Where is this walk?

Discover the Upper Esk

October 26, 2019

On leaving the road in Eskdale as it heads towards Hard Knott you enter a new world and discover the Upper Esk. The tumbling river, steep mountains and lack of people make this an extremely enjoyable area to walk in.

The Walk

A day walking in the Upper Esk left me feeling somewhat smug. The weather was hot and sunny and I could imagine the 100’s of walkers sweating their way across the rough summits of the Scafells, Bowfell and the Crinkles. Meanwhile I was strolling around at the foot of this giant amphitheatre of mountains refreshing myself periodically in the ice cold waters of the Esk.

This really is the heart of the Lake District and the scenery is superb. The River Esk at this point is a powerful mountain stream which cascades over the rock before opening out on to the giant arena of the Great Moss. Here the mountains tower above you. A place of romance and tranquility, a place I clearly enjoy being in! It is so tempting to head for the fells whilst staying in Eskdale but I would urge anyone to leave a day for a stroll up the Esk.

Recently I took a party up Scafell from the Great Moss, not via Foxes Tarn but by a marked and extremely steep path that hits the ridge between Scafell and Slight Side. Worth considering or those after a different approach to Scafell. I would not descend that way.


If anyone is keen on wild camping this is the place to do it.

Discover the Upper Esk is one of my 25 favourite walks in the Lake District.

Navigation Tips in the Upper Esk

The path is not obvious on the west side of the River Esk, outbound route. It is joined further north by a path from higher ground. However keep the river nearby and it is difficult to go far wrong. In bad weather it can be difficult to work out how far up the river you are. A good tip is to take bearing of the river itself.

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