24th April 2010

Beating the crowds onto Scafell Pike


Walk Overview
Time 06.30 to 12.45
Duration 6 hr 15 min
Distance 10.1 mile
Ascent 3800 ft
Walking with On my own
Brackenclose - Lingmell Gill - Brown Tongue - Hollow Stones - Scafell Pike - Broad Crag - Ill Crag - Great End - Calf Cove - Esk Hause - Sprinkling Tarn - Seathwaite Fell - Sty Head - South side of Lingmell Beck - Down in the Dale - Brackenclose
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, near Brackenclose camp site, Wasdale

Unless I intended to begin a walk from Wasdale Head itself, then this would be my first choice for parking at this end of the valley. It isn't that large of a parking area, but I always seem to have been lucky and managed to get a space here. Failing that the car park next to the camp site is only a stones throw away.


Route Map

I had a nice early start today, partly because I'm an early bird anyway, but mainly to get up high before the place became overcrowded. Scafell Pike is by no means a favourite of mine, it just happens to be the highest, which for me personally is irrelevant. I have to admit that although I do enjoy walking the fells in this area, the reason I don't come here more often, is the shear quantity of people on the fells.

Crossing Lingmell Gill was easy today. With the recent lack of rain, there was no need at all to carefully pick and choose a route.

Lingmell and Great Gable.

April may be drawing to a close, but there's still areas of snow to walk through.

8am and I had Scafell Pike summit to myself. On the way up I passed three large groups of people who were on the 3 peaks, but the summit itself was deserted.

Once the wind really picks up that isn't going to last long.

After leaving Scafell Pike I headed across, or rather down and up to Broad Crag.


On route to Broad Crag I paused for a while to have a good look down Little Narrowcove, where I remembered the walk I did up there on the hottest day last summer in overwhelming heat.

Standing next to Broad Crag summit and looking across to Great Gable, Green Gable and Kirk Fell, plus a whole load more in the background.
Broad Crag must surely be the most rocky summit of any fell in the Lake District. You really need to be careful up here, one slip and it would hardly take anything to break an ankle or a leg.

Scafell Pike seen from Ill Crag summit.

Next to the summit you get a superb airy view down to Upper Eskdale. I should add that the view is much better on a clear day.

Great End summit.

A couple of minutes walk past the summit and you get this view down to Sprinkling Tarn and Seathwaite Fell.

It was here at Calf Cove that I began to meet a few more people, although I'm sure the number I passed was nothing compared to how busy this area would get later in the day.

Allan Crags and Glaramara.

There was far too much haze for decent long distance views today, but at least Great Gable and Green Gable seem to be clear enough.

I didn't realise it when I took this picture, but I actually knew the two people you can just make out on the path below me. Dave and Janine have been website visitors almost from the start, and ever since we first bumped into each other on Fellbarrow back in 2005, we've kept in email contact with each other.
It's a good job we all like early starts otherwise we'd have missed each other.

Great End behind Sprinkling Tarn.

As seen as though I was fairly close, I decided to walk across to Seathwaite Fell.

Here's an unusual view of Sty Head. I took this from my off path route from Seathwaite Fell.

Styhead Tarn, taken just before I headed down to my left to pick up the path back down to the valley.

This is a much quieter option than the more popular track running up the side of Great Gable. Despite the number of people I could see on the other route I only passed one group of people between here and the road near the car.
I think I'm correct in saying this was the original Sty Head Pass route anyway.

This deep pool looked so inviting, but still far too cold for a dip. Perhaps in a couple of months.

This was just one of several reasons why I stayed on this side of Lingmell Beck instead of taking the normal path through Wasdale Head. The fells in the background are Yewbarrow and Red Pike.

Another unusual view from today's walk; this one showing Great Gable.

A close up of Burnthwaite Farm.

Clearer conditions and some sunshine would have been nice for this picture, but the angle still shows the wonderful nature of the walls found at Wasdale Head.

A view back along the road towards Kirk Fell and Great Gable (behind the tree).

David Hall -
Lake District Walks