Taking to the Hills with North East Guides: Part Two

Having spent the previous evening recovering at the YHA Honiston with hearty slices of chocolate cake and bottles of cider, we returned early the next morning to Scafell, to explore one of the more mysterious-sounding mountains in the area: Glaramara.

At various times during the Saturday session with North East Guides I peered over at Glaramara’s imposing ridge, pondering at the difficulty of summiting its top; with its steep incline, boggy patches and rocky outcrops, not to mention its various peaks, navigating and summiting Glaramara could not be for the fainthearted.

Peter must have noticed me staring, as it turned out Glaramara would be our main summit of the day!

Using Hand Gill as a handrail, we slowly made our way up the summit, and took the opportunity to learn more map-reading skills. At one point the trail crosses a rocky outcrop with a small gully, which turned into a small stream/waterfall – the perfect opportunity for a role-play emergency scenario!

With a mountain such as Glaramara, with its multitude of peaks and paths spread across a wide boggy ridge, it is all too easy to wander off-course, and waste time second-guessing yourself. On the other hand, it is also the perfect opportunity to use the plentiful landmarks to orient yourself, and consequently set the course direction to the next section of the walk.

Wainwright mentioned there was some excellent scrambling on these peaks, and he did not disappoint. While not long, the scramble route has a nice mixture of moves and flexibility that anyone in decent health could complete – even Rhona and Bess scrambled to the top, and they have the excuse of no thumbs! On a rare clear day, the summit of Glaramara offers far-reaching views across the fells; on a blustery day like ours though, visibility was zilch and the wind roared in your ears.

Eager to descend from the screeching wind, we quickly took a reading and headed southwest, towards Looking Steads and Allen Crags. Gazing at my non-existent surroundings, I realised with bemusement that whoever named the area Looking Steads must have had a sarcastic sense of humour.

Eventually we reached Allen Crags, and headed west. Here we were to learn another important lesson: the art of staying on-course of our direction, during potentially hazardous terrain, when there is no path.

Reedy plants hid boggy patches, and it wasn’t long before our ankles were covered in muddy sludge. With the rain pelting down by this point, it seemed easier to slip n’ slide down the gorge than walk it!

Eventually the descent widened onto a smaller hill, which afforded beautiful panoramic views of the River Derwent and surrounding mountains. A small trail of hikers, fresh from their summit of Scafell Pike, meandered along the main trail towards Seathwaite. It was moments like these, where you could enjoy the natural scenery alongside its serenity and ruggedness to yourself, that made it all worthwhile.

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