Langdale to Scafell Pike and back
(England’s highest mountain)

START: Public car-park adjacent to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel

LENGTH: 14 miles / 22.5 km


START: Grid reference NY286060

MAPS: We always recommended you take a map and compass with you when following a walk route. Available maps are:

BMC – LD 1:40000 XT40 Covers the central lake district.
OS Explorer – 1:25,000 – Sheet OL6
OS Landranger – 1:50,000 – Sheet 90

Maps can be purchased at the ODG if required.

This excellent route takes in Scafell Pike the highest mountain in England. It’s appeal lies in the elusiveness of the Pike as it is screened by other fells during most of the route and remains concealed until the final stages. Several other summits are passed on the route.

From the ODG head up Mickledon. This provides an easy level warm up before the delights of Rosset Gill! See Pike O Stickle high on the right and Bowfell Crags to the left at the head of the valley. Before the Mickledon sheepfold see the glacial moraines on the left.

Beyond the sheepfold see the right turn up towards Stake Pass and Borrowdale. Do not take this path but carry on heading towards Rossett Gill – this is where the exercise starts! The path climbs gradually at first becoming steep and very stony especially through the steep chasm of Rossett Pass. See Rossett Pike to the right.

When through the pass, and perhaps a well earned rest, walk over a grassy shelf and then with some surprise and concern start to lose altitude by descending down towards Angle Tarn. Approximately half a mile beyond the tarn see the turn right leading down to Langstrath and Borrowdale. To your left, see Esk Pike, with Great End ahead and Allen Crags to the right.

Continue to wind your way up to Esk Hause. This is a notorious crossing point where people often get lost in bad weather. Here the paths of Eskdale, Borrowdale, and Langdale meet and especially with poor visibility a map and compass are essential.

The walk to the summit of Scafell consists of easy gradients but becoming rough in places. From Esk Hause take the path to the left with Great End visible to the right. Subject to time and energy levels, it is well worth a brief detour up to Great End to take in the views down to the Borrowdale Valley and Sprinkling Tarn. From here, retrace your steps down to the main path and carry on passing Broad Crag, right and Ill Crag, left. From Ill Crag, the summit now comes into view.

Here the feeling of accomplishment builds with a further half mile only to the summit. This is premature with two considerable descents (Ill Crag Col and Broad Crag Col). A huge boulder field is crossed before the final steep climb to the summit of England’s highest mountain is reached. From here there are superb views of the peaks and valleys all round with the Isle of Man and the Scottish Hills visible on a clear day.

Return via the same route to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and toast your success at completing this Classic Lakeland walk to the top of England’s highest mountain.