The Lake District is located in Cumbria in the North West of England and is a popular spot for international and British tourists to visit because of its amazing natural beauty. The highest point in England is located here, Scafell Pike, and having hiked up Ben Nevis last year (the highest peak in the UK) I decided to tackle this new challenge along with Fraser. The summit is 978m (3209ft) above sea level, so not that impressive in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the best we have in England.
Unlike Ben Nevis there are a few options when it comes to routes up Scafell Pike. We took the trail from Wasdale which was the closest start point to our B&B. This route is the shortest and is therefore the most popular with people trying to complete the 3 peaks challenge as that saves time. It begins past a lake and up along the side of a river with sheep in the adjacent fields although the weather was not in our favour on the way up so the views were somewhat lacking. The path then starts to climb and the higher you make it the steeper it gets. From the ascent I can’t tell you much about the scenery as we were unable to see very much.
The final push to the summit is all over slippery, uneven rocks which in the high winds was not particularly easy. This is also where the trail itself becomes trickier to follow so in inclement weather it is worth having a map and compass so as to not lose your bearings. Thankfully we had just enough visibility that this wasn’t too much of a problem for us. At the top it was fairly busy, more so than the way up because there are others arriving from 2 or 3 different routes as well. It was blowing a gale and most people were trying to hunker down behind the rocks to have a quick snack and take a picture to prove they had made it before starting the descent.
On the way down there was a slight break in the weather and we were greeted with amazing views. At a Y in the path about half way, which we hadn’t even spotted on the way up, we took a quick detour to the right and I was so glad we did because the vista before us was moody, dramatic and utterly stunning. Looking back I think this may have been an alternative way back down to the car park potentially but as we were not sure we just walked across, got some cool snaps and then made our way back to the main thoroughfare and continued on our way down the mountain.
The path itself has a mixture of level dirt, stone step type things and rocky terrain but none of it, bar the top 50ish metres, is too taxing and it is certainly much nicer to hike on than Ben Nevis. The climb should not be taken lightly, be prepared with proper equipment (especially boots and a map/compass back up for if visibility becomes poor) and you do need a passable level of fitness however I think this is a great option to get yourself into trekking and a realistic achievable peak for most people.
For this choice of route, parking is available in the National Trust car park (free for members with your windscreen sticker) and if you have left it very last minute (guilty) you can buy directions and maps etc. from a small hut run by the trust.
What is the highest peak in your country and have you managed to summit it? Have you done one of the other routes up Scafell Pike and how did you find it?