It's a hot and humid morning in February 2008 when I…
Last week I headed to Wasdale Head in the Lake District for a week of camping, hiking and photography. On the Wednesday the clear weather made for the perfect ascent of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England.
It was my first time climbing Scafell Pike, so I went for the most straightforward route: straight up from Wasdale Head via the Hollow Stones route. It’s a well-made path and the shortest route to the top. It’s also pretty steep, with a total ascent of around 900m in 5km!
You’re unlikely to have the summit to yourself, but it’s a stunning walk with amazing vistas on all sides. Despite the weather being good, predictably the cloud descended for the hour or so I was at the summit. But I still got a couple of decent photos of the ascent.
The route I walked (shown below) is the Scafell Pike Hollow Stones route from Wasdale Head. It’s 10km long (that is 5km up and 5km back down), with 897m of total ascent. I spent about five hours on the mountain, but a lot of that time was taking photographs. While it’s not a long walk, it’s an unrelenting climb so a decent level of fitness is required.
While the path is generally easy to see (and there are often plenty of people on Scafell Pike to follow), if the weather turns it’s very easy to get disorientated. So make sure you have a map and compass and know how to use them. Particular care needs to be taken when leaving the summit that you follow the right path down and end up in the right valley – or you might have a very long walk home!
There’s a National Trust car park at the start of the route (location: NY 18238 07463; 54.4560, -3.2678). Better still, the National Trust Wasdale campsite is there too (location: NY 18251 07584; 54.4569, -3.2624). It’s a remarkably well-run, well-equipped and peaceful site set in the shadow of Great Gable, Scafell Pike and the surrounding peaks. I’d thoroughly recommend it as a place to stay.