This route can be started either from the parking at Wasdale head next to the public toilets, or from the National Trust car park next to the campsite.
Parking - Follow the signs and park at NT Lake Head car park (GR NY 182 074) – open 24 hours with limited toilet facilities available. There’s a charge for parking, with your fees contributing to the work of our National Trust upland rangers maintaining the main routes up Scafell Pike. Remember, noise travels far in our quiet valley, so please switch off engines overnight and keep noise to an absolute minimum to avoid disturbing visitors to the campsite.
In the Ranger's opinion, this route is the most straightforward and direct way to the top ofScafell Pike.
Ranger’s top tips and detailed route information:
1. The river crossing at NY195 074 (300m above sea level.) When in spate this beck can be very difficult to cross. You may be able to cross higher up as the flow allows but this still will be difficult and potentially hazardous. Also be aware that you may be able to get across going up, but if the rain is particularly bad, the beck may be impassable on the way back down. We’ve been caught out by this in the past! On a sunny day though then there’s no problems! Please follow the stone pitched path following the beck up and not the route on the nose of Brown Tongue as this is subject to erosion and took five years to fix back in the 1980s.
Lingmell Beck crossing
2. There’s a split in the path at NY201 072 (504m above sea level) with the right hand turn heading to Mickledore col and the left to Hollowstones. This is very easy to miss if you’ve got your head down and especially at night. Remember to turn left! If you do miss it and continue on towards Mickledore, you can still access Scafell Pike summit but this is a more challenging route. Once you have turned left the path meanders through the rocky boulder field called Hollowstones until eventually leading you to a zig-zag path; this takes you up to the final path junction at Lingmell col. Please could you avoid cutting the corners on the zig-zag route. Thanks.
Brown Tongue path junction
3. At Lingmell col there is a junction in the path at NY210 076 (777m above sea level.) You need to follow the wider, more obvious, rocky route that ascends to your right. From this point onwards the path becomes much more informal and stone scattered as it climbs towards the summit. There are some large stone cairnsthat shadow the path but beware, people sometimes build extra cairnsfor fun and these may not lead you in the right direction! We do our best to remove these but we can’t get up there every day, please don’t build any more. Eventually you will reach the large summit cairn at the top of Scafell Pike.
Too many cairns
4. The summit plateau of Scafell Pike can be challenging, especially in the mist, rain and wind that is the usual weather for here! It is very easy in the euphoria in reaching the top to forget which way you came up (again something the Rangers have done on occasion!) In poor visibility to descend to Lingmell col and retrace your steps, take a bearing from next to the trig point of 310 and walk for 100m. You will reach a cairn then take a further bearing of 290 and follow the cairnsin this direction (N.B. the path veers off this bearing after about 60m.) When you descend to the path junction (section 3.) be particularly careful to take a left; it is easy to miss this turn and if you carry on by accident you may end up on steep rough ground above Piers Gill. Piers Gill is a Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team accident black spot (look at wmrt.org.uk/advice for more info.) and is not a good place to be, please read the advice given on the link.
Looking down from the summit plateau
5. We know by now that your legs and knees are a bit sore and all you want to do is walk on some nice, soft grass; there’s some there right on the edge of this hard, rocky path! Please, please avoid doing this; it’s not just you it’s the impact of the other 30,000 Three Peaks Challengers as well thousands of other visitors who all have sore feet. As you’ll see from the way up this quickly wears large holes in the hillside which will need to be fixed at great expense. The mountain cannot take that level of wear and tear and we need your help to fix it, Please click on the sheep.
Where has all the grass gone?