• Strenuousness:
  • Navigation:
  • Technicality:


  • Terrain:
    Rough and rocky ground, grassy hillsides, bog and occasional exposure
  • Time:
    5.5 hours
  • Distance:
    10.5km (there and back)
  • Total Ascent:
  • Starting Point:
    Wast Water car park by the campsite
  • Nearest Town:
    Wasdale Head (hamlet) otherwise Gosforth
  • Public Transport:
    Very difficult. The closest train station is Seascale.


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Park at the Wasdale Head car park (OS ref: NY187085) and set off south-east along the public footpath across the valley floor to the footbridge (OS ref: NY189082) which crosses Lingmell Beck.

From the footbridge, follow the path southwards, climbing diagonally up the hillside. At the crest of the hill, instead of descending to Lingmell Gill (see the classic Wasdale Route), turn left on the grassy path straight up Lingmell fell. Although it isn’t as well-worn as the path you were on, it should be clear to follow in good weather. Continue uphill, quite steeply and persistently, crossing a wall at a stile, then up and up! Eventually, the incline flattens – although you’re still not at the summit yet (OS ref: NY 196 078). Take a moment to look back at the view, straight down Wasdale and the length of Wast Water disappearing into the distance.

To finish your climb of Lingmell, continue up the path with views of Wast Water to your right. The path bears left around the front of Lingmell’s craggy peak, then winds roughly east up to the summit. There is a large summit cairn to mark the highest point. (OS ref: NY 209 081) Looking south, you can see the massive bulk of Scafell Pike and, in clear weather, the path that you’ll be taking up next.

To climb Scafell Pike from Lingmell, descend on the path heading southeast to Lingmell Col (OS ref: NY210077). Here you will rejoin the busier route from Wasdale. Cross over the well-made path and continue uphill towards Scafell Pike. The ground underfoot becomes quite rocky and loose, with the path less obvious nearest to the summit.

Soon you’ll be hiking across the boulder-strewn plateau to the summit trip point and huge cairn shelter. You’ve reached the top of Scafell Pike! (OS ref: NY215073). Take a moment to look back at Lingmell and down into Wasdale where you started your day.

To return safely home, you can simply retrace your steps, following this route in reverse. Or, if you’d rather not visit Lingmell twice in a day, turn left from Lingmell Col. This will take you down along a well-made path, straight back to Wasdale valley. This is the most direct option. It will bring you back to Lingmell Gill, following it along the river bank. Just remember to cut off right, a slight ascent, at the very foot of Lingmell, to rejoin the first path you took today. A short distance later, you’ll be in a comfy chair at the Wasdale Head Inn. (OS ref: NY186088)