- County: Cumbria
- Nearest Town(s): Wasdale Head
- National Park: Lake District
- Difficulty: Medium
- Time: 3-5 hours
- Height: 977 m
- Map: OS Explorer OL6 The English Lakes – South Western area (OS Explorer Map)*
The Highest Point in England
Though the Trig Pillar is named for the peak next door (Sca Fell), it is the highest point in England (Scafell Pike), and that has to be worth something, right.
In good weather it is a beautiful if steep walk in. When the weather is bad it shouldn’t be underestimated – the clouds can roll in quickly, so pack layers. There are several routes up Scafell Pike, all of which can be found on the National Trust website. It is also worth getting yourself a copy of the OL6 Explorer OS map.
Where to Park
There is a handy National Trust pay and display car park at grid reference NY 182 074. For those that haven’t already tried it you can now put grid references straight into google maps.
National Trust members park for free, so if you are going to do a few trips or fancy trying some NT properties the membership is well worth the expense.
We took the Hollowstones route from the National Trust car park. The path is well defined in the bottom section, keeping the river to your right. Crossing the river at Lingmell Gill can be an event, particularly after heavy rain. Word of advice, don’t try and throw the map to your partner to “save it from the river”. No matter how good you think your eBay special waterproof map case may be, don’t try. Waterproof map cases, even leaky ones, tend to float. This will lead to a frenzied scramble to save the map, a pair of damp socks and some grizzling until they all dry out.
Once you are through the river keep heading in an upwards direction. The path is still pretty obvious for the time, and eventually there is a split in the path. We headed left and through the Hollowstones area. By this point we had climbed into the clouds and definitely appreciated the extra layers and waterproofs. Bar one fleeting photo when the clouds blew away from the top, taking photos was a lost cause, as seeing more than a few metres was challenging. Luckily my other half had packed what appeared to be a soviet era cold war compass, built with all the beauty and finesse of a T-34 tank.
Locating the path again the other side was definitely due to her map work and expertise, and not my internal navigation system, which seemed to have conveniently taken the day off. At Lingmell Col the path splits again, the path to the summit is fairly obvious on the right.
At this point we found it best to just ignore the line of people telling you that it is only five minutes to the top. It was only five minutes to the top when the last group passed fifteen minutes ago!
Keep following the path over the now rocky ground. If you can’t follow the people and haven’t got a map and compass then there are small cairns that mark the way. Some folk seem to have added their own, so bringing a map may make life easier.
Once you do reach the top you will find a stone built pillar rather than a white concrete affair and a large cairn dedicated to the fallen of WWI.
The View from the Pillar
I am reliably informed that the view from the pillar is fantastic on a clear day. On the day we visited seeing more than two metres was a challenge. Given the number of beautiful photos available online, in the right weather I am sure it is breathtaking.
Overall a great walk, and for the two quick occasions when the clouds did clear the views were fantastic. A good challenging walk which could be taken as a nice stroll for over a day or a two hour route march to bag the summit. I certainly feel for those on the Three Peaks challenge who won’t get to enjoy Scafell Pike in all its glory.
For those that like a pub at the end of the walk you could try starting and finishing at the Wasdale Head car park (there is a car park there- please don’t abandon your car in the pub car park). This route is only slightly longer than from the National Trust car park. The food is good, the beer excellent and the pub has a very welcoming atmosphere.
*We are Amazon associates. This means that we earn money when you click on qualifying links on this page and go on to make a purchase. This helps us to pay for the running costs associated with our website.