Scafell and your need to know guide on the Wainwright


Wainwright Number:

Southern Lakes

OS Map:
Explorer map OL6

Scafell is 964m high or 3162ft tall. 

This Wainwright is located in the southern Fells of the Lake District.

You can head up to Scafell from Eskdale. This is a long route but possibly the easiest too. 

You will need Explorer map OL6.

The closest Wainwrights to Scafell are Scafell Pike and Slight Side. 

At the top of Scafell, there is a summit cairn to mark the top of the 2nd highest Wainwright in the Lake District. 

Facts about Scafell the Wainwright

Here are some little facts about Scafell, also known as Sca Fell.

- Going back in time through history, this fell was originally called Scawfell. This name was used up until around the 1920s but was still described in some books as Scawfell even up to the 1950s.

- Scafell was also thought the be the highest mountain in the Lake District, and the parent peak of Scafell Pike. Many believed it stood taller and this was mostly because of its bold structure towards the summit. From certain angles, it looks as though it towers over Scafell Pike which looks much smoother in shape to Scafell. But this is not the case.

- The gap between Scafell Pike and Scafell looks like an exciting challenge to many walkers. But heading up to Scafell from Mickledore Col isn’t the best of ideas. It’s a rock climb and it’s advised to use ropes if you try to ascend this peak via this route. It should be taken seriously as there have been many accidents on the climb up from slips and falls. So this is not the route you want to take as a walker or hiker in the Lake District.

Check out our hike to the highest point in England Scafell Pike right here

How high is Scafell? (m/ft)

The Wainwright of Scafell is 964m or 3162ft tall. It is the second-highest Wainwright in the Lake District, along with the second-highest mountain in England.

Scafell Pike is the parent peak to Scafell and the only thing that separates these two fells is Mickledore Col.

Where is Scafell located?

Scafell is located in the south of the Lake District and lies next to the highest mountain in England which is Scafell Pike. Although the two Wainwrights lie in such close proximity, the routes to the top can take very different paths. This is because they are not the easiest to join on a walk from one fell to another.

So how hard is this Fell to climb and which routes can you take?

Depending on the route that you take up Scafell will depend on how hard you find the walk. Coming at Scafell from the south from Eskdale, you’ll be faced with the long walk up the main tongue of the fell. It can seem never-ending and gradually makes its incline up to the top of Slight Side, before then heading further up to Scafell itself.

You can also take the route from Wasdale, this starts similar to the walk up to Scafell Pike. But takes a different path off before you start to incline too much at all. It’s then a good route up the Scafell and you can detour off to the likes of Slight Side to make a round trip while you’re out. This route generally takes around four to five hours to complete.

And lastly, you can take the route off from Scafell Pike itself. Although this is a much more challenging route, it’s certain to say be careful and read your map to make sure you’re heading to the right point of crossing. There is the likes of Mickledore Col to contend with, and only crossing and heading up here is advised for rock climbers.

For the general walker like you and I, you should avoid this and cross via the gulley up to Foxes Tarn. It’s a safe route that will lead you up to Scafell from here.

How long does it take to climb Scafell?

To climb up Scafell the second highest mountain in England takes around five hours. This accounts for it’s long walk up the south side of the Wainwright if you’re heading up here from Eskdale. But coming from Wasdale will see a similar time on the round route to the summit and back down the fell again.

This will change depending on the level of fitness which you have. As well as the weather conditions on the day which you choose to head up Scafell itself. Please note that in poor weather conditions and throughout winter, you will need to know your way around the Lakeland fells. Make sure you have a compass, map, and essentials for each trip. And don’t go out there in weather that you do not feel comfortable in.

Are the paths good climbing up?

The paths up to Scafell are mainly good. As with all routes you should make sure you take a map with you so that you don’t get lost on the fells in the Lakes.

Also, please again be careful of the Mickledore Col if you are planning to cross from Scafell Pike over to Scafell.

Check out our hike to the highest point in England Scafell Pike right here

Best parking for Scafell starts

Some of the best parking for Scafell is from Wasdale which is a large grass car park. There are toilet facilities here too but it does get filled up quickly in the summer months. Especially on weekends during June and July, as many people take on the three peaks challenge which includes the mighty Scafell Pike.

