scafell pike summit in view

Located in the stunning Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike stands proudly as the highest peak in England. Hiking to its summit is an exhilarating adventure that offers both breathtaking beauty and a sense of accomplishment.

This is a route I have done over and over again over a 100 times and I never get tired of it. You may have seen me in the feature of it on ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100.

Beginning your journey from the charming farm of Seathwaite in Borrowdale, you embark on a trail that has gained immense popularity and holds historical significance. This is one of the most popular Social Walks that I run too. I love helping people accomplish something like this where they feel they may not, climbing England’s highest peak.

paul steele on scafell pike

BaldHiker Retreats

Overview of Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England, located in the Lake District National Park. It stands at an elevation of 978 meters (3,209 feet) above sea level. Scafell Pike therefore holds great importance for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers, attracting thousands of walkers to its slopes each year.

Geologically, Scafell Pike is composed of volcanic and sedimentary rocks, formed over millions of years. It is part of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group and features rugged and dramatic landscapes, including steep slopes, crags, and deep valleys.

Being the highest mountain in England it is therefore one of the three peaks in the UK that make up the National Three Peaks Challenge, along with Ben Nevis in Scotland and Snowdon in Wales. This challenge involves climbing all three peaks within 24 hours.

Scafell Pike also holds historical and cultural significance. It has connections to the famous English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who explored the Lake District and wrote about its beauty. He was the first to document a climb of it.

Additionally, it is believed that Scafell Pike has been a site of human activity for thousands of years, with evidence of prehistoric settlements and ancient burial cairns found in the surrounding area.

Route Description: Seathwaite to Scafell Pike Summit

The route up the mountain from Seathwaite, Borrowdale is my personal favourite. Of course there are other routes I take for variety like the other popular route from Wasdale. Although the route from Wasdale is a shorter more straight forward route I find it not as fulfilling in views myself plus I find Borrowdale easier to get to for a day hike than going all the way around to Wasdale Head.

Stage 1: Seathwaite to Stockley Bridge

  • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Notable Points of Interest: The start of the walk has you passing through Seathwaite Farm, then out onto an undulating path with very picturesque scenery, and onto Stockley Bridge. a lovely old stone pack horse bridge. Take a moment here to see the absolutely clear water of the river that has run down from way up high.

Stage 2: Stockley Bridge to Sprinkling Tarn

  • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles (upwards)
  • Estimated Time: 1 hour

From crossing Stockley Bridge, go through the gate and turn immediately left for a direct route up Grains Gill. (If you do go straight on here you would end up going another popular route, the corridor route).

Now you are on the upwards path proper, with the river and waterfalls cascading down beside you. All the way up this section it is worth looking back every once in a while to get the amazing views over Borrowdale.

looking back down the valley from scafell pike

The sight of the Great End Crags is up ahead where Sprinkling and Styhead Tarns sit in front of it. The Gill gets narrower as you reach the top of this section and some striding steps needed.

Sprinkling Tarn on scafell pike, cumbria

As it levels out after the gill you can take a small detour to your right to explore the beauty of Sprinkling Tarn. A beautiful and peaceful spot that is off track. But to carry on to the summit you will need to turn left.

Stage 3: Sprinkling Tarn to Esk Hause

  • Distance: Approximately 0.5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 30 mins

From the top of the Gill you have come turn left. After a hundred metres or so you will have a fork in the path, take the right and the path leads uphill towards Esk Hause. On a busy day you could well see people coming from other routes to here. A junction of paths.

Stage 4: Esk Hause to Scafell Pike Summit

  • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles
  • Estimated Time: 1.5 hours

From Esk Hause, follow the path upwards as it ascends steeper towards Scafell Pike. From here on in the terrain gets varied too. It starts off as an open uphill path then with a short but steep set of steps I am sure all appreciate. All with wonderful views of Eskdale to your left.

The path ahead then needs care as you will be crossing big boulder fields between Ill Crag and Broad Crag. Follow the cairns and they will helps as you hop, skip or scramble along the boulders. On wet days please take extra care. Then keep following the cairns. Really take care in bad weather as the cairns are very needed.

After all this, you eventually see the summit of Scafell pike. However you realise you need to go downwards before hitting the steep scree path to the top!

scrambling the scree scafell pike

Overall Duration: Approximately 3 to 4 hours, with breaks, depending on fitness level and pace.

Note: These timings are approximate and can vary based on individual hiking speed and weather conditions. It is advisable to check weather forecasts and carry essential hiking gear before attempting this hike.

View From The Summit Of Scafell Pike

If you want the views that standing on the highest point in England offers, then you need to go on a clear day of course. Two peaks that stand out in the stunning panorama are Great Gable and Scafell Pike’s smaller neighbour, Scafell. I always find a bit of an optical illusion going on when at the the summit of Scafell Pike. To the eyes, England’s second highest mountain, Scafell, looks higher, but it is in fact 50m lower than where you stand.

A clear day can take the views out miles and miles. Even the Isle of Man comes into the view. Plus the mountains of Snowdonia 90 miles away in Wales.

On a bad weather day you rarely see much, but at least you can say you are the highest person in England at that moment.

scafell pike bad weather

Parking at Seathwaite

Parking at Seathwaite can be easy or difficult depending on the time of year or day of the week. The farm of Seathwaite is at postcode CA12 5X. From Keswick you drive into Borrowdale along the B5289 with Derwentwater on your right.

At the far end of Borrowdale turn left at Seatoller onto a dead end road, Styhead Pass. The farm is the end of this road. Parking is in laybys along this narrow road. The earlier you get there, the nearer to the farm you get and the less you have to walk along the road to get to the start.

In Summer and some weekends you may well find that the farm opens up a field for parking with a nominal charge of £5.

Difficulty Level and Fitness Requirements

The paths on Scafell Pike involve steeper ascents and more uneven terrain than many other Lake District mountains, requiring a suitable level of physical fitness. It is important to be prepared with appropriate equipment, including sturdy hiking boots and waterproof clothing, as weather conditions can change rapidly.

The difficulty level is moderate to challenging.

up the gill to scafell pike


Hiking Scafell Pike from Seathwaite offers an exciting adventure with rewarding experiences. As the highest peak in England, it provides a thrilling challenge for all outdoor walkers and adventurers.

I shall be there again soon myself as ever. Maybe you will join me on the social walk?

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  1. Paul great update on Scarfel this was my first adventure after a serious operation. Your post brought back the great feeling of being there. I look forward to going back up again soon. All the best Glen

  2. Ana Margarida Soares says:

    Beautiful 🙂 thank you for sharing

  3. Looks like a wonderful place to visit Paul!! You make me want to hope on a plane 🙂

  4. Tina Somberg-Buiks says:

    Hi Paul,

    You are a genius both with your camera and pen! Wonderful!
    We climbed Scafell Pike a few years ago when staying in The Screes and had rain, storm, hail, thunder and … sun! Loved it.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Tina.. Thank you.. yes can’t beat a great weather mix can you? 🙂

  5. HouseSit_Match_ says:

    May I post some of your photos (they are gorgeous!) on our Facebook page with a credit to you? Our Facebook page is for HouseSit Match. Please check us out between hikes! Thanks, Lamia

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thank you with pleasure… I will do thanks 🙂

  6. HouseSit_Match_ says:

    Scafell Pike is fantastic – and it looks like you had the best season’s weather that day. I remember having all four seasons on the way up, and then again on the descent. Fabulous!!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      aye I have had some moments up there 🙂

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