Mountain Safety Man blogs!

Posted by @ 5:58 pm on Tuesday 20th March, 2007.
Categories: Rambling on...

Well, last night we watched Wainwright's Walks 4/4 Scafell Pike on BBC4. The web blurb is as follows: In the last in the series exploring the work of Britain's most famous fell-walker, Alfred Wainwright, Julia Bradbury attempts to climb England's highest peak.

JB did the walk from Seathwaite, starting out at what seemed to be an average time in the morning after having a chat with Joss Naylor. The route took her over Stockley Bridge, up the Gill, a scenic detour around Sprinkling Tarn, back up to the true Esk Hause then via Calf Cove and the Ill Crag / Broad Crag massif to Broad Crag col and then the final pull up to the summit. A fine route, and, as she says, a long route.

Now, she was atop Scafell Pike quite late, after walking for over ten hours, so she said. The sun was lowering and the sky was turning a hazy reddish colour. Let's assume that she left Seathwaite at approx 8:00 a.m., that would put her at the summit at 6:00 p.m. Then bear in mind that she says that she's not a very experienced walker - according to her, Haystacks (programme 1/4) was her first Wainwright.

Doesn't leave much time for the return, especially with a camera crew in tow, does it? And it's not as if you can get back to Seathwaite easily without either retracing the route or dropping down to the Corridor Route - there's no short-cut back to base on any map that I've ever seen.

I'm more than a little bit concerned that armchair/novice walkers will be inspired by JB to tackle this route, arrive at the top knackered in the late afternoon, think that it's OK because they saw it on the telly, start back and then get benighted before ending up as MRT statistics.

Overall, the series has been excellent - varied routes and objectives, good scenic shots, and chats with notable characters such as Joss Naylor. The trouble is, it's all a bit misleading and it could tempt the unwary into more trouble than they can cope with.


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5 Responses to “Mountain Safety Man blogs!”

  1. Weird Darren says:

    You safety conscious so and so, maybe she and the crew where going to over night up there and have some of that naughty fun up there.


  2. Lay says:

    I enjoyed the program too.

    JB did say in the documentary that the time taken for filming added considerably to the length of her day - but I take your point.

  3. BG! says:

    Hmmm… maybe she didn’t make it back down at all, and that’s why the series ended after the 4th episode.

  4. john hee says:

    “I’m more than a little bit concerned……..” “The trouble is, it’s all a bit misleading and it could tempt the unwary………”

    ……..and that was exactly what started wineing about part way through the program. It was obvious the only way her team would get back down was with the use of headtorchs and lots of good warm clothing (didn’t see much of that in her skimpy little daysack - she seemed to be wearing most of it already) That wind was well up!

    I suspect the arrival at the peak was chosen to underline the fact its a long trek in, and to arrive for the sunset period/pretty pictures. But as to getting back down……..

    And at what point did you ever see her refer to a map and compass. I burst out laughing at one point when she used the AW book for route finding based on visual clues. We’ve all done that, but the novice thinking this was the usual method would be in a real mess on that part of the route. (Speaking as one who spent 2 hours in thick cloud on Esk Hause/Ore Gap, on well known ground, and still managed to turn back on my own route at one point with map/compass & GPS)

    Overall an interesting series, but some of the ha ha its so easy to do this, approach left something to be desired.

    Oh and when did she ever break into a sweat? Not the type of hill walking I know. Harrumph.


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