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A guide to Scafell Pike

Published on 6 min read

A range of mountains over the lake

This guest blog comes from Doug Belchamber at scafellpike.org.uk – the website that provides a complete guide to England’s highest peak.

Push yourself to your limit by conquering one of the greatest challenges in England – Scafell Pike! As England’s highest mountain – standing at 978 metres, this is a brilliant way of challenging yourself to beat your personal best. Located in the stunning Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike is steeped in beauty and history, and offers a fantastic experience for climbers of all ages.

Thousands of people make their way up the steep paths of Scafell Pike each year – following in the footsteps of some of the country’s most celebrated climbers, writers, and artists. From the poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge – who was the first recorded climber to reach the summit, to the celebrated fellwalker Alfred Wainwright, and many any writers – the mountain has been a source of inspiration and wonder for people from all backgrounds, and features as the backdrop to some of the nation’s most beloved books and poems.

Some surprising facts about Scafell Pike

  1. It’s England’s highest mountain, at 3208 ft, or 978m
  2. It’s believed that Scafell Pike was formed over 450 million years ago.
  3. The original name for the mountain was ‘The Pikes of Sca Fell’, changed in error by an Ordnance Survey map. The error wasn’t reversed so the name stuck!
  4. In good weather you can see the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales from the summit

The Three Peaks Challenge

As well as the incredible views from its summit, beautiful, natural surroundings and wonderful open air, Scafell Pike is the perfect base for an invigorating activity break, for everyone from experienced hikers, couples looking for a romantic getaway, and families after a fun, exciting activity to enjoy together. Each year hundreds of people come to Scafell Pike to climb it as part of the Three Peaks Challenge. No small feat, the Challenge involves climbing three of the tallest mountains across the UK – all within 24 hours! After walkers attempt to summit Ben Nevis in Scotland – at a whopping 4408 feet – Scafell Pike features as the mid leg of the challenge, at a respectable 3208 feet, followed by Snowdon in Wales at 3558 feet.

The Three Peaks Challenge is not one for the faint hearted, but definitely a rewarding experience if you succeed! It takes months of serious preparation, but seeing the incredible views from the peaks of three of the UK’s greatest mountains is indescribable. As more and more people take on the Challenge each year, you’ll be in good company if you decide to have a go too.

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Britain’s Favourite View

With truly breathtaking views across the valleys, lakes and ravines across the Lake District, The summit of Scafell Pike offers a spellbinding sight that will stay with you forever. Towards Wasdale, you can see the deep blue waters of Wastwater, reflecting the surrounding peaks and clouds in the tranquil lake. As the deepest lake in England, at 258 feet, Wastwater provides a dramatic contrast to the rugged mountain terrain, and looks stunningly picturesque in all seasons. It’s not surprising that this view was voted as Britain’s Favourite View in 2007! With no buildings obscuring the view from the summit, you can enjoy a magnificently serene and peaceful experience – surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the Lake District.

Towards the north of the Pike, you can see Borrowdale Valley, leading on from the bustling little town of Keswick and following along Derwentwater, towards Seathwaite, a small farming area. Beautiful wooded landscapes and softly undulating valleys epitomise the best of England’s natural landscape. And of course, walkers might also want to visit Kendal to get a taste of the famous Kendal mint cake, popular with climbers and walkers all over the country as a sweet energy boost.

Practical pointers

As Scafell Pike is so popular with walkers and climbers, the surrounding region is well equipped with everything you will need along the way. From finding spare equipment at local outdoor shops, to meeting fellow ramblers and trading stories in a local country pub, you’ll always be made to feel welcome wherever you go.

You can choose one of several different routes to reach the summit of Scafell Pike, either unaccompanied, or with the aid of a local guide. However be aware that many of the routes cross over and intersect with each other, so it’s helpful to have a map and even a GPS to ensure you stay on the right path.

However you make your way up Scafell Pike, having the right equipment is an absolute must. The lofty heights mean that you will often be subject to more extreme weather conditions, so you should plan ahead before you set out. Expect a moderate degree of difficulty – while you won’t need a pack of huskies and miles of rope, some decent hiking boots and poles, as well as suitable clothing to deal with sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions will certainly help improve your experience!

Getting to Scafell Pike

There are a lots of ways to getting to Scafell Pike from all over the UK and the world – you can fly in to Newcastle or Manchester, which are only 118 miles of 136 miles away respectively. Alternatively, if you are travelling from London, it’s easy to reach a connection by train.

From nearby train stations, you can then use local public transport or hire a car to get across to your accommodation. From London Euston to Penrith the journey time is approximately 3 hours, followed by a short bus hop to Keswick or Kendal.

For more information, and to plan your future visit – check out the complete guide to England’s highest mountain.

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