By Vanessa Miller
On a wet Saturday in September five intrepid ski club members already clad in waterproof clothing gathered in the car park of the Boot Inn in Eskdale. Our mission was to scale the west side of Scafell after crossing Eskdale Moor and passing Burnmoor Tarn, and then from the top go south to Slight Side and descend via Quagrigg Moss passing Stony and Eel Tarns on the way back to Boot for tea and scones or beer. Roy Dearden who had driven up for the day was our fifth walker.
The walk leader, Steve, Derek and I had stayed overnight and sampled the local beer and food at the Brook House Inn the night before, which was very good. Better than our own hotel where the breakfast quality linked directly to the number of beers the chef had the night before, although the staff were very friendly.
The weather forecast was mixed with a few showers and worse on the Sunday. It soon became clear that due to poor conditions; driving rain (almost hail), mist and wind which were making our ascent very slow that it was going to take us a long time to complete the walk, and that potentially it could be dark by the time we got back. So although we had completed 75% of the climb up to Scafell, Dave made the decision that it would be better for us to take an alternative route at a lower level. After a quick stop for a soggy banana we retraced our steps back down to Burnmoor Tarn where the weather was more clement. A stop for lunch overlooking the tarn included Dave's now famous granola bars and Steve's Eccles cakes (he had enough for 25 people, we were very full). We then headed up past Burnmoor Lodge taking a route south into Miterdale. Although still soggy underfoot we had the best views of the day from here looking ahead over Muncaster Fell and down onto the coast at Ravenglass. It was photographer's delight with a dark sky and background of sunlight which was very dramatic, although none of us had a camera.
We then turned left onto Brats Hill on our way back down to Boot and passed a stone circle, one of a number in the area dating back to 2000 BC, each with its own burial site marked by a stone cairn. Following on from this with new mystic powers we all floated back down to the Boot Inn for refreshments.
For those interested in seeing more details and pictures of the stone circle you can visit the following website https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/things-to-do/history-and-archaeology/stonecircles and look for Burnmoor Stone Circles.