A hot and sunny August Bank Holiday Sunday. A prearranged trip to a high mountain crag for this day. Buttermere or Scafell the choices given, so I chose Scafell, thinking that the parking would be better: it may have been, but despite an early start the traffic along the lake side was snail slow, and there wasn’t a legal space in the NT car park. However, our Chauffeur, Margaret, took the car off and walked up lonely Haycock and Seatallan, incidentally ascending more than we did. Now Scafell Crag needs four dry days to dry off, and it had poured down 3 days ago, so we did Juniper Buttress on sunny Pikes Crag. Five pleasant pitches, with the crux a crack on the last pitch with thin holds. I failed. An abseil and walk over to Scafell Pinnacle in the welcome cool shade revealed damp rock. The classic and coveted Jones’ route direct from Lord’s rake was therefore out, so a slimy, slithery scramble up Steep Gill led to the possible start of Slingsby’s Chimney Route, laughably billed as “an easy unwinder” in Classic Rock, and a “Moderate with the Chimney the only Very difficult bit” in my 1996 guide. There. the arthritic right knee could just be placed manually on the right wall foot hold, but straightening it from a very flexed position could not, so a dreadful struggle ensued. The Knife-edge Arete and ascent of High Man in the sun was a lovely finish. We couldn’t face the busy Wasdale Head pub or the Nether Wasdale crowds, so downed Loweswater Golds at the quieter Bowerhouse Inn in Eskdale. A great day out.
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