Saturday, September 29, 2018

Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route from Seathwaite

Date: 28th Sept 2018
Start/Finish: Seathwaite
Route: Up to Styhead Tarn and then on to Scafell Pike via corridor route. Return over Great End and Grains Gill.
Wainwrights: Scafell Pike, Great End.
Time Taken: 7 Hours

Below is a 3D fly-through of the route 

I've climbed Scafell Pike many times; from Wast Water, Eskdale and Langdale but never from Seathwaite via the corridor route. So this was about hiking a new route up a familiar mountain. I drove up the night before in the camper van and parked in Seathwaite. This way I could get an early start after a good nights sleep. I chose the classic circular route up Styhead Gill to Sty Head and then along the corridor route to Scafell Pike before heading back via Esk Hause and Grains Gill. I made a few small deviations onto Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End for the views.

Accommodation in Seathwaite

Seathwaite Fell over Stockley Bridge

Looking back along Styhead Gill

An unnecessarily large cairn near Sty Head

Styhead Tarn

Great End 

The usual wild campers around Styhead Tarn unsurprisingly forgetting the bit about 'always pack up before the day hikers arrive' 

A lone hiker near the start of the corridor route

The corridor route heading towards Piers Gill

Piers Gill

Heading towards Lingmell Col

The top of Piers Gill

Lingmell and Great Gable from the path up to Scafell Pike 

Scafell Pike summit - under cloud
I had lunch in one of the many wind breaks near the summit but unfortunately the cloud didn't look like it was going to lift any time soon, so I headed off down the badly eroded path to the col at the top of little narrowcove before heading up to Broad Crag and then across to Ill Crag.

Looking down little narrowcove gulley

Broad Crag summit

Ill Crag

Looking down the Esk valley from Ill Crag

Bowfell from Ill Crag

Great End

Views down to Borrowdale from Great End

The top of Central Gulley on Great End

Great End summit views over to Glaramara 

Ill Crag, Broad Crag and Scafell Pike now cloud free

Views over Esk Hause towards Esk Pike and Bowfell

Esk Pike from Esk Hause

Views of the route back down to Seathwaite, the Borrowdale valley and Derwent Water beyond

The Langdale Pikes

Great End and Great Gable

The bottom of Central Gulley

Grains Gill and the path back to Seathwaite

Now this is undoubtedly a lovely walk in a stunning landscape but the day was somewhat tarnished by the strange behaviour of some folk along the way. I know it was Scafell Pike on a Saturday with a half decent forecast and so I expected a crowd but there were literally hundreds of people of the mountain, including someone shouting obscenities from the summit at the top of their voice (a lost bet maybe?) when so may folk were around including children. Also, there was a group of 30 ish strewn along a mile section of Grains Gill whose chief method of communication was to repeatedly yodel at each other. Now I'm all for a good yodel in the Swiss alps when needs must but this was ridiculous and just annoying to everyone within earshot.

It also seemed that there was a festival of tissue paper on the mountain today. Every 50 yards or so the path was decorated with the stuff. And then, to add to my disillusionment, I was asked 5 times by different groups where Scafell Pike was. None had a GPS, map or compass. I also encountered folk in jeans & brogues and a girl in a leather bikers jacket complete with tassels, who unsurprisingly looked thoroughly miserable on the Scafell ascent in clag, 30mph gusts and 2 degrees above zero. I really feel for the poor Mountain Rescue Teams who must despair at the sheer idiocy of some people. Ah well. Rant over. It's a lovely area. Just go midweek and early morning, or leave it until winter.


  1. Hi Steve

    This was my favourite route up Scafell Pike although I orefer it in tbe opposite direction ie approaching via Grains and Ruddy Ghylls and Great End. I've done it 6 or 7 times I guess.

    However, I doubt I'll do this mountain again. Too busy, and too many experiences similar to those you experienced, together with the litter and mess, often from 'Three Peakers' which upsets and depresses me.

    Sorry to leave such a negative comment.

    1. Hi David. I feel the same. Yes it was a great route and didn’t disappoint in terms of the landscape. But, it was far too busy and the behaviour of some folk just left a bitter taste. I will have to go up again as my lad wants to climb it with me but after that I will also be avoiding the area. I just didn’t feel refreshed or inspired like I usually do after a day in the fells. I felt a sense of disappointment that the mountain has become somewhat sullied. On the bright side though, if all the idiots are concentrated in one area then we know where to avoid them.

  2. Thanks for the comprehensive report, Steve, and the excellent pictures.
    I’ve not done that route before, so I’ll clip this and schedule it in. Having a camper makes all the difference as far as I am concerned. It just adds that extra element of freedom.

    1. Hi Gareth. Yes the van is a nice luxury. You can up at the crack of dawn and into the fells feeling well rested. It is a cracking route but I would avoid weekends unless you like crowds

  3. Did the Scafell bit in July; two and a half hours to get there but I was carrying a lot of kit for an event. One hell of a drag beyond Stockley Br.
    Inevitably on the top; man in cotton trousers and shirt in normal shoes; he didn't hang around though unlike the family with dad in Crocs! He was asking for Ibuprofen because one of his daughters had hurt a knee. Passed them on the return leg and the girls were heads down on their phones; I still can't work out how they didn't trip up.

    1. Yes that sounds like a typical Scafell Pike scene. Nowt as queer as folk eh. I think it would make a good winter route. Much quieter too.

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