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Lake District Fells

Lake District Fells

The 25 highest fells in the Lake District National Park are:

Scafell Pike, 978 m / 3210 ft
Scafell, 965 m / 3162 ft
Helvellyn, 951 m / 3118 ft
Skiddaw, 931 m / 3054 ft
Great End, 910 m / 2986 ft
Bowfell, 902 m / 2960 ft
Great Gable, 899 m / 2949 ft
Pillar, 892 m / 2926 ft
Nethermost Pike, 891 m / 2923 ft
Catstycam, 889 m / 2917 ft
Esk Pike, 885 m / 2903 ft
Raise, 883 m / 2896 ft
Fairfield, 873 m / 2863 ft
Blencathra, 868 m / 2847 ft
Skiddaw Little Man, 865 m / 2837 ft
White Side, 863 m / 2831 ft
Crinkle Crags, 859 m / 2818 ft
Dollywaggon Pike, 858 m / 2815 ft
Great Dodd, 857 m / 2807 ft
Grasmoor, 852 m / 2795 ft
Stybarrow Dodd, 843 m / 2772 ft
St Sunday Crag, 841 m / 2759 ft
Scoat Fell, 841 m / 2759 ft
Crag Hill, 839 m / 2753 ft
High Street, 828 m / 2717 ft

The following description of the topography of the Lake District divides the region into nine areas, based partly on the seven divisions created by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.

The most northerly part is dominated by the two giants, Skiddaw (3,054 feet) and Blencathra, and their many satellites. Behind them stands the wide expanse of Back o'Skidda with Knott as its highest point. This area is separated from the rest of the Lakes by a deep moat of low ground, which contains Bassenthwaite Lake and Keswick, the largest town in the park. With the exception of Blencathra, these hills tend to be smooth, rounded and grassy. A large number of drumlins fill the park here.

North West
The North Western area stands between the valleys of Borrowdale and Buttermere, with Honister Pass joining the two dales. This area comprises the Newlands Fells (Dale Head, Robinson, Catbells) and the ridge joining them. To the north stand Grasmoor, Grisedale Pike and the hills around the valley of Coledale, and in the far north west is Thornthwaite Forest and Lord's Seat. The fells in this area are rounded Skiddaw slate, with no tarns and few rock faces.

The western part is the area between Buttermere and Wasdale, with Sty Head forming the apex of a large triangle. Ennerdale bisects the area, which consists of the High Stile ridge north of Ennerdale, the Loweswater Fells in the far north west, the Pillar group in the south west, and Great Gable (2,949 ft) near Sty Head. Other tops include Seatallan, Haystacks and Kirk Fell. This area is craggy and steep, with the impressive pinnacle of Pillar Rock its showpiece. Wastwater, located in this part, is England's deepest lake.

The central part is the lowest in terms of elevation. It takes the form of a long boot-shaped ridge running from Loughrigg Fell above Ambleside - a popular tourist destination - to Keswick, with Derwent Water on the west and Thirlmere on the east. The Langdale Pikes, with High Raise behind them, are another feature popular with walkers. The central ridge running north over High Seat is exceptionally boggy.

The eastern area consists of a long north-to-south ridge - the Helvellyn range, running from Clough Head to Seat Sandal with the 3,118-foot Helvellyn at its highest point. The western slopes of these summits tend to be grassy, with rocky corries and crags on the eastern side. The Fairfield group lies to the south of the range, and forms a similar pattern with towering rock faces and hidden valleys spilling into the Patterdale valley. It culminates in the height of Red Screes overlooking the Kirkstone Pass.

Far East
The Far Eastern Fells lie on the other side of Patterdale; steep sides leading up to a huge moorland plateau again on a north-south basis. High Street is the highest point on the ridge, overlooking the hidden valley of Mardale and Haweswater. In the south of this region are the fells overlooking Kentmere, and to the east is Shap Fell, a huge area that is more akin to the Pennines than the Lakes, consisting of high flat moorland.

