Scafell Pike Walk From Borrowdale
Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England at 3,209 ft (978 metres) and is located within the Southern Fells of The Lake District National Park, Cumbria.
There are many possible variations of route for the ascent of Scafell Pike, all a challenging proposition and a good days walking, though you would expect nothing less of England’s highest mountain, right? Personally, if at all possible, save this great walk for a clear dry day, for to go to all that effort to see only cloud or rain, I ask is it worth it? And most definitely give Scafell Pike a miss in bad weather.
The above said one of my favourite Scafell Pike routes is from Seatoller in the beautiful Lakeland valley of Borrowdale. With the ascent of Scafell Pike from Borrowdale the walk presents no particular problems, although the route can be long for some walkers, who may therefore wish to start from Seathwaite instead of Seatoller, which will reduce the total distance to walk. Seathwaite is a popular starting point for those attempting the 3 Peaks Challenge and Scafell Pike.
Scafell Pike From Seathwaite
My preferred choice of ascent of Scafell Pike is to start at Seathwaite where there is currently ample free road side parking available. Once parked the grandeur and formidable size of the mountains impacts you and the knowledge of approximately 3,000 feet of ascent.
Setting forth upon the tarmac road head towards the farm at the end of the lane, which even since the days of Alfred Wainright and his ascent of Scafell Pike has not changed much and is still one of the friendliest farms you will find with friendly dogs and farm animals that are more used to visitors than most.
Once through the farm, for me, the real Scafell Pike walk begins. Keeping the river Derwent upon your right, ascend up the valley track whilst aiming for Stockley Bridge, which is a classic packhorse bridge, crossing over the waters of Grains Gill. Crossing the bridge, it is our aim to skirt to the right of Seathwaite Fell, following Styhead Gill with a good quality path to be found here, heading towards the tarn.
As you hike along the valley, cut by the gill. It is possible to cross the gill at numerous points, depending on the water volume and recent rainfall. The foundations of an earlier bridge can still be seen with good quality new footbridge just as you approach Styhead Tarn.
Having passed the tarn, now on your left, you will reach a main crossing of paths, which would and could lead you on to such fells as Great Gable and Wasdale Head. Here, a short stop is strongly recommended, as you take in the views and stunning magnificence of the fell., The tranquillity and peace is undeniable. At this point in my walk, I met up with a great group of Liverpool taxi drivers, who were out for the day walking to the top of Scafell Pike via a different route, and with the inevitable chat about football (Liverpool, Manchester United and my Manchester City). A good marker point for this junction of paths on the ascent of Scafell Pike is the Stretcher box.
Here we also went our separate ways to ascend Scafell Pike with the Liverpool lads taking the route past Sprinkling Tarn and us taking the Corridor route to the summit. There are 2 Corridor routes and confusion comes quickly here with the lower path being the one to avoid and keep to the higher ground where the path slants upwards and across. My particular advise here is simply a personal preference that I would rather be looking downwards for a path I have lost, with some form of aerial height advantage in this than trying to look upwards for a path I cannot find.
Thus following the high level corridor path which once you have found is relatively straightforward to follow being the only easy route possible, and it’s onwards and upwards towards Scafell Pike. The Corridor route follows the path along the western slopes of Great End, Round How and lastly Broad Crag upon your left.
As you approach the foot of Broad Crag, it is possible to ascend or descend Scarfell Pike via Broad Crag Col, which in my opinion is well worth trying, whilst covered in boulders, stones and loose scree, awkward under foot in the best of conditions and tricky to navigate over in bad visibility with crags or steep rough ground on all sides. My tip here would be to keep to the right whilst ascending as the large rocks invariably collect here and there is less chance of slipping on the loose scree.
This was our choice on the day, Broad Crag Col for our ascent to Scarfell Pike as it is these factors that lend a degree of seriousness to the ascent, making it so much more satisfying a mountain day to remember. This for me is rugged mountain country at its best. In snow and ice this ascent can be hazardous and ice axe and crampons are advisable.
When you reach the top of Broad Crag Col, the reward is a view of your final destination and the summit of Scafell Pike, and with one last push it is up the rock and pathway to the top. With a clear day the views are stunning, whilst even on a good, day cloud can come rolling in and therefore it’s best to be prepared.
Following our lunch at the summit we continued to return back to Seathwaite in an anticlockwise direction around Broad Crag and Great End. The path down from Great End is good and clearly marked with views towards Derwent Water and beyond. As you approach Esk Hause you take the left hand path towards Allen Crags and on a good day you will see the path before you. Take the next turn to the left, heading back in the direction of Sprinkling Tarn.
As the Tarn comes into view, you will also be looking for a footpath on your right which is very well maintained. Follow Grains Gill as it cuts an impressive route through the rock, making its way down towards the River Derwent. As you progress downwards with a quick reduction in altitude, following a great day out, simply make your way back to Stockly Bridge. Thus completes this near circular walk, and with a final few steps towards Seathwaite, your well-deserved transportation home.
Scafell Pike is a great days walk and I hope you enjoy your walk as much as I did my walk.