So because of this make sure you get there early or risk having a long walk before you get started up the mountain too.

You can also park at Eskdale which is further south in the Lake District. It is a lovely little village with a village shop too. So you can get any last-minute snacks here before you start your walk up Scafell.

View towards Scafell from Scafell pike
View towards Scafell from Scafell pike

What is at the summit of Scafell?

At the top of Scafell is a summit cairn to make the point. It’s certainly an achievement to get to the top and you should give yourself a pat on the back when you do. Depending on the weather conditions on the day will very much determine what views you’re likely to see from the top of Scafell.

Check out the up to date daily weather for Scafell right here

What are the views from the top of the 2nd highest Wainwright?

The views from the top of the second-highest mountain in England and the second highest Wainwright in the Lake District are spot on. On a clear day, you can see for miles over and around the heart of the Lakes. Looking in all directions there is a view of such beauty that even on a cloudy day, you’d be hard to not smile at.

You can see Scafell Pike clearly north of Scafell and then beyond to the Skiddaw range in the north of the Lake District. Towards the east is the likes of Fairfield, Nethermost Pike, and Ill bell too. Looking towards the south you’ll be able to see Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam, and Harter Fell directly south. And then to the west, the views of the fells such as Seatallon, Red Pike, and Starling Dodd come into view.

There’s one fell that can’t be seen from the summit of Scafell and that is mentioned in Wainwright's book four of his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

“Most visitors look for Helvellyn in every view, but from Scafell’s summit it is exactly covered by the south peak of Scafell Pike acrcoss Mickledore.”

Which OS map do you need to climb

The ordinance survey map that you will need to walk up Scafell is OL6 in the Lake District. In addition to this, you can use Wainwrights book number four of his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. In here he describes the routes clearly up the Wainwright itself and what views you can see from the top.

Alfred Wainwright's books are something that every fell walker should have in the Lake District and they make for some great reading too. His notes and descriptions on the mountains in the Lakes, really make each walk feel personal as you’re on it.

Where to stay, B&Bs, Campsites, etc.

As with the above, it again depends solely on your location for starting and ending your hike up and around Scafell and the surrounding area. Check out the likes of YHA, and local campsites around the area, for both Wasdale and Eskdale.

Some of the campsites may be season dependant so always check in with them before you turn up first.

There are also plenty of inns B&B’s around the Lake District but again these can get booked up quickly throughout the year. In addition to this they do tend to be in busier towns and so finding somewhere closer to the fells might need more research to get the best for you possible.

Campsites around Scafell and Wast Water

Wasdale Campsite

If you are looking to start your walk from Wasdale then one of the best campsites is Wasdale campsite. It is located just as it suggests and is great for all types of camping.

You can pitch up your tent here on the natural campsite, which holds some stunning views around the area. And if you have a motor home or camper-van then these are welcome too. There are hardstanding pitches for camper-vans, with the choice of electric hookup as well.

On top of this, you can hire of one their glamping pods for your stay in Wasdale for your hike up Scafell, or choose their family-sized bell tent which gives the added warmth away from the elements. Especially throughout the winter months. And yes, you’ll be thrilled to know that Wasdale campsite is open all year round. So they’ll be no reason to stop you visiting Wast Water and Scafell any time of the year.

Check out the link here to read more about Wasdale Campsite.

Fisherground Campsite in Eskdale

Sat in the heart of Eskdale this amazing campsite gets the award of being in the ‘50 world best campsites’ listed in the Independents. It’s a great hub for starting your walks around the south of the Lake District including for Scafell. But this campsite is closed throughout the winter months too.

It’s a family-friendly run site with 215 pitches on-site. So there is plenty of room for your tent, motorhome and trusted dogs to come along too. They also offer the choice of electric hookup if you need this added facility.

There is a village shop in Eskdale too so you can pick up any supplies that you need for your hike up Scafell from here. And with campfires being allowed you warm yourself through after the long days walk in the Lake District.

Check out the link here to learn more on this campsite.

True Freedom Seekers
Thank you for taking the time to read our page. We hope you have enjoyed the information which we have for you. Please feel free to reach out to us about anything regarding the Lake District. Or leave a comment below. Happy Wainwright bagging.

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