Scafell and Slight Side from Eskdale – Take 2
After a bit of a wash out in June, let’s try this one again.
Start point: Dalegarth Station pay and display car park, Boot, Eskdale,
CA19 1TG, NY173007
Strenuous: 12 miles
Description is taken from Trekking World website.
Please be aware there are some steep and loose ascents and descents on this walk!
Eskdale is one of the Lake District’s quieter valleys due to its location in the west on the other side of both the Wrynose and Hard Knott road passes. It is well hidden away from the honey pots of Langdale and Windermere. The valley is not only absolutely beautiful but also hides away some fascinating gems like the Ravenglass and Eskdale steam railway, the Hardknott Roman Fort and its many picturesque villages with warm and friendly pubs.
Follow the main road signposted to the picturesque village of Boot. Once you have passed the Boot Inn pub on your left and then the houses to your right you will find yourself crossing the Whillan Beck on a 17th century packhorse bridge by the Eskdale Mill. The mill is open to the public some days and is well worth a look in, it dates back to 1978.
Once over the bridge the track turns right behind the mill and then left before reaching a gate on the right that is signposted to Burnmoor Tarn via Coffin Route. Take this path as it steadily rises passing a wood on the right as the views then open up to the east looking over the Whillan Beck valley towards Little and Great Barrow. After half a mile you will pass through a gate and the path snakes through open moorland with views to the East of Eskdale Fell over Whillan Beck.
After just over a miles walk through often wet and boggy moorland and passing an old stone building on the left you should reach the remote Burnmoor Tarn. One of the largest tarns in the Lake District, Burnmoor Tarn is extremely remote and it is therefore surprising to see an old settlement here known as Burnmoor Lodge which was once the home of a local game keeper then a shooting lodge and now as far as I know abandoned and disused. It sits silently on the shores of Burnmoor Tarn at least two miles away from the nearest road, looking like something out of an Alfred Hitchock movie.
The bridleway mostly used in the past as a pony route and a droveway for sheep that you have followed since Boot Village is better known locally as the Coffin Route. The route is given its spooky name as it was once the chosen route that the folk of the then remote village of Wasdale Head took to the St Catherine’s Church in Boot to bury there dead. So if you feel a chill on your neck don’t stop keep moving.
Pass the Burnmoor Lodge on your left and walk the length of Burnmoor Tarns eastern shoreline eventually reaching Bulatt Bridge as it crosses the tarn outflow that becomes Whillan Beck. On the other side of the bridge a faint path heads off in a north east direction hand railing Hardrigg Gill until it reaches a small ruined building at the end of the Hard Rigg ridge. When you reach this point carry on up the crest of the ridge taking not the path that goes right to the Hardrigg Gill valley but instead taking the path that heads directly up the crest of the ridge. The path is steep at first but then levels off on top of the ridge.
Follow the ridge in its north westerly direction for about half a mile until it reaches Green How and joins the steep path up to Scafell. This path is rough, loose and steep in places so care should be taken in bad weather. It is a slog of about 500 metres ascent but once completed gets you right to the summit of Scafell. Try to take your time and use the vast and awe inspiring views over the Wasdale and Eskdale Valleys as an excuse for many much needed rest breaks.
Once on the top the actual summit and highest point is just a small clamber over a few rocks to the right. On a clear day the panoramic views are truly amazing from Eskdale and the Coniston Fells to the south to Wasdale and the Western Fells to the west and of course the high Southern Fells adjoined. The adjoining fells include Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags to the east. All these huge fells make up a horseshoe of some of the the Lakes highest mountains which shelter the Upper Eskdale Valley. This valley is absolute heaven, with no major paths and not a single bit of human life in sight on a quiet day, its an amphitheater of huge towering crags, luscious green valleys and cold snaking streams.
After taking in the views from the summit follow the ridge path south as it heads over Long Green then reaches the ridges end at Slight Sight, another great place to sit and admire the views of the Upper Eskdale Valley. Come south about 30 metres off the summit of Slight Side and you’ll find a path heads down towards Quagrigg Moss. Take this path to the floor of the valley and then head south for a mile across the marshy land until you eventually reach the small stream of Catcove Beck which leads you into Cat Crag.
At Cat Crag there is a bend in the river where it rounds a huge slanted boulder. Cross Catcove Beck here and follow the path on the other side through the crags and then follow this route known on some maps as the Terrace Route for about a mile until you come down towards the Eskdale Valley and the main road through the valley should be in view. If at Catcove Beck you take the wrong path and head down too soon just follow the wall right and you’ll eventually meet up with the Terrace Route. The Terrace Route takes you down to the road at the Wha House Farm.
From here we can either walk back directly along the road for a couple of miles or take the slightly longer route off road following the paths along the River Esk
Please contact Mel on 07584303975 by 6pm on Saturday if you are coming on this walk.
The walk leader reserves the right to modify the route or cancel the walk dependent on conditions.