Climb up Scafell Pike via Piers Gill
A more challenging way to walk up Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head via Piers Gill
Start and Finish: Wasdale Head to Scafell Pike
Distance: 5.9 km
Ascent: 889 m
Time: 2 hours
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Toilet block at Wasdale Head village green
Ritson’s Bar – Wasdale Head Inn
There are a number of stream crossings on this walk which can become hazardous or even impossible after wet weather.
It is not possible to ascend the stream bed of Piers Gill nor is there a path on the west side – do not attempt a route here.
There is a rock ‘step’, approximately 10m high located around half way up Piers Gill – the path leads directly to the base. It is a scramble with an obvious line and plenty of hand / footholds but care should be taken. For experienced hillwalkers it will add interest rather than a challenge.
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.
Climb up Scafell Pike via Piers Gill Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
Download file for GPS
Climb up Scafell Pike via Piers Gill
It could be argued that this route up Scafell Pike is a bit of a hidden gem. While the Hollow Stones and Corridor Route draw the crowds, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter many people climbing alongside Piers Gill – a huge canyon that slices across the flanks of Lingmell.
This route avoids the Scafell Pike masses for the most part by using this seldom used route up alongside the gill. This is a fairly taxing route that involves some short but steep scrambles that cannot be bypassed. It is advised that, if you are tackling this route, be respectful of the gill – it has been the site of many accidents in the past. It is not possible to walk up or down the bed of the stream.
Note that this route deserves respect and we recommend that you read the Piers Gill page on the Wasdale MRT website before considering this route.
Scafell Pike via Piers Gill Full Route Description
1 – From Wasdale Head, follow the track at the north eastern end of the village green car park (NY 18708 08542) and make your way past the small St. Olaf’s church. Keep following the track as it passes to the left of Burnthwaite Farm. Once past the farm, continue on through a gate to reach a footbridge over Gable Beck.
2 – After crossing the bridge, continue along the track approximately 500 metres where you will find a fork in the path (NY 20352 09333). Bear right here to remain down in the valley bottom, following the stream. There is a path but it is much less distinct.
3 – Follow the path until you reach the point where two streams meet, Piers Gill and Spouthead Gill, to form Lingmell Beck – the stream you have been following. Notice the beautiful green pool where to two streams come together. You will need to cross Spouthead Gill to get to the east side of Piers Gill (the left as you look at it from below). To do this, continue past the meeting point a few metres and climb slightly. You should notice a prominent arrow scratched onto a large, flat rock on the floor, marking the way across Spouthead Gill (NY 21250 09177). It is marked as ‘Ford’ on the current OS 25k map.
4 – Having successfully negotiated the crossing, the path will start to climb once again. You will need to bear right at to keep following the rim of Piers Gill. After some further sustained climbing, you will cross Greta Gill where the entrance to Piers Gill beckons. It’s worth noting here that it is not possible to ascend Piers Gill along the stream bed. It is a known accident spot (usually by people entering from the top as they descend from Scafell Pike) and should be avoided.
5 – Keep following the path on the east side of Piers Gill as it climbs. You will notice that it moves away from the rim of the gill. The path will eventually reach the base of a rock wall where a short scramble is required (NY 21300 08300). For competent scramblers the route is straightforward and short-lived. There are plenty of hand and footholds to help. After negotiating the scramble, the path continues on.
6 – If the weather is fine or you are confident in your navigating, it is highly recommended to visit the rim of Piers Gill as it turns through 90 degree below Lingmell Crag. This will require leaving the path. It is a remarkable, awe inspiring sight. Take care next to the edges as the cliffs are easily 30 – 40m high.
7 – After the bend in Piers Gill, the path passes close to the edge as it makes its final climb beneath Middleboot Knotts. The dazzling rock scenery of Scafell Pike lies ahead.
8 – The Piers Gill path joins the Corridor Route at the top of of the ravine. Turn right here and pass around the head of the ravine, giving a view down the canyon. You can probably see why people mistakenly enter, looking for a way down. Follow the Corridor Route west as it climbs up some rocky outcrops to reach Lingmell Col. Here, the path from Hollow Stones arrives, usually bringing a significant number of people with it.
9 – You’re on the final stretch now. Follow the main path left, as it zig-zags through the scree to the summit of Scafell Pike – following cairns as you go. The final section can be indistinct, and you’ll need some navigational skills in mist.