England's Highest Peak

Scafell Pike (978m) is the highest peak in England. While it is lower than Ben Nevis (1344m) and Snowdon (1085m), it is the hardest of the three to reach for two reasons. Firstly, the nearest road is situated 4 kilometers from the summit. Secondly, the easy paths which exist on the other two mountains are not present here - it is a mountain for experienced walkers and climbers, not for tourists. Also, like any upland fell area, the weather can change in minutes - good equipment and clothing must be carried.

The summit is marked with a cairn, and despite its difficulty, there will usually be crowds of people up there when you finally reach the top - many of them taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge. Views are limited in certain directions, because of the elevation of the surrounding area, but it's possible to see as far as Sellafield on the coast, and even to the Isle of Man on a clear day.

Peace and quiet from the crowds can be found at the south peak, along with good views down to Eskdale.

Formation

The area was originally formed by volcanic activity, originally being approximately double the current height. Years of erosion have cut the mountains to their present height - causing rockfalls, boulder fields and scree faces in the process.

Surroundings and Approaches

Wasdale Head provides the starting point for the easiest approach, but is itself difficult to reach by road. Furthermore, the route up from here is rather tedious. Many people, therefore choose to take a slightly longer route, from Langdale or Borrowdale.

The Coridoor Route is probably one of the most famous - with a scramble part-way up, followed by an easy route following the contour around the west side of the mountain. It is unavoidable that steep rocky ground must eventually be negotiated to reach the summit.

There are many numerous peaks, ridges and ravines which provide an exhilerating experience, or huge hindrance, depending on your outlook. Piers Gill is particularly notorious - a 30 metre deep ravine which you don't want to be near if the light is fading, or gone.


Sources:
http://www.btinternet.com/~john.m.peacock/index6.htm
http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/1015/sca.htm

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