Scafell Pike & Lingmell from Wasdale Head

2nd April 2021

It's been a difficult Winter for us all having something that I love suddenly taken away. I would be lying if I said that these last few months haven't been trying where at times not only where the Lakeland fells taken away from me but so too was my identity.

It's fair to say that I have struggled mentally from looking for someone, or something to blame to simply blocking how I was feeling away, storing it for another day when I thought I could handle it better when in the end I stopped thinking about Lakeland and wondered would my passion ever return. Life got busy dealing with work and home life and our ever changing world Covid and work took over, I allowed it to.

Lets be honest Covid has shook our whole world but with travel restrictions easing slowly the world that I knew started to creep back into my life with the help of Spring. I pushed the boundaries and walked Winter Hill more times than I cared to mention, more times than I published - I needed to keep my sanity when local walks just couldn't cut it, Winter Hill soaked up the wounds but only one place would stop the bleeding.

Wainwright Guide Book Four
The Southern Fells


It does a man good to realise his own insignificance in the general scheme of things, and this is his experience here.


Ascent: 3,804 Feet - 1,160 Metres
Wainwrights: 2, Scafell Pike - Lingmell
Weather: Sunny With Light Winds, Feeling Brisk At Height. of 13°C Lows of 0°C
Parking: Car Park, Wasdale Head
Area: Southern
Miles: 6
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 4 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: Wasdale Head - Down-in-the-Dale - Lingmell Beck - Lingmell Gill - Brown Tongue - Hollow Stones - Mickledore - Scafell Pike - Lingmell Col - Lingmell - Lingmell Crag - Goat Crags - Down-in-the-Dale - Lingmell Beck - Wasdale Head

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA20 1EX
Grid Reference: NY 186 708
Notes: Probably one of the more popular car parks in Lakeland due to the proximity to Scafell Pike meaning that the car park at Wasdale Head is very popular all year around and is large enough to accommodate around forty cars and mini buses. Despite its popularity you may only struggle to park here during mid Summer or late into the afternoon.


Map and Photo Gallery


Pillar and The Inn from Wasdale Head 0°C 8.15am

As I drove towards Nether Wasdale I was overcome with a mixture of pure excitement and fear, the excitement was naturally explainable but the fear came from questioning my belief when after so many months away were my legs good for such a route, a quick plan B came to mind in Middle Fell and Seatallan just in case my wobble stayed with me. Illgill Head and the Wast Water Screes greeted my return to Lakeland followed by the sight of Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell and finally the Scafells. My heart was flooded by excitement and I had to stop the car, get out and draw in that Lakeland air, long bloody gulps of it. I counted four cars also making their way to Wasdale Head and I knew I had to join them but a few more minutes wouldn't hurt.

Arriving at Wasdale Head I found the car park almost full but I managed to park up at one of the last available spaces next to a mini-bus. On the opposite side of the car park a group of walkers kit up and by the sounds of it they were heading up Gable. From the car park I scour for movement on the footpath leading along the northern lower flank of Lingmell and spot four walkers grouped together but no one in between, that's good because I really don't know how I'm about to perform and to be honest, it was causing me a slight worry. There's a definite nip to the morning air so I add gloves and a buff which I slip around my neck, happen neither will stay on but they work for now.

Soft morning light over Great Gable from Wasdale Head.
With my car locked I had a wander over to the field at the edge of the car park to take in the view over Great Gable, the valley was still cast in shadow but the morning light was starting to creep in here and there.

Illgill Head from Down-in-the-Dale.
Noting the frost covered fields.

Crossing Lingmell Beck.
With views of Kirk Fell, Beck Head and Great Gable.

Brown Tongue. Scafell Pike and Black Crag on Sca Fell.

I felt in good stead as I rounded the lower flanks of Lingmell walking at pace that I had been used to my poles doing the rest. In fact come to mention my walking poles which I up-graded to full carbon last year along with a pair of Meindl walking boots, both items have seen their fair share of muck and mud but as it so happens today is their Lakeland debut.

I wasn't quite sure if my camera would capture the streak of light which felt as if it was beckoning me to continue.

Mickledore appears.

I absorb sunlight like a solar panel but today said sunlight was beaming down on Brown Tongue causing me to ascend while looking down at my boots which mean't I could concentrate on the ascent which felt tough on the legs and lungs but I persevered only stopping to take this photo prior to reaching the fork in the path where I head right for Mickeldore.

The walker up ahead is a young Polish girl who asked me which path to take? Keep on the one your on I smiled before de-shouldering my pack where my gloves and buff are packed away and replaced by a pair of sunglasses.

Pikes Crag, Pulpit Rock, Mickledore and Black Crag on Sca Fell.
Sometimes a photograph can speak more than words.

Pikes Crag, Pulpit Rock, Mickledore and Black Crag on Sca Fell.

Mickledore from the rock ampitheater that is Hollow Stones.

The view over Hollow Stones.
Towards Lingmell, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Yewbarrow, Red Pike and Haycock.

Pulpit Rock.

A young lad and his girlfriend had followed me from the fork at the main path below, the same couple who I had seen ascending Brown Tongue earlier. I stopped so they could catch up and we talked about the route and how we were going to descend, I told him my intention was to descend Lingmell which could be gained from Lingmell Col during their descent of Scafell Pike, the couple looked over towards Lingmell and replied "aye I think we'll do that too" "It's the easier descent and the view over Wast Water is second to none" I replied.

I let the young couple take off and watched them as I shouldered my pack who by now had just reached the scree below Mickledore, I was a good 80 yards back but I could still and hear their faded conversation.

