Guided Walks up Scafell Pike with Professional Mountain Leaders
Scafell Pike stands at 978m tall, and with that it is the highest mountain in England. It has numerous fantastic routes to it's infamous summit platform, from which breathtaking views can be had. Scafell Pike, or 'The Pike' as many like to refer to it is a great day out for experienced walkers and non-walkers with ambitious targets too. Despite having some clearly defined paths in places and attracting hundreds of thousands to it's summit each year, Scafell Pike is a mountain not to be underestimated, a fact that can be reiterated by looking at annual mountain rescue reports. Our guides are available to lead on any of the routes up Scafell Pike, with the most popular being from Wasdale & Seathwaite. More information on each route, and their suitability can be found below.
Scafell Pike From Wasdale
This route is by far the most popular route up the mountain. The route tarts from the incredible valley of Wasdale. Although one of the trickiest valleys to get to with regards to travelling there, once there is it utterly breathtaking. The view from the far end of Wastwater (see left) was voted as 'Britain's Best View', and rightly so. The Wasdale Valley hosts some of the finest rock climbing in the Lake District and has a very rich mountaineering history. One of the most famous walking pubs, the Wasdale Head Inn is situated at the top of the valley and is always well worth a visit - especially if you like a good quality ale! The valley also hosts a good quality National Trust Campsite and plenty of parking is available.
Grade:Mod Terrain: Rough Ground Duration: 5-6 Hours
Route Stats: Miles: 6 Ascent: 830m
Starting from the Wasdale Valley we join the Brown Tongue Path. This is a well made path, which for the second quarter has been well pitched by the Fix the Fells team. It doesn't take long to get excellent views back down towards Wastwater, the deepest lake in England. Just over half way up a flatter boulder field known as Hollow Stones is met. From here the impressive crags of Scafell (the 2nd highest mountain in England) can be seen, as well as Pikes Crag on the front of Scafell Pike. Hollow Stones can often be a point of confusion in the mist as the rolling ground is strewn with boulders is laced with little tracks. The main path forks with one leading to Mickledore, a col between Scafell Pike and Scafell. Although a fun way up to the summit, the short gully leading to the top of the col is now quite loose underfoot, and not a place worth entertaining when there are lots of people around.
We generally like to head across Hollow Stones and head for Lingmell Col. After the boulderfield the path improves and zig zags up to Lingmell Col. Now at just under 800m altitude the path steepens again and becomes rougher under foot. The final summit push is made and after about 25-30 minutes you'll pop out on the summit plateau of Scafell Pike. This area is the second point of confusion in poor weather and darkness, as the summit plateau is pretty much featureless, so navigation skills are required. On more than a few occasions we've helped people out on the plateau, many of which have been totally confused as to which way to go on the plateau. Unlike Ben Nevis, the summit plateau is quite a small area, so after a final few metres of ascent the summit trig point and platform are reached.
Providing the summit is clear of cloud (which unfortunately isn't always the case)
the views are sensational. To the west you can see the Isle of Man out to see,
and to the south west you can sometimes pick out Blackpool Tower, and even Snowdon!
The route described above is the route traditionally used on the National 3 Peaks Challenge. Make note of the tricky summit plateau in poor visibility - so when under darkness it is just as tricky - and super tricky when dark and misty!
This route is most suited to those with limited hill walking experience and limited hill fitness.
Additional walking options from Wasdale include:
Ascending via Piers Gill - a quieter path which heads up next to the impressive Piers Gill from the top of the Wasdale Valley. It joins the Corridor Route and then picks up the final summit slopes mentioned above. Great for those with reasonable fitness and walking experience.
Adding on Scafell - For a longer and harder day, we can also add on Scafell. This includes a big descent and ascent between the peaks (depsite there only being 14m difference between the two!) but is a great day out bagging the two highest peaks in England.
Scafell Pike From Seathwaite
The route up Scafell Pike from Seathwaite is possibly one of the best circuits on to any of the highest fells in England. Seathwaite, a tiny hamlet sits at the very head of the Borrowdale Valley and to the north of Scafell Pike itself. Seathwaite is actually on record as being the 'Westest place in England', so it's really nice when you're there and it isn't raining! The popular town of Keswick is just 9 miles up the valley and is a popular place to situate yourself when visiting to walk in the Borrowdale Valley. Keswick has an abundance of accommodation, restaurants and pubs, some of which we recommend here. If you are looking for somewhere a bit special to stay, check out the Borrowdale Gates Hotel.
Grade: Hard Terrain: Rough Ground Duration: 7 Hours
Route Stats: Miles: 9 Ascent: 1200m
From (a dry) Seathwaite the path heads southwards to Stockley Bridge, an old packhorse bridge. When heading up Scafell Pike from the north we like to go via Styhead Tarn, so this means heading up the slopes past Taylorgill Force and around the front of Seathwaite Fell. This short but steep climb is soon over and before long you find yourself standing aside Styhead Tarn, a gorgeous mountain lake and a popular wild camping location. It is at this point you are half way through the route in both distance and ascent. The Corridor route is an old guides route which traverses the fellside and heads for Lingmell Col, the gap between Scafell Pike and Lingmell (seen in the picture above in the centre of the picture). The Corridor route isn't too steep for too long at any point, and even offers a tiny scrambling experience which is always a highlight for most walkers. Once at Lingmell Col, the top end of the route from Wasdale is met and the same final slopes on to the summit are used.
Providing weather conditions allow, the best way back to Seathwaite is to head northwards off the summit of Scafell Pike. A steep loose slope is taken to Broad Crag col, which is followed by a short ascent onto the slopes of Broad Crag - a satellite peak of Scafell Pike. A sometimes tricky to see cairned trail is followed around the summit boulders of Broad Crag and then across the slopes of Ill Crag, the next peak over. The next highlight of the walk is Esk Hause, the highest mountain pass in England. This is a bit of a crossroads of paths, and many other impressive peaks such as Allen Crags, Esk Pike and Bowfell can be accessed from here. We continue northwards and pick up Grains Gill which is followed all the way down the valley back to Seathwaite, during which excellent views back up the Borrowdale Valley are enjoyed.
This route is sometimes used as part of the National 3 Peaks Challenge. It does cut a the driving time down, however the navigation is trickier and the route itself is 3 miles longer, so the route from Wasdale is favored.
This route is most suited to those with basic hill walking experience and reasonable hill fitness, however we have taken numerous novices up Scafell Pike via this route and they have been fine.
As you will have read above, Scafell Pike is often cause for quite a few incidents a year of people getting lost. All of our leaders know Scafell Pike extremely well and have led groups up it day and night in a whole range of conditions - one of our leaders has even climbed the mountain over 400 times! Hiring a guide means that you can be relieved of the stress of having to navigate the paths and manage the group. We strive to ensure all our days are not only fun, but educational, so expect to learn something about this amazing mountain and the area around it as you climb. We are available in both Summer and Winter for hire, as well as for night ascents for challenges such as the National 3 Peaks. We have an excellent safety record, and many glowing testimonials which can be viewed here.