We were blown away by the views from Scafell Pike
29 runners ran 10.2km on a training session in Cardiff.
- Saturday, 10th of August 2019
- Led by Benjamin Annear
Lets hike up Scafell Pike they said. It’ll be fun. The views will be breath-taking. The memories will last a lifetime.
Two out of three isn’t bad!
On 9th August 29 runners from Goodgym Cardiff, Bristol and Bath headed north to the Lake District, with the aim of scaling England’s highest peak. Having hiked Pen y Fan in 2017 and Snowdon in 2018, the odd tradition of completing a hike set as a new years resolution by one off the GG Cardiff members looked set to continue.
The weather however had other ideas, yellow warnings of torrential rain and wind were putting the hike in doubt. The runners headed to bed on Friday evening (in the wonderful YHA Wasdale Hall) unsure of what the morning would have in store. Trip organiser, Nathan, was fearing the worst, confided in some over a surreptitious tumbler full of white wine that they’d give it a go, but wasn’t expecting to get far, or to be joined by many of the group.
Saturday morning. Low cloud and mist covered Wastwater while the Goodgymers tucked into their breakfast. Despite the conditions, despite the weather warnings, they were going to give it a go and at 10am 23 goodgymers congregated in the car park. A short drive to Wasdale Head and the group set off. 200m in and the heavens opened, out came the waterproofs, hats and hoods, but spirits weren’t dampened – how could they be with Pete’s tunes pumping from his rucksack, his sheep impressions, and his far too revealing shorts if behind him on an incline (pretty much 3 hours of incline).
The weather was such that the usual brook the path to the summit crossed had turned into a small raging river. Other groups undertaking the three peaks were being advised to turn around, or go the long way. By this point most jackets and trousers had given up pretending to be waterproof, and the group couldn’t get much wetter. All 23 goodgymers took the plunge and waded through the knee height water (kudos to Adam and Alison for standing in the water and giving a steady hand to the rest of the group).
Visibility was such that at points you just followed the outline of the person 10m ahead of you. This pattern of wetness, mist, rain, wind continued until a split in the path. Half the group opting for the scrambling route, half opting for the longer-but-more-reliable-under-foot route. About an hour later, having been further buffered by wind and raid, both groups met at the summit and huddled together for a mandatory summit selfie. All plans for a picnic at the highest point of England were abandoned as the rain turned to hail, and the group headed back down the mountain.
It seemed that the group split off in about five direction to head back down, but a few hours later, a quick head count in the Wasdale Head Inn confirmed that 23 had made it back down. A combination of minimal eating on the hike, mulled wine and baileys hot chocolate meant that they warm pub was a joyful place to be. As groups set off back for the hostel, the 6 goodgymers who hadn’t hiked Scafell arrived, looking equally sodden, windswept and in need of a drink.
Saturday morning. Low cloud and mist covered Wastwater while the Goodgymers tucked into their breakfast. Given the conditions, given the weather warnings, they decided this was not the day for scaling Scafell Pike. At 10am, as 23 goodgymers congregated in the car park, 6 goodgymers prepared for a more sedate hike around the lake, heading for the same pub the Scafell-ers would congregate in a few hours.
Their chosen route was the South-eastern shore of Wastwater. A notorious route – advised the friendly YHA staff.
Little did they know that in the Lake District, notorious translates to “Improbable, but not impossible”. “…walking along the southern shore of Wastwater gives the most unpleasant mile of terrain within the entire Lake District – ankle breaking potential if ever there was as this is not so much traditional scree as loose boulder hopping at its most delicate…”
After 5 hours of traversing loose scree, climbing boulders, straddling boulders, hating boulders, being advised by google that swimming home was the best option, the hikers arrived at the Wasdale Head - just as those smug Scafell hikers exited, heading for a warm shower, having had time for a drink or two already.
As the night set in, the hikers met for food to share their tales of the day. The group had a short quiz, although Ellen’s car bar proved too great a distraction for one or two. Congratulations Team Scree, who it seemed had spent their hike swotting for the quiz. Being a conscious group, the goodgymers headed to the basement to continue their celebrations with flipcup, beerpong and a wonderful playlist straight outta the 80s.
he return journey
One or two of the group awoke on Sunday with sore heads – but none having as bad a morning as Lowri’s car, which refused to move. After failed jump starts and push starts, the recovery services were called. The remaining groups set off home. Martin hadn’t had quite enough adventure for the weekend and decided on driving Hard Knott pass “often described as the most difficult and outrageous road in Britain”.
Predictions for 2020 have already begun rolling in. We look forward to the big announcement on 1st January.
Report written by Nathan Swain