Climb up Scafell Pike via Piers Gill

Climb up Scafell Pike via Piers Gill

By Dave Chick   

on January 5, 2021   5/5 (1)

Climb up Scafell Pike via Piers Gill

Further Details

Route Summary:

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

Public Transport:

Traveline for UK Public Transport


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.

Scafell Pike Guidebooks:

Recommended Scafell Pike Maps

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.

Valley path alongside Spouthead Gill

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.

Crossing Spouthed Gill – note the arrow on the rock

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.

The entrance to Piers Gill

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.

Climbing up alongside the ravine

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.

Looking to the top of Piers Gill from Middleboot Knotts

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.

The path from Lingmell Col towards the summit_

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.

Looking down Piers Gill


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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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