Ascending the gully towards Mickledore.
The young couple were making good pace despite the sometimes 'one step forward two steps back' approach, I had mentioned during our conversation how loose the scree path was which was confirmed and the gap between us closed up. I stopped again to allow them to gain the ridge just in case of rock fall, once they were out of view I started my own ascent.

'Gulp in your throat views into Great Moss'
I had really enjoyed the scramble up the rock gully and was treated to what felt like blinding sunlight, cool mountain air and views so splendid they left me gulping for air. My lungs hadn't really recovered from the climb onto Mickledore so I composed myself next to the Stretcher Box and familiarised myself with my surroundings naming each summit in view but for the life of me I couldn't remember the name of the ridge that extends northwards from Hard Knott...come on Paul your Mum used to have one of it! Yew Bank.

Broad Stand on Sca Fell from Mickeldore Stretcher Box.
The ascent from three chaps in the photo sounded really familiar, almost within a five mile radius of where I live but instead of asking I passed with just a 'morning lads' and got one in return, all three disappeared in the direction of Rakes Progress bound for an ascent on Lord's Rake no doubt.

Scafell Pike.
With a glimpse of Bow Fell towards the right.

Broad Stand, Sca Fell and Mickledore.
Lord's Rake can just be seen beyond the Mickledore ridge over on the right, the trio can still be heard loosening rock as they descend towards Rakes Progress.

Scafell Pike summit.

With a freshening wind I picked over rock and linked up with the main path bound for the summit, looking left a procession of walkers were heading towards me with just a few walking back having just summated themselves, the young couple had also just arrived (seen to the right of the shelter) and I passed with "it's a bit cooler up here" they smiled and I wished them to enjoy the rest of their day. It was more crowded around the rear of the summit those sat chatting no doubt were seeking shelter from the summit winds. From the direction of Broad Crag Col more walkers are ascending yet despite how busy the Pike looked it had an absolute silence in nature with people whispering or it seemed that way anyway.

I navigated myself around the shelter and started a slight descent easterly so I could take in the view over Broad Crag.

Broad Crag and Great End from Scafell Pike
With views extending as far as Derwent Water and Blencthra over 14 miles away.

Broad Crag, III Crag and Great End.
Only the scuttling of rock by ascenders was disturbing the silence.

The view over Sty Head.
Towards Great Gable, Styhead Tarn, Green Gable, Seathwaite Fell, Base Brown and Brandreth. The fells to the left of Great Gable are the Grasmoor Group while over on the right High Spy and Hindscarth come into view and beyond Skiddaw and Blencathra not forgetting Glaramara, Grange Fell and Clough Head over on the right...phew!

Great End and Broad Crag dominate the descent.
With Crisscliff Knotts, Round How and Seathwaite Fell below.

In this photo...
...the head of Piers Gill comes into view below.

Lingmell, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Red Pike (Wasdale) and Haycock seen beyond Lingmell Col.
The temperature had started to warm up but I'll only de-layer after I've eaten an early lunch at Lingmell's north cairn.

Great End and Broad Crag from Lingmell summit.
Legs twitched and muscles ached during the short climb up onto Lingmell summit but the warmer air was pleasant and I was looking forward to my fuel stop. Lingmell was actually busier than Scafell Pike finding two large groups beyond the summit cairn all of which ignored my 'morning'

The view down into Piers Gill
With the corridor route seen over on the right. OK time to head towards the north cairn because my stomach is making noises which sound like 'put food in me'

The fabulous Great End.
With Middleboot Knotts, Crisscliff Knotts and Round How below.

Great Napes on Great Gable from Lingmell North cairn.
With Little Hell Gate to the left of Great Napes and Great Hell Gate to the right. Squint and you might be able to make out the parallel path which passes below Great Napes known as the Gable Girdle.

Kirk Fell, Pillar, Scoat Fell and Red Pike (Wasdale) from Lingmell North cairn.
With Gavel Neese sloping upwards towards Beck Head over on the right.

Lingmell North cairn.
Just splendid.

Lunch with views into Mosedale.
I tucked into a chicken and tomato rice bowl while taking shelter from the fresh wind. I just couldn't seem to find a comfortable rock before realising that I'd been out on the bike yesterday and was still a little saddle sore!

Scafell Pike and Sca Fell seen over Hollow Stones.
This is a great area to view the Scafells from especially on a day as clear as today. Mickledore can be seen dividing the two summits with Pulpit Rock seen on the left and Scafell Crag over on the right.

Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Sca Fell, Hollow Stones, Black Crag on Sca Fell and Brown Tongue.
That's pretty much the whole route summed up in one picture.

Descending Lingmell with views of IIIgill Head, Wast Water, Brackenclose, Buck Barrow, Middle Fell and Yewbarrow.
I'd noticed movement behind me and spotted a couple having just left Lingmell summit but they were too far away for me to see if it was the same young couple I'd ascended Mickledore with earlier. With the top of Goat Crags reached I began my descent switching from rock to grass where my pace quickened. I had a quick look back up the steep slope and saw the couple again and I spotted the young lads blue Rab jacket, great they had taken my advice and I hoped they had enjoyed Lingmell as much as I had.

Crossing Lingmell Beck again.
A view you never tire off.

And here's another.
Great Gable from Wasdale Head.

Great Gable, Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Scafell.
Taken from Over Beck Bridge.

Yewbarrow, Great Gable and Lingmell from the Hiker's Shelter, Wast Water.
By the time I arrived back at the car park it was feeling like a proper Summers day in Wasdale confirmed by the amount of cars some of which were almost boxing each other in. I had a walk over to the wall at the edge of the car park again and passed a trio of lads who gave me a 'hey-up' as I passed. I may have had a full car park behind me but Wasdale felt silent just like the summit of Scafell Pike broke only by the sound of bleating new born Lambs and the impending approach of a Royal Mail van. It's great to be back.


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