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A Guide To Scafell Pike

A Guide To Scafell Pike
9 May 2019

Photo: Sagesolar

At 978m above sea level, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. It’s located in the southern fells of the Lake District between Wasdale and Eskdale. The peak is rumoured to have received its name from old Norse ‘skalli fjall’ meaning bald summit or mountain hut - the second part of the name ‘Pike’ simply refers to the peak.

The mountain was donated to the National Trust by the late Lord Leconfield in memory of the men from the Lake District who gave their lives protecting the country in World War One. Today, the Trust continues to maintain the mountain which is one of the most popular summits in England, attracting thousands of walkers every year.

Mountain Profile


There are numerous routes and trails to the summit approaching from four different valleys, Wasdale, Borrowdale, Great Langdale, and Eskdale, that involve diverse terrain and technical challenges with all of them requiring a good level of fitness.

Intermediate Route - Wasdale Head Via Hollow Stones

  • Distance: 8.4 km
  • Ascent: 900m
  • Time: 4 - 6 hrs
  • Car Park: CA20 1EX

The best known and well-tracked route up Scafell Pike begins at Wasdale Head, leading you up and around Hollow Stones and onto the summit. The 8.4km route involves a variety of terrain including gravel paths, stepped sections and rock fields. 

It’s worth noting that this trail gets busy during the summer months and can take anywhere from 4 – 6 hours for a round trip, depending on your fitness.

Intermediate/Advanced Route -Scafell Pike Corridor Route from Seathwaite via Styhead

  • Distance: 15 km
  • Ascent: 1000m
  • Time: 6 – 7 hrs
  • Car Park: CA12 5XJ

This walk begins in Seathwaite leading out to Stockley Bridge, up Styhead Gill and around the tarn before joining the Corridor Route up to Scafell. The Corridor Route is a popular route but the path in from Seathwaite should give you some quieter times before you join the masses.

Off- The Beaten Track - Scafell Pike via Cam Spout From Boot

  • Distance: 17 km
  • Ascent: 1000m
  • Time: 6 – 8 hrs
  • Car Parking: CA19 1TG

This peaceful walk keeps you away from the crowds on the Wasdale approach and follows the River Esk on a gentle ascent for most of the trail before a final steep section towards the summit.

Flora & Fauna

A kestrel

Along your route to the summit, there is the chance to see sheep, goats, ravens, skylarks, birds of prey - buzzards, kestrels and even golden eagles. 

For those who intend on taking a dog, you need to take special care of birds nesting on the ground between March and July. Scafell Pike is a strenuous route for most people let alone dogs and unless your dog is used to stony paths there is a risk of cuts and injuries to paws. 

Despite the summit being covered with a boulder field, hardy plants such as the Dwarf Willow and Thrift manage to grow in between the Lichen. The surrounding steep gills are an ideal home for the rare Purple, Starry and Mossy Saxifrage along with Alpine Meadow Rue.


A pub



  • Wasdale Head Inn

It has nine hotel rooms,  self-catered apartments and camping options with a range of classic English dishes available at the pub. The Pub also has a small shop on its grounds for any last minute supplies.

Accommodation (Campsites, youth hostel, BnB)

  • Burnthwaite B & B

A working sheep farm that offers B&B or self-catered options (including a small cottage), serves a hearty breakfast and they even offer to make you a packed lunch. 

  • Lingmell House

This former vicarage has twin, double or single rooms with doorstep access to Great Gable, Scafell and Pillar. Onsite parking is available and dogs are welcome.

  • Wasdale National Trust Campsite

Space for 120 tents and 11 campervan pitches with hard standings and electric hook-ups – it also has seven heated camping pods for rent. Facilities include an on-site shop, toilet and shower block, washing-up areas and laundry room.



  • Langstrath Country Inn

A short 10 min walk down the road is Langstrath Country Inn where you can get pub food classics or stay the night in one of their eight guest rooms.

Accommodation (Campsites, youth hostel, BnB)

  • Seatoller Farm B&B

This site offers a range of accommodation options – a two bedroom cottage, B & B single rooms with locally sourced food for breakfast. Or pitch your tent at the farm campsite, that’s just down the road.

  • Seathwaite Farm Camping

The farm has a large camping field suitable for tents and motorhomes. They have several pre-erect teepees that house up to 7 people or the on-site camping barn has simple bunks, communal lounge, drying area and kitchen.

  • Inside Out Camping

Enjoy the comfort and luxury of a fully equipped and spacious yurt. They come complete with double bed, stove, plenty of space to relax in after a long day walking.

Eskdale (Boot)


  • The Brook House Inn

Real ales and a vast selection on whiskey await you at the Brook house inn. There have eight en-suite bedrooms with singles, doubles and twin set-ups.

  • The Boot Inn

Award-winning gastro pub food and selection of local ales with comfortable rooms that are dog-friendly for a small surcharge.

Accommodation (Campsites, youth hostel, BnB)

  • Eskdale Campsite

This National Trust campsite is open to tents, motorhomes, campervans and has its own camping pods and camping barn that you can rent. The site’s modern facilities include showers, toilets, drying rooms and more.

  • Bridge End Farm Cottages

This bit of luxury is a beautifully restored 16th-century farmhouse that sleeps up to 8 (in comfort), has its own private walled garden, large kitchen, wood log burner and multiple bathrooms.

Kit List

Hiking Rucksack

The clothing, equipment and footwear you need for this hike are the same as any other. The only addition to consider would be walking poles – for extra balance and support across rocky terrain and the steep descent.

To help you along, we’ve compiled a 3 peaks hiking kit list that includes a checklist of all the bits you need make sure you’re fully prepared to tackle Scafell Pike.

About the Author:

Pete Fletcher - Outdoor Expert

Pete grew up hiking most of the trails in the Lake District before being introduced to skiing. A decade later and you're most likely to find him snowboarding, skateboarding or making a mean coffee.

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