Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

A night under the stars

I find myself temporarily off grid, so my posts shall be rather scarce for a time. But lo and behold, gaze upon this splendid sight of the Scafell massif, captured after a night spent beneath the stars upon Esk Pike. My duty was to man a checkpoint for the Lake District Mountain Trial. Alas, a mere five hours later, I had to hastily vacate this exposed checkpoint due to the alarming proximity of lightning. Fortunately, the tempest was brief, and normal operations swiftly resumed.

There is much to be said about these central fells of the Lake District, and uninterrupted hours of contemplation bestow upon one a profound appreciation for the intricacies of crags, scree runs, and terraces – all in meticulous Wainwright detail.

Yet, the star of this photographic spectacle is none other than Scafell Pike, England’s loftiest peak. Its substantial cairn, constructed in the year 1826, bustles with activity even at this early hour. One can only surmise that these intrepid souls began their ascent in the shroud of darkness.

To the left of Scafell Pike, a modest 14 metres lower in elevation, stands Sca Fell. This hill found itself in the possession of Gordon Wordsworth, the grandson of the esteemed poet, and A C Benson, a learned scholar hailing from Cambridge, in the year 1924. Subsequently, they presented this acquisition to the National Trust. Lord Leconfield, the former owner, was thoroughly perplexed by their motivations for acquiring these mountains:

“I can’t see why you should want to buy — you can go anywhere, do anything already. I have no rights but mineral and shooting rights; and there isn’t an ounce of anything but soft stone, nor any sign of life … Still if you have the money to throw away and like to buy rights which you already enjoy, well and good.”

This raises the query: if he believed the land had no value, why did he demand payment? Clearly, any “good” other than his own was not within his contemplation.







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