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Scafell Pike from Seathwaite

September 20, 2019

The climb of Scafell Pike from Seathwaite via the Corridor Route is the best way to arrive at the highest place in England. In addition the circuit passes two of the best tarns, Styhead and Sprinkling.

The Walk

The highest point in England is Scafell Pike (3,210 feet/978 ms) which is most often reached via the Corridor Route from Styhead Tarn and Seathwaite. The usual alternative from Wasdale Head is a strenuous pull and although popular on the National 3 Peaks the fact it is done then in darkness rather sums it up.

The Corridor Route winds its way through the most rugged yet spectacular rock scenery in England and is correctly deemed a classic; the deep gash of Piers Gill and the views of rarely seen Wasdale adding to the rock panorama. The problem is that the underfoot terrain demands a lot of attention so stopping is more frequent in order to appreciate the ever changing views. The summit plateau is an uninspiring boulder field. The highest point not a good viewing spot. There is some interest for geologists (the boulders on the summit being literally blown out of the ground in a volcanic eruption) but just relief for the majority who have finally cracked it. The return via Great End and Sprinkling Tarn s initially hard work but improves as beautiful Borrowdale opens up before you.

Recommend

Take in Lingmell, the extra footage is worth it for the wonderful views back down Borrowdale and even more so west to Wasdale and down to the sea.

Navigation Tips on Scafell Pike

This is a walk that is definitely a challenge and requires good compass work in cloudy conditions. The summit area and return via Broad Crag is full of rock and boulders with no definable path. There are plenty of cairns which help but most important is to take and follow the correct bearing.

4 Comments
  • jason b says:

    hello
    me and my wife are attempting scafell pike at the end of july 2016.
    i am fit and a runner ,my wife has not very good bones and her condition gives her pain in her joints. worse when stepping down from rocks.
    we have both done snowden and she managed half way up ben nevis, she got guts and doesnt give in. i usually pack everything including a life raft (he he). i was wondering which would be the better route to scafell, i thought of wasdale head, because the shortest. my wife might struggle if the route to long, but if wasdale to steep she might struggle also. we are staying at eskdale , but can travel.
    any help will be greatly appreciated.
    jason b.

    • Jonathan says:

      The summit of Scafell Pike is very bouldery and has the potential (more than the classic routes up the Ben and Snowden) for a slip. Wasdale is shortest and steepest, albeit on a good path. The route from Seathwaite described here is longer and has some steep sections (it is also a long way from Eskdale to its start.). There is a route from Eskdale via Foxes Tarn but again there is a lot of steep sections and it is longer from the road. I would give the Wasdale Head route a go, partricularly as it is nearby. She seems game so take your time, plenty of stops and much sustenance! Good Luck

  • Chris James says:

    I haven’t done Scafell Pike previously and I am a novice really, but I did do the Coast to Coast in 12 days 2 years ago and really enjoyed it. I am now to tackle Scafell Pike and after reading your notes I was wondering what you might think about travelling up via the Corridor Route from Seathwaite and down via Scafell to Eskdale. We would be staying at Eskdale and get a lift to the start point at Seathwaite.

    In your notes you indicate that there is a route between Scafell and Scafell Pike but I don’t see it in any detail.

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Chris, theres are 3 options to cross from Scafell Pike to Scafell but be aware the ground is rough and featureless and in bad weather/cloud you need t o be able to navigate well and have experience of high, rough terrain.
      The 3 Options:
      1. Broad Stand. The direct route is really a rock climb, more than a scramble
      2. Lords Rake. To the west from the col is a ‘rake’ of loose stone and an unstable clock stone. I would not recommend it unless you are familiar with the area
      3. Foxes Tarn. Nearly 1,000 foot down on the south east is the best and safest way to fulfil the crossing. However you still need to be able to navigate well in bad conditions.

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