Great End, Scafell Pike & Lingmell from Wasdale Head

7th June 2022

It's incredible to think that I've only ascended Sty Head from Wasdale Head just the once during a failed unrecorded attempt on Great Gable on a day which brought almost every Lakeland MRT to the Wasdale valley due to storm force winds and rain which saw becks and rivers break their banks flooding the valley. It was also the day when a Mountain Marathon event was taking place which was cancelled around midday leaving hundreds of runners taking refuge at Honister Slate Mine or stranded on the hill between Borrowdale and Wasdale, it was the runners who had somehow made it off Great Gable who warned me to turn around, that day was 10th October 2008. That day is soley my memory of the ascent from Sty Head from Wasdale Head

Fast forward to present day.

Today I'm back in Wasdale Head for two main reasons, to ascend the path between Wasdale Head and Sty Head (commonly known as Moses Trod) and secondly, to climb Great End via the length of The Band, an ascent that I have partially ascended by after ascending Skew Gill with Tim Oxburgh back in May 2013. After taking in the delights of The Band I'll summit Great End before linking Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and finally Lingmell to complete the walk. It seems ages ago since I last did a 'big walk' in this area and even longer ago since I tried something new.

Wainwright Guide Book Four
The Southern Fells


The Band is straight forward walking but the rugged final dome beyond the head of Skew Gill is mountaineering.


Ascent: 3,691 Feet 1,125 Metres
Wainwrights: 3, Great End - Scafell Pike - Lingmell
Visiting: Broad Crag
Weather: Warm Bright & Sunny AM With Intermitant Cloud PM Highs of 21°C Lows of 10°C
Parking: Car Park, Wasdale Head
Area: Southern
Miles: 8
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 6 Hours 10 Minutes
Route: Wasdale Head - Burnthwaite - Moses Trod - Sty Head - The Band - Great End - Broad Crag - Broad Crag Col - Scafell Pike - Lingmell Col - Lingmell - Goat Crags - Down-in-the-Dale - 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 its 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, Wind Gap, Black Crag and Red Pike from Wasdale Head 08:20am 10°C

With the Jubilee Bank Holiday over Lakeland is returning to normality and I was able to park easily bringing the total of cars at Wasdale Head to just eight cars, which will increase but for now it's a lovely quiet start to the walk.

The morning air is warm with just the gentlest of breezes meaning a single base layer should be suffice for now. Just as I'm thinking how quiet it is another car pulls up and a young lad and his girlfriend get out almost ready to the hit the hill as they carry out some last minute checks on gear by which time I'm trying unsuccessfully to neatly fold my Alp Kit windproof into my pack which I've tailored to just the essentials to cater for the extra hydration I'm carrying and not forgetting the share bag of Fruit Pastels for that sugary energy boost when I need it.

The young couple and I lock our cars simultaneously and I pass with a 'morning' and get one in return. It's at this point I wondered of their route, turns out they were heading for Sty Head too.

Black Sails, Wind Gap, Pillar and Kirk Fell.
I passed Lingmell House B&B and could hear the couples footsteps in the gravel directly behind me. I very much doubt we'd be in each others pockets during our ascent on Sty Head and to give them a lead on the old fella I pay a visit to St Olaf's church.

St Olaf's Church, Wasdale Head.
The present church with its flagstone floor dates back to 1525 replacing an old wooden church that's thought to have occupied the site over the last 500 years. Legend has it that the wooden roof beams originated from Viking ships - how true that is I'm not sure but it's great to think that those beams stemmed back to the age of the Vikings.

A dedication to the Fell and Rock Climbing Club (FRCC) etched into the window of St Olaf's.

Kirk Fell and Great Gable.
Come into view as I head towards Burnthwaite Farm.

Great Gable from Burnthwaite Farm.
After visiting St Olaf's I can see that the young couple are way ahead of me now.

Beck Head (left) Great Gable, Gavel Neese and Sty Head (right) from Burnthwaite.
Burnthwaite Farm was quiet as I passed through but I did sight cattle through a half open barn door.

Views towards Sty Head as I cross the footbridge over Gable Beck.
It would seem I'm quickly catching the young couple up as the girl seems to be stopping quite a lot which could be down to the heat here at valley level which is climbing into the teens already. The Low Point directly ahead is Sty Head with The Band and Great End seen to the right.

Ascending towards Sty Head with The Band, Great End and Long Pike on Great End seen right.

