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Check the weather forecast for your lakes 3,000ers challenge

Weather forecast for the Lakes 3000ers challenge


Popular challenges

Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge

National three peaks challenge. Scafell Pike summit

10 peaks challenge

Group climbing Helvellyn via Striding Edge

3 peaks challenge

Group climbing Scafell Pike on the national 3 peaks challenge

Scafell Pike

Group on Helvellyn summit on the Lakes top ten challenge which is far tougher than the 3 peaks challenge

Navigation training

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team Incident call-outs. See why it's safer to do your 3 peaks challenge with experienced guides.

More information on the three peaks challenge:

3 Peak challenge


Lake District 3000'ers challenge

Tougher than the National three peaks challenge?

  • What's involved
  • Scafells
  • Helvellyn
  • Skiddaw
  • Prices

Visiting the summit of the four mountains in England over 3,000 feet - Scafell Pike, Scafell, Helvellyn and Skiddaw - climbing over 2,840 metres (9,325 feet) and walking over 38km (23 miles) in the process!

There are only four mountains in England over 3,000 feet. They are all in the Lake District and this challenge takes in all four in either one or two days.

This is a tough challenge so, like all our challenges the key to success is preparation.

Because they aren't conveniently grouped together the challenge has three distinct stages. This makes it ideally suited to doing it over one, two or even three days.

Day 1 or stage 1

Involves climbing the two highest mountains Scafell Pike and Scafell. This a challenge in itself as you'll cover the most rugged terrain you're ever likely to encounter in Great britain. It doesn't get any rougher than this!

Day 2 or stage 2

Involves climbing the mountain with the most poetic name of any mountain, probably in the world - Helvellyn. Depending on how many days you're doing this challenge over there are a number of routes to choose from. The finest route is via Striding Edge from Glenridding. If you're climbing all four mountains in one day we choose the shortest route which, unfortunately is also the steepest.

Day 3 or stage 3

Involves climbing the oldest mountain in the district - Skiddaw, a huge mass of a hill but one that presents no difficulties. Easy walking all the way (a little steep initially) with a fantastic view from the top - well worth the toil.


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Scafell Pike 978 metres (3,210 feet)

Scafell 964 metres (3,162 feet)

You'll climb 1,416 metres (4,645 feet)

You'll walk about 18 km (11 miles)

We start this stage of the challenge from Seathwaite at the head of the Borrowdale valley.

Lake District 3000 challenge Seathwiate farm

Seathwaite farm in Winter our starting point for Day one

From here our first mountain is Scafell Pike which we approach via Styhead and the Corridor route. This is arguably the finest approach to this summit and takes you through some of the most rugged and dramatic terrain the district has to offer. A short distance from the start we arrive at Stockley Bridge which is a great place to cool your feet on the way back! This is where the path splits, the one we take leads us to Styhead.

Lake District Scafell Pike route Stockley Bridge

Stockley Bridge

The route to Styhead follows Styhead Gill to our right. On hot baking days there's an amazing oasis of shade and cool water at a particular point along this section that is passed by all using this route yet not one person notices it - apart from our guide that is!

Styhead Gill Oasis

Oasis of shade & cool water Styhead Gill

Styhead is where several routes converge. It was a main packhorse trading route between the Wasdale and Borrowdale valleys for hundreds of years prior to the motor car. Believe it or not but there was a plan in the 1950's to build a motor road over this pass linking West Cumbria to the rest of the county! Thank goodness common sense prevailed.

Styhead in Winter

Styhead Tarn in Winter

From Styhead we make our way downhill slightly to join the Corridor route that winds it's way along the West side of Great End and Broad Crag.

Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Scafell from Great Gable

Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Scafell and Lingmell as seen from Great Gable

This route is simply superb and the finest walker's route up any mountain in the district, affording intimate views into the gaping chasm's that cut so deeply into this side of these mountains.

Forbidding and repelling at any time but a truely awesome sight in stormy conditions. Well worth exploration but on another day and with qualified guides as these chasm's require climbing skills.

Piers Gill below Lingmell

The lower reaches of Piers Gill with Lingmell above. An unwary trap for many three peakers descending form the Pike.

From here it's a rather steep and unpleasant ascent of loose rock and scree to Broad Crag col. A few hundred metres further and we're on the summit of England!

At 3,210 feet above sea level the summit of Scafell Pike is the highest land in all England and the most rugged terrain you're ever likely to encounter in Great Britain. It can sometimes be the busiest as well!

Scafell Pike summit cairn in Summer

Scafell Pike summit can be extremely busy

Weather conditions here can be extreme and can change in the blink of an eye. Navigation on 'the Pike' is notoriously difficult and it's the one hill on the National 3 peaks challenge that is guaranteed to highlight any weaknesses in the inexperienced or ill-prepared. The statistics of the Wasdale Mountain Rescue team tell their own story!

Fortunately you'll be guided by our experienced mountain leader who knows this mountain extremely well.

Scafell is next which, from the summit of Scafell Pike looks tantalisingly close. Unfortunately direct access to the summit is barred by precipitous cliffs and a considerable descent and re-ascent is necessary.

From Mickledore, the narrow ridge connecting Scafell Pike to Scafell, you're presented with what can only be described as a cathedral of rock! The sight is truly awesome and you can only marvel at the forces of nature that crafted such a place.

Mickledore Scafell Pike to Scafell route

Mickledore and Scafell

From Mickledore we descend steep loose ground to our left and hug the base of Scafell's East buttress until we arrive at the point where we start the re-ascent. This takes us up a boulder filled gorge involving a little mild scrambling until we arrive at Foxes Tarn, which is more of a puddle really! Then it's another steep climb up loose ground and to the summit.

