwright to inform us that Wainwright thought the “horrors” of Lords Rake were not too bad. At this point a bank of cloud drifted in to cover said route that lay before us.

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As the rest of the lads tucked into their various lunches, I decided to give another of the Beyond the Beaten Track Ready to Eat Hot or Cold meals a try and decided on the Lamb Casserole. I have to say I wasn’t impressed at all. It was nowhere near as good as their Chicken Tikka Curry, Pasta and Meatballs or Chilli Con Carne I had tried previously. As I had done with the previous meals, I ate this cold; though I very much doubt heating it up would have made any difference. I’m not usually a lamb eater anyway, so I don’t even know why I decided to try it, but I won’t be doing so again.

After lunch it was time to head to Lords Rake via Mickledore but not before I had noticed Sgt. Harrison had placed a very large heavy rock in my rucksack while I wasn’t looking. As if I don’t carry enough clothing, equipment and gadgets with me.

I’d heard about Lords Rake and about the very tricky steep scramble on the loose scree and was really looking forward to it, as having a scramble on a hike gives you a bit of variety and chance to get on your hands and knees and a break from walking.

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At the top of the first big scramble up Lords Rake there is a rather large rock leaning over to one side against a large rock face. It makes the scramble look even more impressive or dangerous depending on how you want to look at it. We were all looking forward to it until Sgt. Harrison told us that people have predicted that the rock will fall at some point, but nobody can predict when. I think that bit of information could have waited until after the scramble up. Despite Anthony’s revelation, we headed off in a single line, with enough gaps between us to give us time to move from any falling rocks caused by the person in front of you. Despite the threat of the large falling rock and the constant loose scree rolling down past you, we all made it to the top in one piece.
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Next we headed to our final summit of Scafell, which is slight smaller than Scafell Pike at 960m, before we descended back to our campsite in time for the Brazil v Chile match on TV in the Wasdale Head Inn.

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The descent back to Wasdale from Sca Fell was very steep and actually harder than the scramble we had at Lords Rake. The first 400m of the descent was particularly tricky as we had to carefully cross more loose rocks and scree before getting to the steep grassy bank all the way back down to the valley.

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We arrived back at the Wasdale Head Inn beer garden at 17:14 (11 minutes behind Sgt. Harrison’s schedule) where we grabbed front row seats in front of the TV and settled there for the night drinking beers while watching the match.

Despite my early struggles on this hike, it was a great challenging route with stunning views and great laughs along the way. The plan was to do another hike the next day, but I don’t think anybody’s legs were up for it after Saturday’s hike. I know my legs certainly weren’t. It’s now Sunday evening as I write this and the burn on my thighs is really kicking in now. The last time my legs felt like this was after a drunken night of Ska dancing to Madness at someone’s birthday or wedding disco. My legs really do feel scrambled.

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Welcome

Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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