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Top 3 challenges :

National 3 peaks challenge

National three peaks challenge. Scafell Pike summit


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Lake District 3000ers challenge. Helvellyn Striding Edge


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25 peaks challenge. Scafell Pike












Lake District challenges

The Rocky Ridge

  • What's involved
  • The Route
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This challenge is a journey from the valley of Great Langdale to the valley of Wasdale, visiting the summits of 8 mountains on the way (including THE highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike) - Pike O'Blisco, Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End, Scafell Pike and Scafell

You'll climb about 2,230 metres (7,335 feet)

You'll walk about 25 km (16 miles)

This challenge has been devised by ourselves and we are the only provider to offer it. We have named it the Rocky Ridge because almost the entire journey can be made without setting foot on grass.

The route takes you into the most rugged terrain in the country and takes you, literally, to the roof of England!

This challenge can be done in either direction but is best starting from Great Langdale and finishing in Wasdale. Doing it in this direction the terrain gets better and more exciting as you progress, culminating in the mighty Scafells!

It's a tough challenge but one of the best. For those who wish there's an option of returning to your starting point by retracing your steps as opposed to descending to the opposite valley for vehicular transport back to your start point.

mob: 07584 177506

e-mail: enquiries@bigwalks.com

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This challenge can be done in either direction but we describe it here starting in Great Langdale and finishing in Wasdale.

We commence the journey from Great Langdale and climb our first mountain Pike O'Blisco via the recently renovated Redacre Gill route.

Redacre Gill path to Pike O'Blisco

Redacre Gill path to Pike O'Blisco

There's a minor scramble (avoidable) below the summit of our first mountain.

Pike O'Blisco scramble

The scramble below the summit of Pike O'Blisco

View of Crinkle Crags from Pike O'Blisco summit

Crinkle Crags as seen from Pike O'Blisco summit

From Pike O'Blisco our next top is Cold Pike and from there we have an easy climb towards Crinkle Crags, an extremely confusing place in mist. There are 5 seperate tops on the 'Crinkles' but the second one from this direction, Long Top, is the highest and official summit.

There's an obstacle in the way as we approach the second 'Crinkle' - a 10 foot rock step known, affectionately as the 'Bad Step'! This is avoidable by a path going round to the left for those who don't fancy tackling it. It's probably the most difficult obstacle faced on any of the regular walkers routes in Lakeland.

The 'Bad Step' on Crinkle Crags

Tackling the 'Bad Step' on Crinkle Crags

From Crinkle Crags there's a magnificent view (weather permitting) of the Scafells. The view gets even better as you progress along the ridge.

The Scafells as seen from Crinkle Crags

View of the Scafells from Crinkle Crags

The next of our summits is Bowfell which we approach from Three Tarns. The summit of Bowfell is every bit as rugged as that of Scafell Pike, though much more compact. Just like the 'Pike' evidence of the violent volcanic activity that formed the region over millions of years is clearly on display everywhere you look. The area is a geologist's heaven!


Bowfell as seen from Crinkle Crags - our route approaches from the right in the picture

Looking back from Bowfell summit to Pike O'Blisco and great langdale

Looking back from Bowfell summit to Pike O'Blisco

Esk Pike is our next summit and from there we descend to Esk Hause before tackling Great End, aptly named as it descends, apparently vertically, in chaotic cliffs for over 800 feet. Needless to say we avoid these and take the more 'pedestrian' route!

Great End

Great End

Afte visiting Great End we head for Scafell Pike. At 3,210 feet above sea level the summit is the highest land in all England and the most rugged terrain you are ever likely to encounter in Great Britain. Weather conditions here can be extreme and can change in the blink of an eye. Navigation on 'the Pike' is notoriously difficult and is 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!

Scafell Pike summit cairn Lake District

Scafell Pike summit cairn in Summer

Fortunately you will be guided by our experienced mountain leaders who know this mountain extremely well.

Scafell is next which, from the summit of Scafell Pike looks tantalisingly close. Unfortunately direct access is barred by precipitous cliffs and a considerable descent and re-ascent is necessary via Foxes Tarn. This is the only safe route to the summit for groups from this direction.

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 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

From the summit of Scafell we descend directly to Wasdale Head for some well earned refreshments at the Wasdale Head hotel, following which transport awaits to take you back to your accomodation.

There is an option of returning to your starting point by retracing your steps rather than descending into Wasdale (or Langdale depending on your start point) but this adds significantly to your journey and the effort involved.

mob: 07584 177506

e-mail: enquiries@bigwalks.com

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Please contact us for details and further information