The valley of Borrowdale from Grayrigg ForestThe Mid Western fells are a triangular shape, with the corners at the Irish Sea, Borrowdale and Langdale. They comprise the Wastwater Screes overlooking Wasdale, the Glaramara ridge overlooking Borrowdale, the three tops of Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Esk Pike overlooking Langdale and Scafell Pike in the centre, at 3,209 feet the highest ground in England. Scafell one mile to the south west is slightly lower but has an 700-foot rock face on its north face, Scafell Crag. The valley of Eskdale penetrates this upland wilderness. These fells are the most rugged and craggy of all, and consequently going is slower amongst the tumbled granite.

The South Western Fells have as their northern boundary the Hardknott and Wrynose Passes. These are particularly narrow and steep, with tight hairpin bends. The Furness Fells stand between Coniston and the Duddon Valley, which runs NE-SW through the centre of the area. On the other side of the Duddon is Harter Fell and the long ridge leading over Whitfell to Black Combe and the sea. The south of this region is lower forests and knolls, with Kirkby Moor on the southern boundary.

The South Eastern area is the territory between Coniston Water and Windermere and east of Windermere. There are no high summits in this group; it is mainly low hills, knolls and bumpy terrain such as Gummer's How, Whitbarrow and Top o' Selside. The wide expanse of Grizedale Forest stands between the two lakes. Kendal and Morecambe Bay mark the edge.

Scafell Pike
At 978 metres (3,208 feet), Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England. It is located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria.

It is sometimes confused with the neighbouring Sca Fell, to which it is connected by the pass of Mickledore. The name Pikes of Sca Fell was originally applied collectively to the peaks now known as Scafell Pike, Ill Crag and Broad Crag, which were considered subsidiary tops of Sca Fell (which looks higher from many angles). The contraction Scafell Pike originated as an error on an Ordnance Survey map, but is now standard.

The land was donated to the National Trust in 1920 by Lord Leconfield in memory of the men of the Lake District "who fell for God and King, for freedom, peace and right in the Great War".

Scafell Pike is one of three British mountains climbed as part of the (National) Three Peaks Challenge.

The ascent of the Pike is most often attempted from Wasdale Head at the north end of Wastwater to the west of the Pike. On summer weekends, crowds of people can be found attempting this steep but straightforward walk. An alternative ascent from Wasdale approaches up a hanging valley whose head is at Mickledore, which is itself ascended, before following the path from Sca Fell to the Pike.

A more taxing, but scenically far superior, approach begins at Seathwaite Farm at the end of Borrowdale, proceeding via Styhead Tarn, then taking the Corridor Route (formerly known as the Guides Route), a delightful walk along the western flank of the Scafell massif with intimate views of the mountain, before joining the route from Wasdale near the summit. The return journey can then be made along a high ridge, taking in any or all of the neighbouring summits of Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End, Allen Crags and Glaramara. An alternative route from Borrowdale, longer but perhaps less taxing than that via the Corridor Route, runs from Seathwaite via Grains Gill and the high pass of Esk Hause.

A further ascent may be made from Langdale. From Dungeon Ghyll, the route proceeds up alongside Rossett Gill (which perhaps has a more fearsome reputation than it deserves) and then onto Esk Hause before joining a rocky path to the summit. Energetic walkers can vary the return route by ascending Esk Pike and Bowfell from Esk Hause and then come down the Bowfell Band. The total distance is about 21 kilometres. Esk Hause is also accessible from Styhead Tarn, making another possible route from Seathwaite.

Another ascent can be made from Eskdale, the longest and most arduous way up but it has some very fine scenery. You can either go up to Esk Hause or Mickledore, the low ridge between Scafell and Scafell Pike.

Sca Fell (pronounced Scawfell or Scarfell), spelled Scafell by some writers (including Alfred Wainwright), is a mountain in the English Lake District. Its height of 963 m (3,162 feet) makes it the second highest mountain in England after Scafell Pike, from which it is separated by the pass of Mickledore.

Originally the name Sca Fell referred to the whole of the massif from Great End south to Slight Side; only more recently has the general term become applied solely to the part of the fell south of Mickledore.

It was once believed that Sca Fell was the largest mountain in this part of the Lake District — it is much more prominent in views from many directions than its higher neighbour — with the three apparently inferior peaks to the north (those now known as Scafell Pike, Ill Crag and Broad Crag) being known collectively as the "Pikes of Sca Fell".

