Scafell Pike is the highest fell in England with a
height of 3,209 ft (978 metres) and is located in the Lake District
The summit was donated to the National Trust in 1919
by Lord Leconfield in memory of the men of the Lake District "Who fell
for God and King, for freedom, peace and right in the Great War".
Scafell Pike is one of a horseshoe of high fells, open
to the south, which surrounds the head of Eskdale. It stands on the
western side of the ring with Scafell to the south and Great End to the
north. This ridge forms the watershed between Eskdale and Wasdale, which
lies to the west.
The rough summit plateau is fringed by crag on all
sides with Pikes Crag and Dropping Crag above Wasdale and Rough Crag to
Below Rough Crag and Pen is a further tier, named Dow
Crag and Central Pillar on Ordnance Survey maps, although also known as
Esk Buttress among climbers.Esk Buttress and Pikes Crag are well known
rock climbing venues.
Broad Crag Col is the source of Little Narrowcove Beck
in the east and of Piers Gill in the west. The latter works its way
around Lingmell to Wastwater through a spectacular ravine, one of the
most impressive in the District. It is treacherous in winter, as when it
freezes over it creates an icy patch with lethal exposure should you
Broad Crag is a small top with its principle face on
the west and the smaller Green Crag looking down on Little Narrowcove.
From Broad Crag the ridge turns briefly east across Ill Crag Col and
onto the shapel pyramidal summit of Ill Crag. Here the main crags are on
the Eskdale side, Ill Crag having little footing in Wasdale.
Scafell Pike has a claim to the highest standing water
in England, although Foxes Tarn on Scafell is of similar height.
The summit ridge from Ill Crag to Mickledore is
notoriously stony, the surface being composed in many places of fields
of boulders. Paths are not marked by the usual erosion of soil, but by
coloured marks on the rock following the passage of many thousands of
The summits of Ill and Broad Crags are bypassed by the
ridge path, but it leads unerring to the highest point. This bears an
Ordnance Survey triangulation column beside a massive cairn. This is not
now in the best of repair, but is unmistakable from any distance, still
six feet high and much greater in diameter. A little distance away is
the lower south peak, a place to escape the crowds and marvel at the
view over Eskdale.
The ascent of the Pike is most often attempted from
Wasdale Head. This is at the north end of Wastwater to the west of the
Pike, and is at about 80 metres above sea level.
On summer weekends, crowds of people can be found
attempting this steep but straightforward walk. An alternative ascent
from Wasdale approaches up a hanging valley whose head is at Mickledore,
which is itself ascended, before following the path from Scafell to the
A more taxing, but scenically far superior, approach
begins at Seathwaite Farm at the end of Borrowdale, proceeding via
Styhead Tarn, then taking the Corridor Route, a delightful walk along
the western flank of the Scafell massif with intimate views of the fell,
before joining the route from Wasdale near the summit.
The return journey can then be made along a high
ridge, taking in any or all of the neighbouring summits of Broad Crag,
Ill Crag, Great End, Allen Crags and Glaramara.
An alternative route from Borrowdale, longer but
perhaps less taxing than that via the Corridor Route, runs from
Seathwaite via Grains Gill and the high pass of Esk.
A further ascent may be made from Langdale. From the
Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel, the route proceeds up alongside Rossett Gill,
past Angle Tarn, and then onto Esk Hause before joining a rocky path to
Energetic walkers can vary the return route by
ascending Esk Pike and Bowfell from Esk Hause and then come down the
Bowfell Band. Another variant which avoids simply returning down Rossett
Gill is to head north at the Angle Tarn, over Rossett Pike to join The
Cumbrian Way, and descend via Stake Pass adding a mile to the walk.
The total distance is about 21 kilometres. Esk Hause
is also accessible from Styhead Tarn, making another possible route from
Another ascent can be made from Eskdale, the longest
and most arduous way up but it has some very fine scenery. The route
follows the River Esk as far as the Great Moss boggy plateau; walkers
then have a choice of ascending steeply up to Mickledore, the low ridge
between Scafell and Scafell Pike, or following the Esk to its source at
A third possible route up from Great Moss is Little Narrowcove, a steep
ascent which emerges onto the ridge a few hundred metres north-east of