Great End is the most northern mountain in the Scafell chain, in the English Lake District, in Cumbria, Northern England. From the south it apperas as simply a lump continuing this chain. From the north, however, it is appears as an huge mountain, with an imposing north face rising high above Sprinkling Tarn. This is a popular location for camping and the north face attracts many climbers from all over.
Wainwright wrote of Great End in his splendid Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells: “This is the true Lakeland of the fellwalker, the sort of terrain that calls him back time after time, the sort of memory that haunts his long winter exile. It is not the pretty places – the flowery lanes of Grasmere or Derwentwater’s wooded bays – that keep him restless in his bed; it is the magnificent ones. Places like Great End…” which seems a fitting tribute to this marvellous place.
The imposing north east cliffs, riven by gullies, rise some 600 ft from the Esk Hause path. Their orientation ensures that the sun seldom reaches them, the gullies frequently retaining snow well into the spring. From the left side when viewed from below the principal fissures are South East Gully, Central Gully and Cust’s Gully.
To the west of the cliffs a ridge descends gradually in the direction of Sty Head. This is known as The Band, and it also sports a harsh gash across its features. On the west side of The Band is the cavernous ravine of Skew Gill, a tributary of Wasdale-bound Lingmell Beck. At the base of The Band the ridge continues as the complex top of Seathwaite Fell, complete with numerous tarns.The biggest is Sprinkling Tarn with its beautifully indented shoreline providing perfect foreground for splendid views of the cliff.
Sty Head is one of the main points of the District for walkers. The name strictly applies to the col between Great End and Great Gable a height of 1,560 ft, but is now more generally given to the path which traverses it. This path connects two of the most popular starting points for walks and hikes in the high fells, Wasdale Head and Seathwaite (Borrowdale). Sty Head is also known as a walker’s crossroads with other paths leading direct up Great Gable following the outflow of Sprinkling Tarn up to Esk Hause.
In a westerly direction from the summit, Great End makes a rocky descent toward the arms of Lingmell Beck. This flank is crossed by the Corridor Route, the popular route to Scafell Pike from Sty Head. Above the path are the subsidiary top of Round How, a Nuttall and the small, beautifully clear tarn of Lambfoot Dub.
The south ridge to the Scafells crosses a shallow saddle and then climbs over Ill Crag and Broad Crag, a well blazoned path leading across the rocky terrain to the summit of Scafell Pike. To the east of the first depression is Calf Cove, its easy slopes ltumbling down to Esk Hause.
The summit has two cairns of very similar height, that to the north west being nearer to the cliff edge and having the better view. Northwards along Borrowdale the vista is unsurpassed, but the whole panorama is excellent. The heads of the gullies can also be approached for startling views down the face.
The summit is made up of the laminated volcaniclastic claystone and siltstone of the Esk Pike Formation which overlays the dacitic welded lapilli-tuff of the Lincomb Tarns Formation. The latter is seen in the great north front.
Great End may be climbed from Sty Head Tarn via The Band, not to be confused with the more famous Band on Bowfell, from Wasdale Head along Lingmell Gill and Spouthead Gill, from Borrowdale via Grains Gill, from Great Langdale via Rossett Gill and Esk Hause, or indeed from Eskdale. As an intermediate objective Great End may easily be ascended from the main path between Esk Hause and Scafell Pike, requiring only a small detour of around 400 m.
Cust’s Gully at the west end of Great End’s cliffs was named after the 19th century climber and sketcher Arthur Cust, a classical scholar from Yorkshire also known for his watercolour sketches of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc in the Alps. Cust’s Gully is a Grade 1 rock climb, and a difficult obstacle for walkers climbing from Sprinkling Tarn. Cust’s first winter ascent of the gully was recorded in 1880, although he is believed to have ascended it earlier.
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