The impressive bulk of the Scafell massif, looking east over Wast Water. From this viewpoint near the top of Middle Fell, Sca Fell (right of the distinctive notch of Mickledore) clearly looks higher than Scafell Pike (left).While now known to lack some of its neighbour's elevation, Sca Fell is still the more difficult peak to climb, especially from the precipitous northern and eastern sides. The traverse of the ridge between Scafell Pike and Sca Fell is especially difficult because steep cliffs prevent a direct walking route, entailing a considerable loss of height to get round the obstacle. The direct route up the crags, known as Broad Stand, is a dangerous and exposed scramble that has caused many accidents and injuries; it is usually treated as a rock climb, with appropriate protection.

The classic ascent via Lord's Rake path from Wastwater is now threatened by unstable rocks following a rock fall in 2001. A pleasant but lengthy alternative begins from Boot in Eskdale, following the River Esk upstream, and scrambling up to the summit by way of Foxes Tarn. A gentler return can be made across moorland, by way of the Burnmoor Tarn.

Scafell Crag, the massive north buttress of Sca Fell, is one of England's largest cliffs and has many famous rock climbs.

Helvellyn, at 950 metres (3,117 feet) above sea-level, is the third highest peak in England.

The peak is the highest on the north-south ridge situated between the Thirlmere valley to the west, and Patterdale to the east. This ridge continues north over Helvellyn Lower Man, White Side, Raise, Stybarrow Dodd and Great Dodd, and south leads to Dollywaggon Pike and Seat Sandal.

The hill has a subsidiary summit, Helvellyn Lower Man, about a third of a mile to the north west. It has better views to the northwest and a nicer summit.

The eastern side of the fell is geographically the most dramatic. Two sharp spurs lead off the summit, Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, either side of Red Tarn. The knife-edge Striding Edge provides one of the best-known scrambles in lakeland, while the Swirral Edge ridge leads to the conical summit of Catstye Cam.

Striding EdgeThe western slopes are relatively shallow, and partially forested, with many gills leading down to the Thirlmere valley.

The somewhat flat summit made the first British mountain-top landing of a plane possible, when John Leeming and Bert Hinkler successfully landed and took off again, in 1926.

Skiddaw is a mountain in the Lake District National Park in the United Kingdom. With a summit at 921 m (3,054 feet) above sea level it is the fourth highest mountain in England, and the lowest above 3000 feet. It lies just north of the town of Keswick. It is the simplest of the Lake District mountains of this height to walk up (as there is a "tourist track" from a car park to the north-east of Keswick, near the summit of Latrigg) and as such many walking guides recommend it to the occasional walker wishing to climb a mountain.

The mountain lends its name to the surrounding areas of "Skiddaw Forest", and "Back o' Skidda'" and to the isolated "Skiddaw House", situated to the east, formerly a shooting lodge and subsequently a youth hostel. It also provides the name for the slate derived from that region: Skiddaw Slate.

Skiddaw has a subsidiary summit, Little Man, which lies about 1.5 km south-south-west of the main peak. Little Man is about 100 m above the main tourist track route to Skiddaw proper, and may easily be climbed as slight diversion from the route.

Great End
Great End is the most northerly mountain in the Scafell chain, in the English Lake District. From the south it is simply a lump continuing this chain. From the north, however, it is appears as an immense mountain, with an imposing north face rising above Sprinkling Tarn. This is a popular location for wild camping, and the north face attracts many climbers.

Great End may easily be climbed from the main path between Esk Hause and Scafell Pike, requiring only a detour of some 400 m.

Bowfell (named Bow Fell on Ordnance Survey maps) is a pyramid-shaped mountain lying at the very heart of the English Lake District, in the Southern Fells area. It is the sixth highest mountain in the lakes and one of the most popular of the Lakeland fells, and there are many different routes to the summit.

Most people climb this mountain by a path called The Band which cuts a direct westward path up to the summit from the Langdale valley, rising between the two side-valleys of Langdale, Oxendale and Mickleden. Other popular paths include the mountain-top paths, from neighbouring Esk Pike to the north, or from Crinkle Crags in the south. It is also possible to approach the mountain from Eskdale, or from Borrowdale by way of the Langstrath valley and Angle Tarn - a long walk.

The flanks of Bowfell include the Bowfell Links, nine vertical gullies in the side of the mountain. A climb up these is neither pleasurable nor safe as they are extremely active loose rock channels. However, good climbing can be found on Cambridge Crag and Bowfell Buttress.

The Climber's Traverse provides an excellent high-level walking route to the summit from the highest point of The Band. This largely horizontal path contours around many of Bowfell's most dramatic crags. It finally reaches the summit structure via a rocky route known as the River of Boulders, running parallel to a rock formation known as the Great Slab.

The panorama is excellent; every major group of fells in Lakeland is seen well from this superb vantage point. The Helvellyn range is seen end-to-end and the Langdale Pikes can be seen across Langdale, but the piece of the view is Scafell Pike towering above Eskdale.

Great Gable Great Gable is a pyramid-shaped hill lying at the very heart of the English Lake District. It is one of the most popular of the Lakeland fells, and there are many different routes to the summit. Great Gable is linked by the high pass of Windy Gap to its smaller sister hill, Green Gable, and by the lower pass of Beck Head to its western neighbour, Kirk Fell.

Routes to climb to the summit start from all of the main dales that radiate out from central Lakeland. There are multiple routes from Wasdale to the southwest, Ennerdale to the northwest, Borrowdale to the northeast and Langdale a little further to the east. The most popular routes converge at Sty Head Pass and ascend the southeast shoulder of Gable. The hill does not possess any obvious ridgelines, save for the high link to Green Gable. All routes are steep and somewhat loose underfoot.

The summit of Great Gable is strewn with boulders. Due to its central position within the Lake District the summit has some of the best panoramic views of any peak in the area. There is a plaque commemorating those who died in the First World War; an annual memorial service is held here on Remembrance Sunday.

Pillar is a fell in the Western part of the English Lake District. It is situated between the valleys of Ennerdale to the north and Wasdale to the south, and is the highest point of the Pillar group (some dozen fells clustered round it). At 2,926 feet it is the eighth highest mountain in the Lake District and one of the most difficult to climb.

The fell is usually climbed either directly from Wasdale Head or as part of the Mosedale Horseshoe, a circuit of Mosedsle, a side-valley of Wasdale. The ascent from Ennerdale is steep but has the advantage of Pillar Rock. By far the best way to the top is by the High Level Route, a traverse in and out of Pillar's northern crags with a thrilling revelation of Pillar Rock at Robinson's Cairn.

Most visitors to the Lakes tend to stay in the Central or Eastern part of the Distict and, for them, a drive to Wasdale Head or Ennerdale (and back) adds considerable time to the outing. Strong walkers may wish to consider climbing Pillar from Buttermere. Note the emphasis on strong. The route climbs from the southern tip of Buttermere Lake to Scarth Gap at 1,470 feet. However, you then have to descend into Ennerdale, passing the Black Sail Youth Hostel, before joining the High Level Route mentioned above. This descent is some 550 feet and, if it is necessary to return to Buttermere, that height has to be regained at the end of the day. The compensation is that the whole route is splendid, abounding in interest throughout.

On the northern slope lies Pillar Rock, a large rocky outcrop surrounded by cliffs which is popular with rock climbers.

Nethermost Pike
Nethermost Pike by Wainwright's definition it is the ninth highest mountain in the Lake District. It lies one kilometre south of its bigger and more famous neighbour Helvellyn, and is usually climbed along with it. It stands midway between Helvellyn and Dollywaggon Pike on the long ridge running south.

The western slopes going down to Thirlmere which are crossed by the Wythburn path to Helvellyn, are steep, grassy and uninteresting, but on the east side is a wilderness of steep crags, combes and streams falling into Grisedale. Nethermost Pike also has its own, admittedly small, tarn: Hard Tarn, which lies in Ruthwaite Cove. For scramblers it is Nethermost Pike's east ridge which holds most appeal.

Catstye Cam
Catstye Cam (also sometimes spelled Catstycam) is an outlier to the Helvellyn chain of mountains in the English Lake District.

