Scafell Pike Circuit via The Corridor Route
A walk to Scafell Pike in the Lake District Southern Fells, starting at Seathwaite and ascending via the popular corridor route before returning by the way of Broad Crag, Esk Hause, and Ruddy Gill
Length: 8.9 miles
Area: Lake District – Southern Fells
GPX File: Download
Scafell Pike – (Height: 978m, Drop: 912m)
*optional* Broad Crag – (Height: 934m, Drop: 52m)
*optional* Ill Crag – (Height: 935m, Drop: 57m)
Other POI: Seathwaite, Styhead Tarn, Skew Gill, Greta Gill, Piers Gill, Calf Cove, Esk Hause, Ruddy Gill, Grains Gill
This time last year, I was in Snowdonia with the kids getting photographed for the new Scrambles in Snowdonia book. This time round, we were back with Carl – this time in the Lake District – to be photographed for another book based around adventures for kids in the Lake District. I assume that this book will be published next year. Our adventure was to be a walk up to the summit of Scafell Pike via the well known corridor route.
We started at Seathwaite and began the trek to Scafell Pike, the biggest mountain in England, with the initial walk up to Styhead Tarn. I hadn’t done this particular route for several years, and I remembered this first steep ascent just after crossing Stockley Bridge to be quite gruelling. Clearly I’m fitter now than I used to be as we were up in no time and not even out of breath. The path follows Styhead Gill to the tarn, an area popular with wild campers. Just after the tarn was passed, a sharp turn to the east was made for a short distance before we headed south again. The track traverses the western slopes of Great End and Broad Crag for a fair distance, passing various obstacles on the way. The first of these was very early on, just after we’d headed south again after Styhead Tarn, where Skew Gill had to be crossed. It was easily tackled by the kids, the youngest of which was only 5 years old.
The next obstacle was a large step that required climbing down in order to stay on the route. This unfortunately cannot be bypassed. Again, the kids didn’t have too much difficulty with a bit of guidance from me and Carl. Once down the step, the route continues around the corner along the side of Greta Gill, which is then crossed at its head.
The path continued south, passing the impressive looking Piers Gill on the way, before reaching a junction of footpaths. From here we turned left and began the steep ascent up to the summit of Scafell Pike, following the large cairns and streams of other walkers. Naturally we had a few photos at the summit point where the trig point and wind shelter were located before beginning the journey back.
We headed north-east off Scafell Pike down to the col. Turning right here leads down towards Little Narrowcove, and turning left leads back down towards Piers Gill. We continued ahead up towards Broad Crag. We didn’t bother summiting this to officially bag another Wainwright, we instead followed the track around its right hand side, and to the left of Ill Crag. We continued following the track as it curved into more of an eastwards direction and descended through Calf Cove towards the junction of footpaths at Esk Hause.
We took a left at Esk Hause and descended the hillside. In fact, there were two different footpaths that headed down the hillside and both meet the same path down below. The second path makes for easier walking but is longer. We took the first path as it seemed to cut out an unnecessary corner on the route. Once on the path below, we headed north-west for a short distance before the footpath forks. The left fork descends to Sprinkling Tarn, and eventually back to Sty Head. We took the right fork which followed Ruddy Gill northwards, merging eventually with Grains Gill. At this point we were between Seathwaite Fell up on the left, and Glamara up on the right.
Following the Gill eventually led us to Stockley Bridge – which is the same bridge we crossed at the beginning of the route just before ascending to Styhead Tarn. Just a little further and we were back in Seathwaite and at the car. It had been a long day. After dropping Carl off in Keswick, we headed back home via a stop at the Westmorland Tebay service station for the most expensive bite to eat ever. By the time we arrived home, it was 2am.
Walk completed on 12th August, 2017
Map and Elevation Data: