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Reaching the highest summit in England is on many a tick-list, a challenging walk that is rewarded with exhilarating views and the satisfaction of knowing that you are at the highest spot in the country.

(All photos are from our Skyline 2022 Scafell Pike ascents).

But how hard is the climb? Is it a climb, or just a tough walk? Which is the best route up Scafell Pike?

The answers to these questions are…

It is a tough walking day, best done in good weather as the summit is an exposed place without much shelter from wind and rain. Pick a sunny one if you can! Allow a full day for the return trip – typically 6 to 8 hours for the average walker setting off from one of the popular start points.

The tracks to the summit from Langdale, Borrowdale and Wasdale (the usual start points) are good, and the route is a tough walk rather than a technically tricky one. One exception to this is on the final section up to the summit if approaching from Borrowdale or Langdale. At this last stage the path gets a little steeper and a little more scrambly just for a short section.

Each of these three main ascent routes, though well marked and generally good underfoot, requires care with navigation, especially if the weather is less than perfect. The total return distance, depending on route, is around 10 miles and the amount of ascent and descent is getting on for 3000 ft (the summit is 3210 ft above sea level). Trekking poles are great for this kind of day out, as they give you that extra uphill push and help protect your knees on descent.

The ascent of Scafell Pike is a day to remember for the rest of your life! But plan carefully, take the right clothing for a possible turn in the weather, make sure you can read the map, and don’t be reluctant to turn back if you feel you should do so – you can always come back and do it another time.

In May and September 2023, we will be offering a guided ascent as part of our 5-day Borrowdale & North Lakes walking holiday. What’s more, we will have two MLTE qualified mountain leaders on hand so that you can decide on the day if you’re feeling good and want to push for the summit or if you would prefer a day walking in the Borrowdale Valley below.

We’d be delighted if you can make it! Please see: Borrowdale and North Lakes Walking Holiday with Scafell Pike Option.


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