Taking on the classic mountain shape of a pyramid, its summit is only a couple of hundred metres from one of the most heavily used and breathtaking walks in the country; the round of Helvellyn via Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. Despite the popularity of this walk Catstye Cam is often almost completely deserted.

The most obvious route up Catstye Cam is to combine the hill with the circuit of Helvellyn described above. After negotiating Swirral Edge continue up towards the summit, instead of simply dropping down to the south of the ridge to Red Tarn. The summit of Catstye Cam provides one of the best possible views of the two famous "edges" of Helvellyn .

One alternative route, that is often used as a descent when combined with full circuit, is via steep north ridge, over an old dam and down the Glenridding valley.

Esk Pike
Esk Pike, by some listings the eleventh highest mountain in the English Lake District, is a close neighbour of the higher Bowfell, and is often climbed with it. It stands at the head of the Eskdale valley, and can be climbed from Eskdale, Wasdale, Langdale or Borrowdale.

Nearby is the hause of Esk Hause, which connects the Scafell, Bowfell and Glaramara groups and the four valleys mentioned above.

At 883 m (2897 ft), Raise is the 12th highest mountain in the Lake District, according to Wainwright's list. It stands on the long chain of hills going known as the Helvellyn range; the summit of Helvellyn itself lies about 2.5 km to south.

Raise is separated from the next peak to the north, Stybarrow Dodd, by Sticks Pass, which provides a possible route to the summit. There is a ski tow on the northeastern slopes above Sticks Pass.

The southeastern side of Raise has steep slopes of scree overlooking Keppel Cove, a corrie at the head of the Glenridding Beck. There are the reamins of a disused dam in Keppel Cover. A bridleway leads from the floor of Keppel Cove, to the col south of Raise, in a series of zig-zags; this track splits from Sticks Pass above Glenridding Youth Hostel.

Nearby hills include Helvellyn, Great Dodd, Stybarrow Dodd and White Side.

Fairfield, at 873 m (2,863 ft), is the 13th highest mountain in the Lake District, according to Wainwright's list.

It is most commonly ascended by a popular walk, the Fairfield Horseshoe, which starts in Ambleside and makes a circuit of the valley of Rydale to the south. This route takes in the neighbouring fells of Hart Crag, Dove Crag and Great Rigg.

An alternative route comes from Deepdale to the northeast, over St Sunday Crag. This gives a full view of the impressive northern crags of Fairfield, which contrast starkly with the grassy south slopes seen from the Fairfield Horseshoe. Fairfield may also be cimbed from the west, via Grisedale Tarn at the head of Grisdedale. From this direction a link to the hills of Helvellyn range is possible.

The view is impressive, but the top is very flat and there are many cairns; it is easy to get lost in mist. The cautious walker should beware of the presence of precipices.

The fell lies on the Threlkeld - Kirkstone Walk, which continues over Fairfield summit to Dove Crag and Red Screes.

Blencathra is one of the most northerly mountains in the Lake District, United Kingdom. It has six separate fell tops, of which the highest is the 868 metres (2,848 feet) Hallsfell Top.

For many years the Ordnance Survey listed Blencathra under the alternative name of Saddleback, which was coined in reference to the shape of the mountain when seen from the south. The fell-walker Alfred Wainwright popularised the use of the older, Cumbric, name, and this is now generally accepted as the true title. The Ordnance Survey now marks the summit as being titled "Saddleback or Blencathra". It is likely that the name Blencathra is derived from the Cumbric elements blaen (a bare hill top) and cathrach (a chair). This would give a meaning of "the bare hill top shaped like a chair", which perfectly describes the topography of the hill.

Blencathra is a popular mountain, and there are many different routes to the summit. One of the most famous is via Sharp Edge on the eastern side of the mountain. Sharp Edge provides some good scrambling for those with a head for heights. Hall's Fell ridge, on Blencathra’s southern flank also provides an opportunity for some scrambling, though of a less serious nature.

Also on the eastern side of the mountain is a spectacular glacial lake, Scales Tarn, lying between Scales Fell to the south and Sharp Edge to the north.

