|Name of walk||Lingmell via Piers Gill with the Pollocks.|
|Date of walk||2017-05-06|
|Distance walked (miles)||8|
|Duration of walk||5 hours 50 minutes|
|Weather||Good visibility but windy|
|Peaks on walk||Lingmell (Scafell PIke)|
|Walked with||Andy, Jo, Cameron and Jason.|
On Saturday morning I joined the Pollocks (Andy, Jo, Cameron and Jason) on their walk from Wasdale up beside Piers Gill. It was a walk in memory of Andy’s friend, Ian Blakey, who died in a fall from Piers Gill on May 3rd 1997. Fellwalking and mountaineering were one of his passions. This week was the 20th anniversary of his death. Andy and his family would continue on to Scafell Pike. I have already been on the summit eight times, and don’t fancy the Saturday crowds, so I will go up Lingmell Fell instead and we will rendezvous at the pub. Andy had given me a copy of Ian Blakey’s account of their ascent of Ben Lui in the hot summer of 1995, to read. I had to laugh, as it begins: “JAP (Andy’s initials and nickname) is really a bellringer and famous for always being late.” That still applies over twenty years later!
Andy Pollock, bottom right with Ian Blakey, top, and Andy's brother, Graham, and Ian's brother-in-law, Peter, and one other. On Ben Lui 25th June 1995 … part of the ‘Munro Challenge’ for University of Aberdeen quincentenary.
We stop at Wast Water for the usual view. Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell and the slopes of Scafell Pike. Our route down is on the right of Lingmell.
The world and his wife are in the car park!
Luckily they ain't going our way!
We stop off at St. Olaf's Church.
Its beams are said to have come from a Viking long-ship.
We head up the valley towards Great Gable.
The gorse is looking good.
We cross the bridge, but there is no water.
Eventually we cross Lingmell beck and head off to our right.
View back down the valley.
Looking up to LIngmell.
We ford another gill, no water to make the waterfall today. Andy has disappeared off somewhere to take a photo so we wait for him on the other side. He has a longstanding habit of doing this. In Ian Blakey's account of the Ben Lui ascent he says: " Where was JAP? I dropped my heavy load and retraced my steps down the hill. Eventually I found him, he'd spent half an hour or more photographing a flower, and was busy admiring a green beetle." Nothing changes then!
He eventually reappears and takes this photo of us with Piers Gill on the right.
Jo's photo of us.
Looking into Piers Gill with Lingmell above.
Andy takes this one of me.
An excellent view of the side of Great Gable.
We head on up.
Cameron and Jason.
There is a great temptation to look over the edge, but the wind is strong and blowing towards the gill, so we keep our distance.
I meet a chap that I had spoken to down the valley, who was part of a larger group that had passed us. He is coming back with two of his friends as he suffers from vertigo and wasn't expecting to have to climb a 9m rock step. This section is the reason we are going up by this route, and not down! Thankfully we are all mountain goats! Jason and Cameron lead the way.
Jo takes one of me following.
I take one of Jo and Andy following. The final bit is not easy with a big ruck sack.
Great views from above, with the naked eye I can see Sty Head Tarn.
Time for a breather.
Looking down on Jo and Andy at the edge of Piers Gill.
Jo was taking this photo of Andy with his enormous expedition ruck sack packed with items that may 'come in handy'. In his Ben Lui account Ian Blakey wrote "Saturday morning JAP had difficulty deciding what to take and what to leave behind. He solved that one by taking everything." Ha! Nothing changes!
Not far to go now before we join the Corridor Route from Seathwaite.
A great view back along Piers Gill to Kirk Fell and Great Gable with Lingmell on the left.
The Corridor Route ahead, this passes the head of the gill and goes up to Lingmell Coll.
It is here that we meet the masses of people.
View down Piers Gill from its start.
This is where me and the Pollocks part company. They join the throngs up Scafell Pike and I enjoy the solitary delights of Lingmell. This is Andy's photo of my departure.
From my route up beside the wall I look back from the other side of Piers Gill.
Another of Andy's photos of me half-way up Lingmell on the right, but difficult to spot as I am just a speck.
I take a photo looking back to the Scafell Pike route with hundreds of people on the path.
Illgill Head on the left and a view to Wast Water.
The summit cairn surrounded by hundreds of.......actually there is no one except me on the mountain!
On the right is Buckbarrow and Middle Fell, then Yewbarrow.
I head for the far cairn where there are views down into Wasdale.
But first I skirt the edge of the fell for the views down into Piers Gill. The winds are strong, but they are blowing towards me so I can risk getting very close.
View to Sty Head Tarn. Skiddaw, Blencathra and the Helvellyn range in the distance.
The far cairn. Grasmoor and Grizedale Pike in between Kirk Fell and Great Gable.
Three photo panorama of Kirk Fell and Great Gable. To the left of Kirk Fell is Pillar. Left click to enlarge, click again to return.
Looking down into Wasdale. Behind is Yewbarrow and Red Pike.
Close up of the Wasdale Inn on the left. I return to the first cairn and have lunch out of the wind. Two other people appear on the fell, but I'm soon on my way down.
Looking across from Lingmell summit to Scafell Pike summit. The Pollocks will be there somewhere!
A few of Andy's Scafell Pike summit photos. Jo, Cameron and Jason by the cairn.
A family group photo.
Standing room only!
I descend and cross the col to join the crowds on the way down.
Looking up to Mickledore.
I always hate this descent, it is never ending and punishing on the knees. I rely heavily on my stick.
View back to the crossing of Lingmell Gill, easy today with the lack of water.
View back as I take the high level route back to Wasdale.
This is Jo's photo which is much better than mine, which never had foreground light.
Descending to Wasdale. There is another wooden bridge to cross a wide, dry beck. I head for the pub for a cup of coffee and a diet coke. The pub was heaving. I share a table with a gentleman named David, from Whitehaven. He had been up Red Pike today. He has done the Wainwright's four times, which puts my three times to shame! I had brought my Kindle to read while waiting for the Pollocks to make their way down, but spent the hour chatting to David instead. Not long after David left for home the intrepid walkers arrived.
The pub had now thinned out and we moved to a bigger table and discussed our respective summit experiences.
I received an email from Derek Fryer, wife of a fellow bellringer, who reported that Ian Blakey's name lives on within Lakeland Orienteering Club, where they have a trophy shield named in his memory. It is presented annually to their most improved junior.
My walk was eight miles and took me five hours and fifty minutes. I enjoyed the Piers Gill route up. If it wasn’t for the 9m rock step I would have chosen that way to go down too, and avoid the crowds. The weather was excellent, but windy on the tops. I put my coat on for the first part of the descent route, but once out of the wind it was quite warm enough to remove it again. An excellent day! Thanks to Andy, Jo and the boys for the lift and their company. I’ll never be able to take a car over a cattle grid without shouting out “Baaah!” again. 🙂