Sca Fell Pike
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Mark took to the wheel of the Discovery, George in the passenger seat and me in the back, in spite of it only being 8 p.m. I stretched out across the back seats to try and get some sleep. I don’t think I really managed to get any sleep, could be something to do with the severe sugar rush resulting from all the crap food eaten within 10 minutes of getting back to the car, (mental note: try to eat more savoury stuff after Sca Fell, pasta etc.).

As on the drive up we made good time with Mark at the wheel, he was starting to get a reputation as a bit of a nutter (but a nutter that was going to serve us well). We came back down via Stirling , to avoid the windy roads that can get very congested. As it was now dark, George made a great suggestion to stop at a service station and prep our kit under their floodlights, so that when we arrived at Wasdale Head we could jump out and get going with the minimum of faffing.

The car park at Wasdale camp site was closed, it doesn’t open till 7:30 a.m. , but there were still a few spots in the lay-by on the road, so we took one of these. We were soon under way and the GPS showed a time of 2:02 a.m. !!!!

During this ascent the GPS was to prove invaluable, at one point I told Paddy that there was a bridge we had to cross approximately 15m over to the left, I looked up and pointed my head torch in the direction, low and behold there it was illuminated by the beam. We made good progress steering by GPS without the need to stop for checking maps and compasses. In spite of it being the early hours of the morning most of us were walking in tee shirts for the early stages. Once we reached the plateau at Hollow Stones we beared to the left and took the now obvious path top the summit. The temperature steadily dropped and the wind picked up.

Eventually we were relived to see a large cairn at the summit and all sheltered on the leeward side, readying cameras and mobile phones (“I don’t care if it’s 4 a.m. I’m still going to ring my girlfriend”). At this point I went through my routine of checking how close my GPS summit waypoint was to the actual one, only to see that it was 130 meters off. This struck me as to be too big an error, and so I uttered the following “I don’t know if I should really says this guys, but I don’t think this is the summit”. We discussed this for a few moments and Jim observer that there was no Trig point, so we reluctantly packed up and set off for the final 130 meters. We arrived at the summit at 4:04 a.m. BST, 2 hours and 2 minutes after setting off, and 12 hours 4 minutes into the 24 hours, to be greeted by a biting wind and temperatures that must have been minus 10 after wind chill. There were very quick photos, phone calls and video, a quick chat with the other team of 6 Three Peakers that were there as well.

Then set off on descent at 4:10 a.m. A fairly uneventful descent resulted in us arriving back to the car at 5:40 a.m. , 1 hour 30 minutes for the descent. Whilst I say it was fairly uneventful, I personally was starting to struggle with the idea of still having Sca Fell descent and the whole of Snowdon to come. With hindsight this was more mental than physical. To relieve angst I broke the descent down into blocks of altitude, trying to guess each time when another 100m had passed, then getting out the GPS to see how close I was, surprisingly I was generally within 10m each time. It was then just a matter of counting down from 900, 800, 700, …… 200, 100 and at last we were there, knocking on the car window to wake Joff up and telling him to get driving. Another quick change into comfortable driving clothes and we were ready for the off.