There are some seriously beautiful hikes to go on here in the UK. If we get the weather, which admittedly isn’t always the case, the views rival those that I’ve witnessed in the likes of New Zealand and the French Alps. I’m guilty of overlooking the beauty on our doorstep, and I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that.
Over the years I’ve managed to hop across to a fair few of the National Parks we have here in the UK to escape the city hustle and indulge in some quality countryside living.
I summited Wales’ highest peak, Snowdon, during the first ever WMGT event in Snowdonia. I’ve spent weekends with friends in the Peak District, Cornwall, Sussex and the Yorkshire Dales, where I also completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.
Most recently I headed up to the North West region of England for a three-day getaway in the Lake District National Park.
Amongst other adventures, we took on the second of the National Three Peaks and hiked to the summit of England’s highest mountain: Scafell Pike.
See my full 3 day adventure itinerary here.
Climbing the highest peaks in the UK has become an increasingly popular activity and so, now that I’ve completed another, I thought I’d share my top tips plus the experience with you.
Scafell Pike is in the Lake District, a stunning National Park in the North West region of England.
To drive to the Lake District, it’s about five hours from London and the South East, 1.5 hours from Manchester and two hours from York.
You can also get to the Lake District by bus and train. Trains stop throughout the park, such as at Oxenholme, Windermere, Carlisle, Barrow, Kendal and Penrith. Check bus and train connections here.
There are lots of places to stay in the area: check out booking.com, Airbnbs, campsites, and you can also book directly with the Lake District National Park who will use money earned on bookings to reinvest in the park. We stayed at Castlerigg Hill Campsite in the Inspire Pod.
It completely depends which path you go for. We took on the most popular path (and the one people usually take when taking on the National Three Peaks Challenge) which goes from Wasdale Head and it was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated. This is considered the easier path.
The incline was pretty relentless and my calves were definitely burning, but there are plenty of places to rest and break it up.
It took us 2 hours to hike up and 2 hours to hike down, so a quicker completion than the 4-6 hours noted online when I researched. That was probably due to the wet, low visibility conditions – we weren’t keen to stand still for longer than 1 minute due to the drop in our body temperature when doing so.
Had it been a brighter day with clearer views we would have probably stopped to take it in more and eaten lunch on the way. Our hike was of the straight up, take some photos, straight down kind.
The ease of hiking Scafell Pike is also very dependent on weather and you shouldn’t take weather warnings lightly. The lady working for the National Trust in the car park when we began our hike told us that there had been two fatalities in the past 8 week from poor decision making and the choice of hikers to take the unbeaten paths without the essential tools: a compass and a map.
In the car parks they have daily predictions and will be there to guide you.
There are two main paths for climbing Scafell Pike. Check out all the info here.
1. Wasdale Head
This was the path that I chose, and is the easier of the two main paths.
The postcode for Wasdale Head is CA20 1EX. Park at the Lake Head car park for minimise the disruption in the local community.
From the car park, follow the road to the footpath, and follow this over a footbridge and onwards to Lingmell Gill. Here, bear to the left, heading uphill before crossing the river and passing Brown Tongue, and continuing to the peak of Scafell Pike.
The Wasdale Head route is six miles long, up and down, and includes 989 metres of ascent.
I didn’t do this path, but it looks good anyway!
The postcode for the Seathwaite route start is CA12 5XJ. There is limited parking along the roadside leading to the farm.
From the parking, walk through the farm, over Stockley Bridge, to Styhead Gill. From Sty Head, continue to Corridor Route to Lnigmell Col, and on to the peak of Scafell Pike.
The Seathwaite route is 9.5 miles long, up and down, and includes 996 metres of ascent.
Depending on which path you choose, you’ll be out hiking for between 3-7 hours so you’ll want to make sure you don’t accumulate blisters in the first hour, otherwise it will be an uncomfortable ride!
These are just as important as good shoes to cushion your feet and let them breathe.
Wear the comfiest bottoms you own!
Honestly, my temperature fluctuated ridiculously even within 5-minute intervals. The weather in the mountains can change by the minute and when you combine that with a selection of flat paths and steep gradients, your body gets a bit confused and your outfits should accommodate to comfort yourself. We started the hike with clear skies and vest tops and by the time we reached the summit I had my woolly hat, thermals and gloves on!
England is known for it’s rain after all.
It’s only recently that I realised the important of this. When enduring these longer hikes, you’ll most likely be taking a lot of water and snacks too. When carrying weight and hiking, it’s important that the weight is distributed correctly to avoid doing yourself damage – we only get one body, so we need to look after it!
The views are pretty remarkable.
Remember to apply suncream and mosquito repellent regularly as you’ll sweat it off pretty quickly!
What are your top tips? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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