Scafell & Scafell Pike from Wast Water
Scafell  Scafell Pike


Estimated net time 4-6 hours
Difficulty No technical difficulties, but one needs to be aware of loose rocks when climbing the gully into Lord's Rake from the main path towards Scafell. There is a danger of falling rock from the mountain, and there is a danger of stones being set in motion by climbers above you.
The rest of the route is climbed on something varying from easy path to fine scree/boulder.
Drinking water Several sources of running water throughout the route.
GSM coverage Coverage at the summits, else patchy (October 2010).
Parking Room for many cars at the car park by trail head. There is a "pay-and-display" machine, with a cost of something like 4.50 for 4 hours (per 2010). Only coins accepted (per 2010).
Start height 67 metres
Vertical metres 1200 metres for the roundtrip.
Trip distance 10.0 km
GPS-file X


Route photo

  Scafell Pike trail head by Wast Water
  Turn left after bridge above Scafell Pike trail head.
  Turn right through gate at Lingmell base.
  Lower section of route to Scafell Pike.
  Below Mickledore turn right for Scafell.
  Overview of Lord's Rake route to Scafell.
  From below Mickledore up to Lord's Rake.
  Last part of Lord's Rake route towards Scafell.


Assuming you drive road M6 north from Manchester. Exit at junction 35 and drive road A601 and then road A6 towards Kendal. Approximately 16 km from junction 35, a little before Kendal, turn left (west) onto road A590. Drive approximately 25 km along A590 and turn right onto road A5092. Stay on A5092 approximately 10 km, and turn right onto road A595. Drive A595 to Gosforth, a little less then 50 km, and turn right towards Wasdale, and continue east towards the lake Wast Water. Drive along the west side of Wast Water, and turn right onto the car park at the north end of the lake.

From the car park walk east towards Scafell Pike, and turn left after you have crossed the wooden bridge 150 metres above trail head. Follow the path on the right hand side of the river, and cross the river on a small bridge 350 metres after the first bridge. Turn right once you have crossed the bridge, making sure you have the river on your right hand side. You will soon get to a wooden gate, which you walk though and immediately turn right, following the path close to the river. Stay close to the river, and cross the river again 950 metres after the last bridge. This river crossing is not supported by a bridge.

When you get up to 530 metres, a little before the terrain gets flatter, make sure you fork right. In the flatter section continue directly east, towards the distinct basin below the ridge between Scafell and Scafell Pike. The normal route to Scafell Pike climbs onto the ridge from this basin, up Mickledore. After the flat section there is another climb up to the basin, and after this climb you should turn right onto a vague path leading towards the gully Lord's Rake. When you get up into Lord's Rake it is best to ascent on the right side of the gully. Wherever you climb the gully be very careful not to set stones in motion, and also be careful if you have climbers above you.

At the top of the gully proceed down a little and then climb up to the edge above you by following the path to the left of the gravel section straight ahead. Once up on the edge turn left and walk east across scree, up to a small saddle north of Scafell. From this saddle turn right (south) and head across to the summit of Scafell, approximately 200 metres from the saddle.

From Scafell head back down to the small saddle and turn right, following the path down towards south-east. Note that there is a much shorter route to Scafell Pike by continuing straight ahead (north) when you get back down to the small saddle, down Broad Stand, but this route most likely requires a short rope or some slings. Assuming you follow the path south-west from the mentioned saddle, turn left down at 820 metres, and head north-east down to the path coming up from south. This path will bring you back up to the top of Mickledore, on the ridge between Scafell and Scafell Pike. From here follow the path up to Scafell Pike summit.

From Scafell Pike walk north-west, following the path that runs on the north side of Scafell Pike's steep west wall. This path will take you back down to the path fork at 530 metres, from where you follow your ascent route back down to the car park.



09. October 2010

On top of the list for our Lake District week-end was obviously Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. And to make the most of it we decided to include also Scafell, the slightly lower neighbour. Since it was going to be a long day, with a longish drive and a several hours hike, we did all the preparations before breakfast, including buying rolls for lunch, and then were on the road straight after breakfast.

We decided to drive the shortest route, via the steep and narrow roads in Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass, which was a scenic route, but very slow, and not at all suitable if wintery conditions. After messing around a little in terms of navigation around Santon and Wasdale, we arrived the car park at the north end of lake Wast Water a little before 10:00. Here we were faced with a broken pay-and-display machine for the parking, and after some discussions with other hikers we all agreed that there was nothing we could do except put a note in the car that the machine was broken.

Finding the route up to Mickledore was straight forward, and we enjoyed easy hiking on a nice and sunny morning. But we couldn't help commenting on the pace and apparent condition of some of the hikers we passed, and wondering if they would at all be able to make it to the summit.

Below Mickledore we were not sure what route to follow up towards Scafell, but after a short chat with another couple, and the fact that we saw some other hikers on their way up towards Lord's Rake, we concluded that the hikers above us were on the right track. We therefore headed up the path towards Lord's Rake, and soon found the path to be well defined, which usually is the confirmation needed if you're wondering about the correct route. At the bottom of Lord's Rake I immediately got some concerns since there was a hiker above us, and there was a lot of loose stones in the steep gully. But it turned out this hiker was easy to overtake, so we just had to focus on ourselves not setting stones in motion. This issue sorted itself out a little into the gully since there was a path without loose stones on the right hand side of the gully. At the top of the gully we had some more navigation issues, but after having descended a little we noticed a path running up to the edge above us. This path was easy to follow, and soon we were up in the final scree section towards Scafell.

After a short summit stop at Scafell we started our hike across to Scafell Pike, and we decided to try to find a route down Broad Stand. This turned out to be a time consuming exercise, and didn't even produce a result. In total we tried five different routes, and on several occasions we were sure we had cracked it, but had to concede. A short rope or a couple of slings would have done the trick, but I hadn't brought any climbing gear. We also had a near-accident, when Elisabeth lost the hand-hold on one occasion. I was above her, and all I saw was that she was on her way to climb up onto a shelf, and then loosing the grip and disappearing below the shelf. Luckily she had managed to get her hand into a crack and hold on. After this I decided to play safe and stop any further searches for a route down Broad Stand, and instead head down the longer route around the steep section between the two mountains. We therefore went back up towards Scafell and found the path leading down into the valley east of Scafell. From here it was easy walking up to Scafell Pike.

Scafell Pike was a busy place this fine Saturday, but because of a strong wind we didn't stay very long, and instead decided to start our descent. After an uneventful descent we were back at the car, happy to notice there was no parking ticket, and happy to change into clean clothes.

For the drive back to Ambleside we decided to follow the main road, along the coast, which was definitely quicker than our direct route in the morning. It would also allow us to find a petrol station or a shop, where we could get some refreshments. Then a slightly boring drive back to Ambleside.

Photos 09.10.2010