I managed to pass the young couple as the young lad waited for his girlfriend to catch up 'you wouldn't have to wait so much if you stopped leaving her behind' I thought to myself..

The path varied between steepness which made it a tad awkward by the rock underfoot which varied from the size of ball bearings to 'good hand sized rock' all of which seemed to sink when you walked over it. Throw in the heat from direct sunlight and you had a right O'l mix!

Approaching Sty Head.
With views of The Band, Skew Gill, Great End and Long Pike.

Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Lingmell Col, Piers Gill and Lingmell from Sty Head.
Under a warm sun Sty Head was reached the heat making it feel much harder than it should have. I composed myself at the new Stretcher Box, made some clothing adjustments and began the short ascent towards Sprinkling Tarn and The Band.

Base Brown, Sprinkling Tarn and Seathwaite Fell.
After a short distance I came a cross a couple who'd wild camped above Styhead Tarn and we had a short conversation on how the night went 'quiet' they replied with the exception that two more wild camps had set up closer to Sprinkling Tarn up ahead.

Gaining The Band at NY 224 093
Wainwright suggested gaining The Band via a grass rake at NY 227 089 further up the path opposite Sprinkling Tarn but I wanted to gain as much of the ridge as possible so I gained it approximately 0.30 mile further back and found the ascent to the base of the ridge with no difficulties.

Red Pike (Wasdale) Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable, Sty Head and Styhead Tarn from The Band.
After passing a rather impressive standing stone the ridge plateaued from where I took in these amazing views of the Gables over Sty Head.

Looking towards the West.
And back down towards Wasdale Head with Piers Gill and Lingmell over on the left with Yewbarrow, Red Pike seen centre and Kirk Fell and Great Gable over on the right.


Looking over the head of Skew Gill towards Seatallan, Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Black Crag (Pillar) Kirk Fell and Great Gable from The Band.
From the base of The Band I picked up a faint path which I was keen to stick with. The path navigates through grass and boulder steadily ascending and plateauing in parts one of which was here as the head of Skew Gill is passed.

'The Dome' Great End.

After continuing ascent 'the dome' of Great End appears, even for the seasoned fell walker it's a pretty impressive mass of rock with Central and Cust gullies appearing over in the upper left.

Todays route of ascent is to follow the footpath seen foreground which directs towards the left before diverting right via easy scramble before ascending a steep grass rake.

Central Gully (centre) and Cust Gully (right)
After an initial easy rock scramble I crossed over boulder scree to take in the view over Cust and Central gullies before returning to the foot of the steep grassy rake.

Views over Sprinkling Tarn and Styhead Tarn towards...
...Seathwaite Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable Base Brown and High Spy while over on the right we have Skiddaw, Blencathra, Great Mell Fell, Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and Glaramara.

Views over Sprinkling Tarn towards Glaramara and Allen Crags.
With High Raise (Langdale) and the Langdale Pikes seen over on the right.

Looking down after summiting the grass rake.
I knew from memory that the head of the grass rake wasn't the summit and what followed was the crossing of this boulder field perched directly below the summit where it pays to take your time due to how unstable the boulders were.

III Crag, Broad Crag and Scafell Pike from Great End.
The boulder field lead to the area marked 'Cairn' on the 1:25 000 which visually is the more significant cairn than the actual summit from where I took this photo. It was time to take in an energy boost in the form of Fruit Pastels washed down with long gulps of Summer Fruits.

Looking back on Great End.
I began my descent from Great End and crossed the head of Calf Cove where the young lad from the Sty Head path popped out minus his girlfriend who emerged about 5 minutes later by which time I'd scaled the crag and was about to cross the boulders to join the Scafell Pike highway.

Scafell Pike (left) and Broad Crag (right)
It had always been my intention to include III Crag which as I took this photo I was flanking to my immediate left but from its approach I could see that both the summit and subsidiary summits were crowded and I could even hear music being played. I was gutted at having to leave out III Crag out but I just didn't fancy taking in the views of Great Moss with a boom box playing in the background.

Scafell Pike and Broad Crag.
The music I could hear had already faded into the distance and by the time I was descending the col towards Broad Crag I seemed to have the area to myself, it wouldn't be for long but nice while it lasted.

