Scafell Pike

  • North from Angle Tarn - © William Mackesy
  • © Doug Sim
  • Angle Tarn - © William Mackesy
  • 13 Year Olds - © William Mackesy
  • Climbing out of Great Langdale valley head - © William Mackesy
  • Climbing toward Broad Crag - © William Mackesy
  • © Dave Dunford
  • Far end of Great Langdale Valley - © William Mackesy
  • © Doug Sim
  • Wasdale Head, nestling in the fells - © Flickr user - FGMB
  • © Flickr user Katie Dorman & Nick Bond
  • Another from Esk - © William Mackesy
  • © Thorneh
  • 13 year olds, March 2016 - © William Mackesy
  • Angle Tarn - © William Mackesy
  • Climbing out of Great Langdale valley head, March - © William Mackesy
  • Climbing toward Broad Crag, March 2016 - © William Mackesy
  • © Dave.Dunford at English Wikipedia
  • Far end of Great Langdale valley, March, light effects - © William Mackesy
  • © Flickr user Doug Sim
  • © Flickr user Doug Sim
  • "Wasdale Head, nestling in the fells" - © Flickr user FGMB
  •  "Scafell Pike Day" - © Katie Dorman & Nick Bond
  • North from Angle Tarn - © William Mackesy
  • Nother from Esk Hause - © William Mackesy
  • Scafell Pike 1 - © Flickr
  • Scafell Pike 5 - © wikipedia
  • Scafell Pike 6 - © Flickr
  • © Thorneh at English Wikipedia

Key information: Scafell Pike

    • England's highest mountain, if not its loveliest space.
    • A wealth of options, including some gorgeous approach walks.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating89.5
  • Beauty34
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest10
  • Charisma32.5
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating89.5
  • Note: negs: popularity of some of the best routes.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 977m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Angle Tarn - © William Mackesy


England's highest mountain (if not its loveliest) at a princely 977m, sits at the heart of a roadless mass of high ground which includes Sca Fell, Broad Fell and Great End, with Great Gable and Bow Fell nearby while you're at it.


Scafell Pike is not easily accessible, so you'll face a longish walk in however you do it. And however you approach it, you will be in for harsh magnificence, tarns, lovely views down side valleys, and desolate, rocky tops. And the sorts of huge and gorgeous views (on a good day!) from the summit which will make it all worthwhile. It is not, actually, the Lakes' best overall walk, but you'll be glad you tackled it - and it isn't THAT bad a climb, just with quite a longish walk to factor in.


Note that wayfinding isn't that easy if the cloud comes down - Walkopedia got briefly disoriented in March 16 while in charge of two 13 tear olds, and it was disconcerting.


Perhaps the best and one of the most used approach is from the Great Langdale Valley. (Walkopedia came this way in late March 2016, and met snow on the ground and cloud and sleet in the sky!) From the roadhead, you will walk a beautiful hour or less up its flat bottom to the great horseshoe of crags at the valley head, where you will start a steep 350m slog to a notch in the high ridge, whence you will come to lovely (or forbidding, depending on the weather) Angle Tarn, a textbook glacial scoop under the crags between Bow Fell and Esk Pike. From there you climb to a saddle with the stream systems above Wast Water to the west, where there is a cruciform wind shelter which we're sure has saved lives. Turning south-east, you climb to the high ridge south of Great End; then you cross just below the stony flats of Broad Crag and drop to the cleft below Scafell Pike itself. A final 150m(?) puff up rough broken rock gets you to the summit, for view and reward time. 5-8hrs. (Walkopedia took 7.5hrs including breaks, with two 13 year olds.)


Other approaches:


-       From the head of Wast Water to the west. A shorter route, but a long and relentless climb (relieved by five views back over Wasdale) if you go direct. You could make a steadier ascent up the Lingmell Beck Valley to the north then traverse south on the superb Corridor Route between the crags (not for the vertigo sufferer) or round east of Great End and joining the route from Langdale.


-       From Borrowdale to the north: another lovely approach walk, then join the Corridor route or the second half of the approach from Langdale.


-       From Eskdale to the south: the longest and arguably the most demanding route of all, following the river Esk from just below Hardnott Pass right into the heart of the massif. The best scenery of all?


This is tough walking in rough mountains with famously uncertain weather, come prepared.


This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by recommending your best walks and sending photos! Thank you!


See our Lake District walk page.


Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Wasdale Head, nestling in the fells - © Flickr user - FGMB

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

© Doug Sim...

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