Scramble up boulder gully to Foxes Tarn

Scrambling up the boulder filled gully to Foxes Tarn

The actual summit of Scafell is a little disappointing after what you will have seen on the journey to get here. But a couple of hundred metres or so to the North and it's a different story. You're above the deep gills that cut deeply into the vertical cliffs with jaw dropping views into them. Deep Gill Buttress rises to your left from the depths below. Scafell Pinnacle and Pisgah rise in front of you - Rock archtiecture at it's best!

It's possible to scramble onto Deep Gill Buttress and onto Pisgah for an amazing photo opportunity.

Scafell summit cairn

Scafell summit cairn a bit of an anti-climax after what you've gone through to get here!

Deep Gill Buttress Scafell Lake District

But this makes up for it! On top of Deep Gill Buttress

Pisgah Scafell Lake District

And so does this! On top of Pisgah

Pisgah & Scafell Pinnacle on Scafell in the Lake District

Pisgah & Scafell Pinnacle rising before you from the depths below

We then retrace our steps to Scafell Pike and descend to Seathwaite by either Esk Hause or the Corridor route where your transport awaits to whisk you to the start of the next stage or to your overnight accomodation.


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Helvellyn 950 metres (3,118 feet)

From Wythburn:

You'll climb (777 metres) (2,550 feet)

You'll walk about 10 km (6 miles)

From Glenridding:

You'll climb 838 metres (2,750 feet)

You'll walk about 16 km (10 miles)

Helvellyn is our third mountain. If attempting the challenge over 24 hours we start stage 2 from Wythburn church near Thirlmere and descend to Swirls for a freshen up before the next stage.

Wythburn church used to serve the hamlets of Wythburn and Armboth. Unforunately both were demolished towards the end of the 19th century to make way for the enlargement of two lakes to form Thirlmere reservoir and it's dam, to supply water to the conurbations of Manchester. The same fate befell Mardale in the Eastern Lake District.

Wythburn church

Wythburn church

Wythburn church stained glass window

The stained glass window of Wythburn church

The Wythburn route is steep from the car park but the view improves rapidly as height is gained.


View over Thirlmere from the Wythburn route

The views from Helvellyn into the Eastern coves are breathtaking. If visibility is good the view extends to the Pennines in the distance.

Looking into Grisedale Valley from start of Striding Edge

Looking into the Grisedale valley from the start of Striding Edge

Helvellyn & Red Tarn

Helvellyn East face and Red Tarn. The Tarn reputedly is the resting place of a World War 2 De Havilland Mosquito fighter bomber.

If attempting the challenge over two days you have a choice of starting points for the Helvellyn stage. The finest approach is from Glenridding via Striding Edge. This demands a head for heights but is not technically difficult, the crest of the ridge being avoidable by a path slightly lower down.

Striding Edge Helvellyn

Stridind Edge - The finest way onto Helvellyn's summit

Striding Edge

Scrambling up to Helvellyn summit from Striding Edge

Striding Edge Helvellyn in Winter

Striding Edge in Winter

If you're returning to Glenridding you can descend from the summit to Red Tarn via Swirral Edge which is shorter but equally entertaining as Striding Edge.

Descending Helvellyn via Swirral Edge

Descending Swirral Edge - equally entertaining as Striding Edge


Helvellyn summit shelter in the Lake District

Helvellyn summit shelter looking South towards Nethermost Pike

From the summit you return to either Glenridding where transport awaits to take you to your overnight accomodation or take a steep descent to Swirls where transport awaits to take you to the last part of your challenge - Skiddaw.


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Skiddaw 931 metres (3,053 feet)

You'll climb 650 metres (2,130 feet)

You'll walk 10km (6 miles)

Skiddaw is the fourth of the 'Big 4' and the last. It's the easiest of the four mountains but this is the one you really need to dig into all your reserves - both physically and pyschologically - as you have already climbed the highest 3 mountains in the District and will be feeling it!

Skiddaw from Helvellyn

Skiddaw and her satellites as seen from the Western flanks of Helvellyn

Skiddaw is a huge mass of a hill but presents no difficulties apart from steepness in the early stages. The paths are wide and well defined. Being so close to the tourist area of Keswick it attracts alot of visitors and outdoor enthusiasts. You will often see paragliders toiling up it's slopes with huge packs on their backs then soaring way above you under brightly coloured canopies. The summit ridge is about a half mile long and the views from here are well worth the toil.

We start our ascent of Skiddaw from the Gale road car park at Latrigg, saving us several hundred feet of climbing.

Very soon we pass a monument to the Hawell family who were sheperds in the area and noted breeders of prize Herdwick sheep.

The Hawell monument Skiddaw

Howell monument Skiddaw

The inscription on the base of the Hawell monument near the start of the route from Gale road car park reads:

Great shepherd of thy heavenly flock

These man have left our hill

Their feet were on the living rock

Oh guide and bless them still

Herdwick sheep

Herdwick sheep - believed to be a Viking import hundreds of years ago and now very much at home in the Lake District

The path is steep in the lower reaches but eventually the gradient eases. The main path skirts around Skiddaw Little Man and eventually you reach the summit ridge.

Approaching th esummit of Skiddaw in the Lake District

The final pull before the summit ridge

The summit ridge of Skiddaw is about a half mile long and there are spectacular views for 360 degrees. The toil to reach the summit is well worth it.

Now Celebrate! you've succeeded in climbing the four highest mountains in England!

Skiddaw summit Lake District

Celebrating climbing all 3,000 foot mountains in England


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For further information please contact us

mob: 07584 177506


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