Looking down on Round How (left) and Great End (right) from the col.
If you look carefully you might be able to spot Lambfoot Dub (seen between Round How and Sprinkling Tarn in the photo)

Scafell Pike from Broad Crag summit.
It was fast approaching lunchtime by the time I'd made Broad Crag and my stomach was telling me to put food in it, trouble was I didn't want to ascend Scafell Pike on a full stomach nor eat lunch on the Pike either so I'll have to put up with the growls until I reach Lingmell.

Pen and Rough Crag from Broadcrag Col.
After negotiating boulder I descended Broad Crag and joined the highway which by now was starting to get busy. I followed two chaps in descent and heard one saying "imagine doing this in cloud" his mate laughed and agreed. Unbeknown to them their 'nightmare' would become true.

Looking North over Round How towards Lingmell, Stirrup Crag (on Yewbarrow) Red Pike, Scoat Fell, Black Crag (Pillar) Pillar, Kirk Fell and Great Gable.
The fells in the distance are High Crag (Buttermere) High Stile and Hay Stacks while over on the right is Grasmoor.

Broad Crag seen over Broadcrag Col.
A lot of folk think that the ascent on Scafell Pike from Broadcrag Col is steep and daunting and other than the erosion it's only 314ft or 96 metres to find I guess it's those who don't know it's there who are often stumped by it.

Mosedale and Kirk Fell from Scafell Pike summit.
Don't be fooled into thinking I have the summit to myself as everyone for this moment at least are stood behind the trig point so I stole a quick photo and within minutes of arriving I'd started to make my descent.

Looking North East over Broadcrag Col towards Broad Crag and Great End.
It looks like the forecasters were right on queue as it's starting to cloud over as forecasted so with orders from my stomach I make haste with my descent.

The view over Lingmell Col towards Lingmell.
It's nice and clear over Lingmell and indeed Wasdale beyond but right behind me I can no longer see the Scafells due to a bank of cloud that has rolled in within the last ten minutes or so.

Great Gable and Kirk Fell from Lingmell North cairn.

During my descent of Scafell Pike I sighted a couple of walkers making their ascent on Lingmell and bumped into them at the summit cairn and got chatting. It turns out they were from Barrow and were going through their Wainwrights with Lingmell today bringing thier total to 111 They went onto mention that they weren't keen on Scafell Pike due to how busy it gets but loved Lingmell "I always try to link Lingmell with Scafell Pike" I replied.

They asked me where I was from and I replied "Wigan" "ohh rugby lad are yer" (everyone naturally assumes if your from Wigan you watch rugby and eat pies) I do neither. Nahh I joked I'm Wigan Athletic since knee high - Dads fault I joked and with that they began their descent while I walked over to the north cairn to satisfy the growls in my stomach.

Lunch with a view.
Kirk Fell, Beck Head and Pillar.

Here looking into Mosedale with the mass of Kirk Fell in the foreground.
Just in case you were wondering it's Tesco's chicken, bacon and stuffing deep filled sandwiches today.

Kirk Fell, Beck Head and Great Gable from Lingmell.
With Sty Head, Styhead Tarn, Base Brown and Seathwaite Fell over on the right.

Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Sca Fell, Hollowstones and Brown Tongue.
It continued to cloud over with the Scafells taking the brunt of the cloud before it cleared during my descent of Lingmell. The couple from Barrow were also below and even though they were taking their time I had no chance of passing them, it would be close mind.

IIIgill Head, Wast Water, Buckbarrow, Middle Fell and Yewbarrow taken during my the descent of Lingmell.

Pillar, Mosedale and Kirk Fell seen beyond Wasdale Head.

The best of the sunshine had been confined to the morning and although the sun still broke through more cloud was now filling the gaps. As I descended into valley level the temperature rose at which point I'd have done anything for a cool summit breeze. The couple from Barrow crossed Lingmell Beck and disappeared under a canopy of trees as they made their way through the pasture behind what was Wasdale School. It was my turn to cross Lingmell Beck via the footbridge before dropping onto closely clipped grass where I stopped to kick the heels into the backs of my boots, the shift felt heavenly and I thanked nearby sheep for keeping the grass so short.

Wasdale Head was much busier now but it retained the quietude of a weekday afternoon nonetheless. Through the fields I passed through the gate and onto the tarmac of Wasdale Head. A car approached, it's the couple from Barrow who both wave as they pass which I return kindly. I make it to the back of my car and pop open the boot then ease myself onto my three legged travel chair to remove my boots before untieing my boot laces which in turn releases a little dust cloud into the air.


Back to top