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.
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.