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All about Scafell Pike!

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England but the smallest of the national 3 peaks. It is located in a commanding position in the Central Lakeland Fells and stands at 978 meters (3209 ft) with superb 360 degree views. Scafell Pike is one huge pile of boulders set amidst the Volcanic belt of the southern Cumbrian Mountains and this surviving reminder of the areas turbulent past provides the roughest walking of the trip. There are plenty of cracks between the stones and care needs to be exercised on this 2nd leg of the challenge to avoid ankle injury. Scafell Pike may surprise walkers with its rocky and rugged paths, becoming very steep and unrelenting towards the top. Lower paths are well defined and gentle, but don't be fooled into relaxing your navigation! The Pike is very often covered by mist and many participants may face at least some part of this mountain in darkness. The rocky plateau around the top can also play a factor and disorientate the weary and tired walker.

Weather:

The central fells have 225 'rain days' on average, totaling around 2500 mm (100 inches) of rainfall per year. Seathwaite holds the distinction of being the wettest inhabited place in England with a mean annual rainfall of over 3 meters (120 inches)!

Route:

The ascent of the Pike is most often attempted from Wasdale Head at the north end of Wastwater to the west of the Pike. On summer weekends, crowds of people can be found attempting this steep but straightforward walk. An alternative ascent from Wasdale approaches up a hanging valley whose head is at Mickledore, which is itself ascended, before following the path from Sca Fell to the Pike.

A more taxing, but scenically far superior, approach begins at Seathwaite Farm at the end of Borrowdale, proceeding via Sty Head Tarn then taking the Corridor Route (formerly known as the Guides Route), a delightful walk along the western flank of the Sca Fell massif with intimate views of the mountain, before joining the route from Wasdale near the summit.

Although our usual ascent route is via Wasdale, the final decision is taken in consultation with individual groups based on the ability of the group and prevailing weather conditions

Topography:

Scafell Pike is one of a horseshoe of high fells, open to the south, which surrounds the head of Eskdale. It stands on the western side of the cirque with Sca Fell to the south and Great End to the north. This ridge forms the watershed between Eskdale and Wasdale, which lies to the west. The narrowest definition of Scafell Pike begins at the ridge of Mickledore in the south, takes in the wide, stony summit area and ends at the next depression, Broad Crag Col, 920 m [3,030 ft]. Broad Crag Col is the source of Little Narrowcove Beck in the east and of Piers Gill in the west. The latter, working its way around Lingmell to Wast Water, flows through a spectacular ravine, one of the most impressive in the District.

Geology:

Scafell Pike consists of igneous rock dating from the Ordovician period, and is geologically part of the Borrowdale volcanics. The summit plateau of Scafell Pike, and the other neighboring peaks, is covered with shattered rock debris which provides the highest altitude example of a summit boulder field in England. The boulder field is thought to have been caused in part by weathering, such as frost action and possibly earth movement caused by earthquakes.

Interesting Fact:

The contraction Scafell Pike originated as an error on an Ordnance Survey map, but is now standard. The land was donated to the National Trust in 1920 by Lord Leconfield in memory of the men of the Lake District "who fell for God and King, for freedom, peace and right in the Great War".

Maps

OS Landranger (1:50,000) no 90 and 89: OS Outdoor Leisure (1:25,000) no 6 and 4: Harvey's Walkers Map (1:40,000) and Superwalker (1:25,000) Lakeland West.

Tourist Information: Windermere, Keswick or Ambleside.