This is the shortest and easiest way to Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Consequently it is very popular with charity events like the Three Peaks Challenge. If you are not on an event you might want to choose another route. Even small variations like going via Mickledore from Brackenclose makes quite a difference to the 'feel' of the walk.
We should perhaps make it clear that when we use the word "easy" we mean easy relative to other routes. You do need to bear in mind that this is the highest summit in England and it's a unrelenting climb to the top with little respite. The other thing to be aware of is that the crossing of Lingmell Gill is rough and you are unlikely to make it to the other side with dry feet. Additionally it can be dangerous when in spate after rain.
Scafell Pike cannot be seen from Wasdale Head village green, it is hidden behind Lingmell. Only once rounding the shoulder of Lingmell's south west ridge can it be seen at all and then only really Pikes Crag is in view.
The summit of the Pike is a giant boulder field, shattered rock of the Borrowdale Volcanics varying in size from small stones to large boulders is scattered over the top of the mountain and down around the sides. Cairns mark meandering paths searching for the easiest way through the agglomeration and go off in all directions making it a confusing place especially in poor conditions. Witness the call outs of the Wasdale MRT to those who are 'lost', and fall victim to 'navigation errors' ending up in the wrong valley. Yet towering crags create a backdrop to rough winding paths, a rugged beauty, so breathtaking in scale and grandeur. Luring walkers and climbers who seek ... well all manner of things, for numerous reasons. Or just because it's there. Why or whatever you are there for treat the mountain well, it was there long before you were, and will out last you many times over.
The walk starts from the Wasdale Head village green where there is currently free parking.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Scafell Pike; and includes 1 Furth, 1 Wainwright, 1 Birkett, 1 Marilyn, 1 Hewitt, 1 Nuttall, 1 HuMP, 1 County Top - Administrative, 1 County Top - Historic, and 1 County Top - Current County and Unitary Authority.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the parking area on the village green, walk along back along the road towards Wast Water. Beyond the public conveniences, in a approximately 100m (110 yards), go through the gate with a big sign saying "Scafell".
Follow the path across the field marked by fence posts. There are odd sections of track but it is mainly grass. Cross Lingmell Beck by the footbridge and bear right on a rough path rising across the face of the fellside. There are usually black fluffy Galloway cattle here. Go through the gate in the wall, and continue across the fellside to cross the shoulder of Lingmell's south west ridge. Bear left on a terraced path to join the path on the right coming up from Brackenclose.
Go through the kissing gate just above where the two paths join, continuing on the path beyond. In 200m (220 yards) at the confluence of two tributaries turn right to cross the beck and continue on the stone pitched path along the side of Brown Tongue - the old path climbed the tongue but caused erosion problems, use the easy new path.
Nearing the end of the tongue at the cairn marking the 'Y' junction bear left to continue on the main path.
Continue off the end of the stone pitching over rough broken ground, and on to easier zigzags ahead. Above the zigzags the path deteriorates again becoming rough underfoot with cairns marking the well worn path.
As you approach but never quite reach Lingmell col (Lingmell is on your left and Pikes Crag is on your right) bear right. The path keeps swinging right and soon climbs more much steeply on loose stone. Cairns mark the way but can be tricky to spot more than the next one or two amongst the backdrop of the boulder field. A short section of sloping flat rock is the only respite.
Taking quite a definitive left turn there is a little more climbing before the gradient eases and the summit 'platform' of Scafell Pike appears. The Ordnance Survey trig point looks a little lost compared to this grandeur.
Returning from the summit - your walk is not complete until you are safely down - drop down to the comparatively long ridge heading north west. This is roughly in line with the valley of Mosedale, across Wasdale Head. If desperate in poor weather note that the steps onto the summit platform face west, so come down the steps and turn right. Make sure you pick up the cairned path quickly.
On the right of the ridge stands a large cairn seemingly atop of a precipice. Approaching it, instead of a precipice the path continues easily downwards. The short section of sloping slab just below a clear right turn not long after leaving the summit area is a positive indicator of the correct path.
Above Lingmell coll the path swings left and continues descending more gently. The worst of the loose stone is over. Follow the cairned path back to the top of the zigzags and drop down easily to the stone pitched path. Be aware that sometimes these otherwise well made paths can become slippery when wet making them more treacherous than otherwise expected particularly in descent. Treat with a little caution.
Keep right at the 'Y' junction to continue dropping down.
Cross Lingmell Gill and bear left to continue on the path. Go through the top kissing gate, with the NT direction board, and very shortly afterwards bear right on a terraced path for Wasdale Head. The path now drops steadily across the face of Lingmell through the enclosure, back through the gate, to cross the footbridge at the edge of the fields. Cross the field following the line of fence posts back to the road and turn right to the village green.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route from Wasdale||399m (439 yards) away|
|Kirk Fell and Great Gable||400m (440 yards) away|
|Great End, Scafell Pike, and Lingmell: a roundabout journey||420m (462 yards) away|
|Illgill Head and Whin Rigg||1.0km (0.6 miles) away|
|A Mosedale Horseshoe||1.0km (0.6 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike and Scafell via Foxes Tarn||1.0km (0.6 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike - Via Mickledore||1.0km (0.6 miles) away|
|Yewbarrow||2.5km (1.6 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011