Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, stretching some 978 metres above the great Lake District.
Part of the Southern Fells in Cumbria, Scafell Pike is often overlooked when it comes to mountains in the UK, overshadowed by Ben Nevis in Scotland and Mount Snowden in Wales in terms of height and notoriety. But with its stunning views from the fell top and numerous picturesque and challenging walks to the summit, Scafell Pike alone is a worthy reason to visit the Lakelands.
Scafell Pike forms one of a horseshoe of fells near Eskdale and Wasdale, and the summit itself was donated to the National Trust who care for the region by Lord Leconfield in 1919 to commemorate those who died in the First World War.
Hiking Scafell Pike
Probably the biggest attraction of and draw to Scafell Pike is with hikers who ascend the summit. The fell forms part of the National Three Peaks Challenge alongside Ben Nevis and Snowdon. The challenge is a gruelling combined 9,800 metre ascent to the peaks of all three, totalling around 27 miles of walking in total that are completed in just 24 hours.
The most popular routes to the summit are from Wasdale, Borrowdale, Eskdale and Langdale. Setting off from Wasdale Head is the shortest route but is quite steep, compared to the more gentle summit approach starting at Borrowdale and taking the Corridor Route.
More seasoned hikers and ramblers can test themselves with the lengthy Eskdale and Langdale routes which can take anything from two to four hours.
Whichever route you take, please remember that you are climbing a proper mountain and you should proceed with caution and with the correct equipment (do not attempt this climb in flip flops, even if the sun is shining!)
Check the weather forecast and don’t set off too late. This rocky climb is littered with boulders and will be difficult to navigate when the sun starts to set.
A bad reputation?
In 2012, a Facebook comment by the Wasdale Mountain Rescue team hit the news as they declared the summit of Scafell Pike as ‘shocking’ due to the amount of litter and other deposits at the peak (there are no bins OR toilets at the top of this two hours hike… use your imagination as to what was found).
However, since then the National Trust have been working to resolve the problem with ranger teams and volunteers going on cleaning hikes up the mountain as part of the Fix The Fells program.
Local attractions around Scafell Pike
Of course Scafell Pike isn’t just popular because of the numerous walks to the summit and the great views to be pictured at the top.
The mountain forms a stunning backdrop for the surrounding area, and there are many attractions within short walking distance of Scafell.
These include a number of parks for picnics and play areas for children, but also a Treetop challenge for those with a good head for heights.
There are also a range of water-based activities within close proximity to Scafell Pike, such as canoeing and motor boats at the nearby Coniston Boating Centre, as well as the Ullswater Steamers that take revellers out of Coniston.
Scafell Pike: A romantic mountain
Despite the claims by the Wasdale Mountain Rescue, Scafell Pike is a truly romantic mountain. With amazing panoramic views around the surrounding Lakelands as far as the eyes can see, the summit is a fantastic place to get back in touch with nature and enjoy a picnic with a loved one.
Just maybe be careful where you put the picnic blanket before sitting down!