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Scafell Pike from Seathwaite

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Scafell Pike from Seathwaite
Author: Lancashire Walks, Published: 02 Dec 2018 Walk Rating:star0 Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbriastar0 Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbriastar0 Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbriastar0 Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbriastar0 Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbria
Cumbria, Lake District
Walk Type: Mountains
Scafell Pike from Seathwaite
Length: 9 miles,  Difficulty: boot Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbria boot Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbria boot Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbria boot Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbria boot Scafell Pike from Seathwaite Walking Guide Cumbria
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A 9 mile circular and strenuous walk leading to the summit of Scafell Pike in Cumbria. Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England with an elevation of 978 metres above sea level and is located within the Southern Fells of the Lake District. The route climbs from Seathwaite to Styhead Tarn and Styhead Pass to join the Corridor Route to Lingmell Col. After enjoying the summit of Scafell Pike, the descent leads you via Esk Hause. Of the three highest peaks of Britain, Scafell Pike is a tougher climb than either Ben Nevis in Scotland or Snowdon in Wales. In part, this is due to the fact that it is not easily accessible from the more frequented valleys of Langdale and Borrowdale, while the character of the ground underfoot demands care by whatever route you choose. Once on the summit plateau, the walker has to negotiate a sea of rock which is irksome even in good weather. Nonetheless for those who make the pilgrimage the rewards are immense. They will have immersed themselves in the most dramatic mountain scenery this country has to offer and had the satisfaction of being momentarily the highest person in England.

This walk is a serious mountain climb and should only be attempted in good weather conditions by experienced hill walkers. Ensure you are prepared with the proper equipment and an OS map. The route would pose a dangerous hazard for humans or dogs that are not accustomed to challenging hill walks. The total ascent is about 800 metres with some steep sections. Whilst some of the route follows well-made rock-built paths, there are several sections on rough rocky ground and areas with loose or crumbly stones underfoot which can be very slippery. There are a couple of rocky scrambles where you will need to use your hands. You will be sharing the fells with sheep. Allow 7-8 hours.

The walk starts and finishes at the tiny village of Seathwaite. There is roadside parking along a long stretch of the road as you approach, however this can be busy during holidays and weekends, particularly in the summer. Please park with consideration for local farm traffic. Approximate post code CA12 5XJ.

Walk Sections

Start to Stockley Bridge
Start to Stockley Bridge

Start point: 54.4998 lat, -3.182 long
End point: 54.4877 lat, -3.1829 long

Walk to the end of the Seathwaite road and continue through the farmyard, passing between farm buildings. Exit through a gate at the far side and keep ahead to follow the broad stone track with a stream running on your right. After about 0.7 miles you will reach the attractive Stockley Bridge.

Stockley Bridge to Styhead Tarn
Stockley Bridge to Styhead Tarn

Start point: 54.4877 lat, -3.1829 long
End point: 54.4785 lat, -3.2034 long

Swing right to cross the bridge. Go through the gate ahead and follow the path directly ahead (signed in the direction of Styhead Tarn). There now commences a climb as you ascend to the hanging valley formed by Styhead Gill. At the top of the first stretch of climb, go through the gate in the stone wall and follow the path as it bears right. Stay with the rocky path as it continues to climb, eventually the gradient eases and you will have Styhead Gill on your right. When you reach a footbridge, cross the gill and continue with the gill now on your left. The path leads you to body of water called Styhead Tarn.

Styhead Tarn to Corridor Route
Styhead Tarn to Corridor Route

Start point: 54.4785 lat, -3.2034 long
End point: 54.4745 lat, -3.2024 long

Pass the tarn on your left and continue ahead on the path, climbing steadily to reach the top of the pass where you will see a distinctive mountain rescue stretcher box. This col is one of Lakeland's most significant crossroads, with paths linking Borrowdale and Wasdale and less directly Eskdale and Langdale. At the stretcher box turn left (east) on a path that dips across a boggy area (via rocky steps) and then continues on to reach a cairn about 300yds from the pass. Here, turn right onto a narrower path that marks the start of The Corridor Route.

Corridor Route to Rocky Step
Corridor Route to Rocky Step

Start point: 54.4745 lat, -3.2024 long
End point: 54.4663 lat, -3.2066 long

Initially the path loses height as it descends to cross Skew Gill but beyond this it is mainly straightforward as it traverses along the flank of Great End and Broad Crag with superlative views of Great Gable and Lingmell as well as Upper Wasdale. There is one section that is far from straightforward however. This is known as the Bad Step or Rocky Step, which is encountered as the path swings left into the cove above Greta Gill.

Rocky Step to Lingmell Col
Rocky Step to Lingmell Col

Start point: 54.4663 lat, -3.2066 long
End point: 54.4584 lat, -3.2189 long

The Rocky Step is a rocky scramble downwards of some 25 feet. There are plenty of hand holds and foot holds so for the experienced fellwalker it should not represent a major obstacle, but it would deter those who do not have a head for heights. After this the path continues climbing ahead, ignoring a path left which goes to Broad Crag Col, and crossing the head of Piers Gill. Lingmell Col (our next landmark) is now just ahead and above, so keep left and follow the cairns that mark the way over the rocky ground to the col.

Lingmell Col to Scafell Pike Summit
Lingmell Col to Scafell Pike Summit

Start point: 54.4584 lat, -3.2189 long
End point: 54.4543 lat, -3.2116 long

Turn left here and join the loose rocky path that will lead you to the summit. You have now merged with the route from Wasdale so you are likely to find this stretch busier with walkers. The path is loose scree with boulders so take extra care. After a steep climb, the path turns right and climbs along sloping slabs, before making a turn back left. As you reach the summit plateau you will cross the boulder field to reach the trig point and viewing platform marking the summit. As you have taken a great deal of effort to get here, make the most of the panoramic views.

Scafell Pike Summit to Great End
Scafell Pike Summit to Great End

Start point: 54.4543 lat, -3.2116 long
End point: 54.4638 lat, -3.195 long

The next section of the walk heads north-east and takes you to the summit of Great End, which is easier said than done. In terms of distance it is not far – 1.25 miles – but the route involves steep descents to cols below Broad Crag and Ill Crag (the Pike's neighbouring tops) before crossing the top of Calf Cove to scale Great End. The steep descents are the least of it. The first descent follows a well-worn path which is crumbly underfoot demanding considerable concentration as you negotiate the loose stones. Going over Broad Crag, the way is strewn with boulders again requiring focus. It will be a relief to reach Calf Cove and branch off left to bag the summit of Great End. The awkward crossing is rewarded with sublime views especially to the north where Skiddaw provides the backstop to Borrowdale and Derwentwater.

Great End to Grains Gill
Great End to Grains Gill

Start point: 54.4638 lat, -3.195 long
End point: 54.4675 lat, -3.1902 long

From the summit retrace your steps back to the path on Calf Cove and turn left to continue along it, descending to Esk Hause (another significant crossroads in the fells). Here take the path leading left that takes you round the flanks of Great End and leads you to the main path connecting Styhead with Langdale. Turn left to join the main path and after 300 yds you will arrive at a path junction at the top of Grains Gill.

Grains Gill to End
Grains Gill to End

Start point: 54.4675 lat, -3.1902 long
End point: 54.5002 lat, -3.1818 long

Here turn right and follow the path with Ruddy Gill on your left. Further along the path leads you across Ruddy Gill and makes the long final descent with Grains Gill running to your right. At the end of the path you will see Stockley Bridge on your right and from this point you will retrace your steps back to the start. Turn right over the bridge and follow the path as it swings left, leading you all the way back to Seathwaite where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author lancashirewalks and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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