Strenuousness:3 (Full day)
Terrain:Rough rocky ground, grassy slopes, bog and occasional exposure
Distance:14km / 9 miles
Public Transport:78 Bus Keswick - Seatoller (no closer public transport links)
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Drive to the head of the Borrowdale valley and take the small left turn to Seathwaite, and park on the roadside (free of charge) at the end of the lane near Seathwaite Farm (OS ref: NY235122). This is usually very busy in summer and the farmer often opens up a field for extra paid parking.
Reaching Scafell Pike from Borrowdale is one of the most popular routes up Scafell Pike, you’ll see why as you continue. Set off along the track southwards through the lovely old farmyard and out into the open valley. Follow the track alongside the river to the delightful Stockley Bridge (OS ref: NY235109)
Cross the bridge and go through the gate, taking the path to the left which continues to follow the river up Grains Gill. The path is well maintained; rising gradually at first, then more steeply alongside the tumbling waterfalls of Grains Gill until it meets a larger track running east-west (OS ref: NY229087, on this map) beneath the towering cliffs of Great End directly in front of you.
Turn left (east) here and after 500m take the path which rises to the right up towards Esk Hause (OS ref: N233081, on this map), where the stunning view south into Eskdale awaits. From Esk Hause, take the path westwards, climbing between Great End and Ill Crag, and across the boulder-strewn slopes of Broad Crag from where the towering summit of Scafell Pike finally comes into view.
Progress across the boulders here requires care and a tinge of disappointment awaits as you see the hard-earned height which must now be lost before the final ascent to the summit can begin!The final climb is steep and the ground is loose, but the summit plateau is soon reached and the giant cairn (OS ref: NY215073, on this map) which marks the highest point in England comes back into view. Time for a well-earned break to enjoy the sense of achievement and take in the breath-taking panoramic views!
But time waits for no man, and one of the most beautiful paths imaginable still awaits. From the summit, head north-west towards Lingmell. The path is a mass of boulders but well-marked with cairns and drops quickly down to Lingmell Col where it meets the path rising up from Wasdale to the south-west. Here, take the path to the right (north-east) which is the beginning of the delightful “Corridor Route”.
Contouring and dropping in stages, the path has towering peaks and crags to the right and dizzying views down into Wasdale to the left, until a short final climb leads up to Sty Head Pass (OS ref: NY219095, on this map).
Spend a few minutes sitting by Styhead Tarn looking back up towards Scafell Pike, as this will be your last view of the peak, before descending along the path to Styhead Gill until it reaches Stockley Bridge and the easy final stroll back to Seathwaite.