Scafell Pike From Eskdale and Boot – via Pen

Scafell Pike From Eskdale and Boot – via Pen

By Dave Chick   

on January 5, 2021   5/5 (3)

Scafell Pike From Eskdale and Boot – via Pen

Further Details

Route Summary:

A superb, little used way of ascending England’s highest mountain. A route full of character and drama – one for the connoisseurs and arguably one of the best.

Start and Finish: Jubilee Bridge in Eskdale

Distance: 8.6 km

Ascent: 948 m

Time: 3.5 - 4 hours

Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.


The Woolpack Inn – Boot.

Public Transport:

Traveline for UK Public Transport


Eskdale is remote by Lake District standards and paths can become lost in the mist. High navigational skills are required if the weather is poor.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path,  Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.

Scafell Pike Guidebooks:

Recommended Scafell Pike Maps

Scafell Pike From Eskdale and Boot – via Pen Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Scafell Pike From Eskdale and Boot – via Pen

Despite it being England’s highest peak, it is possible to find quiet routes to the summit of Scafell Pike. In fact, in our experience, there is no quieter approach than that of Eskdale from near the appropriately named village of Boot. This is one of the longer routes to the summit through the remote confines of Eskdale and Great Moss and if this is your first time climbing Scafell Pike, it is probably best avoided – the Hollow Stones or Seathwaite routes will be much more suitable.

Eskdale is the Lake District’s wild, largely unspoiled valley which, despite being ringed by some of the most famous of the Lakeland fells, sees very little in the way of visitors. For Scafell Pike first-timers, Eskdale has everything they would probably want to avoid; a long walk in, pathless navigation, bogs, remoteness, solitude. For the more experienced, these things add up to create a stunning, memorable day out in the fells.

Scafell Pike From Eskdale and Boot- via Pen Route Description

1 – Getting to Eskdale is usually the first challenge as you either have to cross the notorious Wrynose and Hardknott passes or take a longer route around the western side of the national park. Parking can be found close to Jubilee Bridge (NY 21346 01111) or in a couple of laybys along the valley road (NY 21020 01126 & NY 20865 01017). Start off by heading north along the track located next to the old phone box at the western footings of the Hardknott Pass.

2 – The overall aim is to follow the River Esk to Great Moss in Upper Eskdale. This can be done on either side of the river. For a wilder experience as this route describes, follow the path on the western side. To reach this, cross the footbridge at Brotherilkeld and follow the field boundary to Yaw-House farm. At the farm, turn right through the yard and through another gate.

3 – The track leads to Scale Bridge and the follows a drystone wall down to the river Esk. The section beneath Heron Crag can be wet and boggy in places. As you approach what appears to be the head of the valley, the path veers left and begins to climb. Below you will see the delightful Lingcove Bridge.

4 – The path becomes a bit more interesting here, climbing up alongside the rocky gorge that carries the River Esk over Esk Falls. The valley narrows as you reach the top where the great range of the Scafells makes a sudden, dramatic appearance across the skyline.

5 – At Green Crag (NY 22480 04573) the path becomes fairly indistinct as it crosses an area of marshy ground. Keep following the river until you reach a drystone wall and an old sheepfold where a path will reappear once again. Above you are the immense southern crags of the Scafells – Cam Spout Crag being the most obvious. The objective of Pen sits hidden below the skyline, blending in to its rocky surrounds.

6 – Follow the path north as it passes through Sampson’s Stones – a collection of large boulders that are regarded as some of the best bouldering in the Uk – offering over 80 different routes. The peaked summit of Pen will begin to emerge, topping off the immense Central Pillar and Dow Crag. The route of ascent also becomes more noticeable, following a fan of scree to the left of the buttress. You will also probably notice that it is a steep climb.

7 – From Cam Spout Crag, cross How Beck. A small cairn marks the location to deviate from the main path (NY 22091 06140) and begin following a stream as it climbs alongside Pen. The summit will now be hidden behind Dow Crag. A faint path skirts the side of the stream but, if the weather is dry, the stream is also a good route of ascent. The route is steep though not overly difficult.

8 – The path steepens further and reaches a broad, rocky gully. From here, the choice of route is up to you. You can follow the gully to the top and turn right towards the summit or, make a direct climb up through rocks and grass from the 600m contour (approx NY 22033 06145). This section is entirely pathless so careful navigation will be required.

9 – As the steepness subsides, Pen’s summit will come into view, a small fortress of rock perched in a sea of grass – scramblers will enjoy solving the easy puzzle to reach the top. Pen’s summit is characterised by banded rock and a small cairn. The views are among the best in the Lake District and well worth the effort of the climb. To the west and the north are the lesser-seen sides of Scafell Pike and Ill Crag while to the east is an aerial view of Eskdale.

10 – From Pen, a further climb up Rough Crag is required to reach Scafell Pike’s summit. Head in a northwesterly direction over pathless ground, climbing through a series of rock terraces to reach an area of grass. Scafell Pike lies dead ahead. As you reach Chambers Crag, a path of shorts makes an appearance to lead you up the final section.

11 – It is likely that the bustling summit of Scafell Pike may come as a shock given the quietness of this route. In fact, while doing this route ourselves on a fine summer day, only two climbers were encountered and no walkers – proof that this really is the ‘quiet way’.


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Dave Chick

Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.

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Welcome to Walk up Scafell Pike

Walk up Scafell Pike is the dedicated on-line guidebook for walking routes up Scafell Pike in the English Lake District, with free walking maps and full guides to all the routes to the summit of England’s highest mountain.

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England at 978m high and is one of the mountains climbed on the Three Peaks Challenge walk. It’s a formidable mountain that needs respect, with no such thing as an easy route up  the mountain to be had. All the walks and hikes are a challenge, and well worth the effort to reach the roof of England.

The Routes to the Top of Scafell Pike page has an interactive map that shows all the walking routes to the summit of Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head, Scafell Pike from Borrowdale and Scafell Pike from Langdale as well as hotels, campsites and pubs near Scafell Pike (add your Lake District business for free), and there’s a page for each walk that shows the route, parking postcode,  a downloadable file for your GPS device as well as details on the weather for the mountain.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page for more Scafell Pike facts such as how long will it take to climb Scafell Pike, where can i start the walk from and other questions.

Main Walking Routes up Scafell Pike

Route Name Starting Point Parking Post Code Distance Ascent Walking Time
Scafell Pike from Wasdale or Wasdale Head Wasdale or Wasdale Head  CA20 1EX (Wasdale Head)  4.2km*  900m*  3-4 hours**
Scafell Pike from Seathwaite, Borrowdale (Corridor Route) Borrowdale  CA12 5XJ  15km (round trip)  1000m  6 hours+
Scafell Pike from Langdale Langdale  LA22 9JY 9km  1130m 4 hours**
Scafell Pike from Hardknott (southern approach) Eskdale Hardknott CA19 1TG – for Boot – then continue up Hardkott Pass to GR NY211 011  17km  1000m  6 hours
Scafell Pike Corridor Route from Wasdale Wasdale or Wasdale Head CA20 1EX (Wasdale Head)  7.8km*  970m*  3-4 hours **

*Distance/Ascent noted is for one way only.

**Time is for one way only, and variable. Very fit walkers can walk up and down in 3-4 hours(depending on the route)and will know their own timings and speed. If in doubt, assume the longest duration for your ascent and add the longest for your descent, depending on route. Add a good half hour or more for the summit stop as well.

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