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Scafell Pike

 
   

 

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Height: 978m (3,209ft) GPS: NY 21548 07223 Walking Routes

Scafell Pike is the highest fell in England with a height of 3,209 ft (978 metres) and is located in the Lake District National Park.

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 the east.

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 slip.

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 booted feet.

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 Pike.

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 the summit.

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 Seathwaite.

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 Esk Hause.

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 the summit.

 
Walking routes near Scafell Pike
 

 

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