The "Corridor Route" is a section of path usually used on the route to Scafell Pike from Seathwaite in Borrowdale, but it also makes a fantastic and more interesting alternative to the usual routes from Wasdale which go via Hollow Stones. It runs between the Borrowdale and Wasdale crossing point of Sty Head and Lingmell Col below Scafell Pike. It traverses below the dramatic crags of Great End and Broad Crag, across deep gills, and through corries linked by sections of terrace. Much of the path has been stone pitched so is straightforward to follow even in mist. A short rocky down-climb into a ravine below Great End is the last remaining 'difficulty' which may give cause for concern. The other notorious problem was crossing the head of Piers Gill, the eroded path has been repaired and you can now look straight down the dramatic gill from its head without sliding into it. An alternative ending to the route, sometimes used in descent, is to take the turning to Broad Crag Col. This path is steep and of loose scree to the col, you also miss out the dramatic Piers Gill. Hence, we take the traditional route to Lingmell Col though it means breaking the overall circular nature of the route.
The summit of Scafell Pike is a giant boulder field of shattered rock of the Borrowdale Volcanics which vary in size from small stones to large boulders scattered over the top 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 particularly confusing place especially in cloud, darkness, or poor conditions. Which regularly sees Wasdale MRT going off to retrieve lost people.
This area is especially popular with many thousands of visitors. So please keep to the paths, avoid the edges of stone pitching as that damages the foundations, and above all please do not shortcut zigzag paths - they are built to reduce unsightly erosion scars. Going off-path is better done elsewhere.
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, Round How, and Middleboot Knotts; and includes 1 Furth, 1 Wainwright, 1 Birkett, 1 Marilyn, 1 Hewitt, 3 Nuttalls, 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
Starting from the green at Wasdale Head take the lane beside Lingmell House B&B - which is the only building directly on the green, heading north east, passing the tiny church of St Olaf's hiding in the stand of trees. Reaching Burnthwaite Farm at the end of the lane bear left through the farmyard, following the "Path" sign to exit through a gate into a field behind the buildings. Immediately through the gate, turn right.
Follow the rough track through the enclosure, initially ENE, bearing left to a kissing gate alongside a field gate. Continue through the next enclosure to cross Gable Beck by the footbridge.
Sty Head is just over the saddle slightly to the left, approximately ENE, high on the sky line with the path rising across the southern flank of Great Gable. From the footbridge continue on the path for approx 200m (220 yards) to where the path splits - this is not as clear as you might think so watch for it carefully. Take the left fork which rises through the bracken to a gate in the wall coming down the fellside.
Above the gate, go left round the large rock and continue ascending. As it rises the path changes from rocky to loose small stones. Looking to your right the Corridor Route weaves its way amongst the crags and gills on the other side of the valley. Only people give a hint to there being any paths there at all.
A couple of rocky steps provide a little clambering interest from the scree. Continue over the shoulder and bear left to Sty Head where the large rock and MRT stretcher box is a classic landmark.
At Sty Head, turn right to head ESE across the boggy patch by the stepping stones and bear left around or across a very small rocky step. Behind which, only a little more than 200m (220 yards) from the stretcher box, turn right at a cairn to hop over a line of stones and onto the path which heads approximately south.
There is a slight descent to cross Skew Gill, with red stained rock, climb out the other side and bear left onto a short, quite steep, section of stone pitched path. At the top of the pitching the path bears right. This meanders over rocky sometimes broken ground where an occasional cairn confirms the way, otherwise the path is often stone pitched. Rounding a corner between Stand Crag below and Great End above, the rocky step needs to be down climbed.
The step is perhaps best tackled by keeping left, and then presented with a tongue of rock bearing right follow it down facing inwards - there are plenty of hand and footholds. Nearing the bottom footholds seem few but an extra stretch down leads you to the final easy step. Looking back up it is not nearly so daunting.
Follow the path around the gill to pass below Round How. Crossing more open ground a number of small becks cross the path. A few small tarns will hold water through summer.
Ignore the left turn onto the stone pitched path heading for Broad Crag Col, instead continue around to the right. Following another corner the head of Piers Gill comes into view. Previously a tricky bit the path now easily rounds the head of the gill from where there are excellent views into the top section.
Continue on the path, across rough ground, another much wider and easier rocky step, and keep slightly left to climb up to Lingmell Col.
Reaching the rocky saddle of Lingmell Col, turn left and join the wide and increasingly loose stony path coming up from Wasdale just above the col. Now heading SSE climb steeply, frequent cairns mark the course of the path.
In under 200m (220 yards) the path turns right and ascends along the bottom of sloping slabs. It isn't long before the path turns left again to meander amongst the rocks roughly south-east climbing towards the summit.
Bear slightly right to the summit trig point and stepped cairn.
To return to Wasdale from the summit of the Pike, return back to Lingmell Col. In mist, from the summit cairn you need to head NNW for no more than 100m (110 yards) to pick up the line of cairns over the summit plateau and on to the large cairn at the edge overlooking Mosedale across Lingmell and the valley. Then bear slightly left, north west, to descend the loose stony path, bearing right to the sloping slabs again, and then left to drop to just above the col where the path now swings left again.
Keep following the path and line of cairns across 200m (220 yards) of easy ground to the top of the zigzags. The descent steepens on the zigzags. At the bottom crossing the broken ground of Hollow Stones the path is less clear with only the few cairns marking the way through, keep left and avoid the tempting grass leading to Brown Tongue. Pick up the stone pitched path which descends below Brown Tongue to the crossing of Lingmell Gill.
Cross Lingmell Gill, beware the slippery rocks, and turn left to continue the descent now alongside the gill on a rough path.
Go through the kissing gate and just beyond bear right onto the terraced path crossing the shoulder of Lingmell. Swing round the shoulder and continue descending. In summer black fluffy Galloway cattle inhabit these fields. Pass through the gate in the wall and continue dropping to another gate. Go through the gate and left across the footbridge, cross the field with the line of posts to your immediate left. Cross the stile alongside the gateway to the road, and turn right back to the green.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Great End, Scafell Pike, and Lingmell: a roundabout journey||31m (34 yards) away|
|Kirk Fell and Great Gable||36m (40 yards) away|
|Scafell Pike - The Easy Way||399m (439 yards) away|
|A Mosedale Horseshoe||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Illgill Head and Whin Rigg||1.1km (0.7 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike - Via Mickledore||1.2km (0.7 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike and Scafell via Foxes Tarn||1.2km (0.7 miles) away|
|Yewbarrow||2.6km (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