Crinkle Crags
At 859 m Crinkle Crags is the 19th highest mountain in England (on the Hewitt criteria of having at least 30 metres of prominence). Crinkle Crags is part of the ring of mountains that surround the valley of Great Langdale. The name reflects the fell's physical appearance as its summit ridge is a series of five rises and depressions (crinkles) that are very distinctive from the valley floor. In Old English, cringol means twisted or wrinkled.

In his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Alfred Wainwright describes Crinkle Crags as Much too good to be missed … this is a climb deserving of high priority.

There are a variety of routes directly to the summit: most people climb the fell from Great Langdale and usually together with all or some of the adjoining fells of Bowfell, Pike of Blisco, Rossett Pike and Cold Pike to make a high level ridge walk which encompasses the whole of the high ground at the head of Great Langdale. The ascent from Eskdale is very good, but that is at least a 15 kilometre round trip (depending on where in Eskdale one starts), and many people will think that this too far to "bag" just one fell. The shortest and quickest route requires the use of a car to the top of the Wrynose Pass motor road; this allows the walker to "cheat" and save three hundred metres of climbing, making it possible to climb to the summit of the Crinkles in a round trip of less than three hours.

The traverse of the summit ridge with its series of undulations is an exhilarating experience for the fell walker; the ridge includes the so called "Bad Step" which is a steep declivity which catches out many walkers when travelling from north to south; however, the obstacle can be by-passed without too much trouble. The view from the summit is superb: there are magnificent airy views of Great Langdale, Eskdale and Dunnerdale, with the estuaries of the rivers Duddon and Esk well seen as they enter the Irish Sea. There is a very good view of England's highest mountain Scafell Pike which lies just four kilometres away to the north west.

Grasmoor is the highest peak in a group of hills between the villages of Lorton, Braithwaite and Buttermere, and overlooks Crummock Water.

Grasmoor is distinguished by its steep western flank, dropping dramatically to Crummock Water. This face is however not suitable for rock climbers as there is little clean rock, although Alfred Wainwright does describe a rather challenging route up the face in his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. To the east the fell is linked to others by Coledale Hause.

Grasmoor is often climbed from Coledale Hause and this is the simplest way up the mountain. Other popular ascents are from Rannerdale via the Lads How ridge, and from Buttermere via Whiteless Pike.

Grasmoor takes its name from grise, meaning wild boar.

High Street
High Street is a fell in the English Lake District. At 828 metres (2,718 ft), its summit is the highest point in the far eastern part of the national park. The fell is named after the Roman road which ran over the summit on its journey between the forts of Brocavum near Penrith and Galava at Ambleside. Situated in one of the quieter areas of the Lakes, the High Street range has quite gentle slopes with a flat summit plateau and it was these characteristics which persuaded the Roman surveyors to build their road over the fell tops rather than through the valleys which at the time were densely forested and marshy thus making them susceptible to ambushes.

The fell's flat summit was also used as a venue for summer fairs by the local population in the 18th and 19th centuries. People from the surrounding valleys would gather every year on 12 July to return stray sheep to their owners; games and wrestling would also take place as well as horse racing. The summit of High Street is still known as Racecourse Hill and is so named on maps, and fell ponies can still be found grazing occasionally on the summit. The last of the these summer fairs was held in 1835. The River Kent, which flows south through the town of Kendal before emptying into Morecambe Bay has its source on High Street's southern slopes. Dropping 1000 feet (300 m) in 25 miles (40 km), the Kent is reputed to be the fastest flowing river in England.

High Street's eastern side is craggy and precipitous as it falls away towards Haweswater Reservoir. There are two tarns underneath the eastern crags – Blea Water and Small Water; Blea Water stands in a classic mountain corrie and is the deepest tarn in the Lake District. It is from this eastern side that the best ascents of the fell can be undertaken. The climb from Mardale is an exhilarating ridge walk with spectacular views down into Riggindale which may be supplemented by the sight of a Golden Eagle – Riggindale has the only nesting pair of these birds in England. High Street can also be climbed from Patterdale, Kentmere and Troutbeck: these are less interesting routes, although the walk from Troutbeck does follow the line of the Roman road. The full south to north traverse of the High Street ridge from Ings near Windermere to the Eamont valley at the northern end of Ullswater is a tough 30 kilometre hike over twelve summits, and should only be undertaken by experienced walkers.

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