One of the best scrambles within the Lake District are charged with journey, absorb dramatic craggy vistas and finish in a conventional English pub. Listed below are our favorite Lake District scrambles with towering rewards.
The Lake District is an historical marvel.
Fashioned from volcanic exercise, glacial shifts and sea sediment, the realm is wealthy in slate, limestone and sandstone. This melting pot of minerals has created a particular and scenic aesthetic. Glacial ribbon lakes meet rugged fell mountains beside easy U-shaped valleys topped with steep, sharp ridges. The perfect terrain for adventurous scrambling.
Whereas Seven Sisters on the southern coast might have the long-lasting Instagram cliffs, the Lake District is house to England’s highest mountains and deepest lakes. The realm can also be crisscrossed with lots of of fascinating trails. These vary from fast simple walks, to thrilling climbs and tough scrambles requiring ropes, helmets and nerves of metal.
For us, the perfect scrambles within the Lake District include a little bit of journey. Ones that contain ascending probably the most dramatic and craggy mountains (such because the beautiful Blencathra hike), traversing slim ridges, or clambering up steep gullies.
Nevertheless, we’re hikers (not climbers), so no particular gear is required for any of those Lake District scrambles. All we suggest is footwear with good grip, a head for heights and a willingness to get your palms soiled.
If you happen to deal with all these, you’ll have explored 4 totally different valleys, climbed the three highest mountains in England and skilled the perfect the Lake District has to supply. Additionally, you will have the choice to chill off in beautiful wild swimming areas and luxuriate in a pint in conventional Lakeland pubs.
WHAT IS SCRAMBLING?
The time period ‘scrambling’ covers the fuzzy space between mountain climbing and climbing and has varied totally different ranges based mostly on problem.
All of the walks & scrambles on this article are Grade 1 scrambles or simpler. We have now supplied our evaluation as to how troublesome every stroll is, and we’ve indicated which of them are finest for newbie scramblers.
GRADE 1 SCRAMBLE
A grade 1 scramble requires the usage of each palms and ft, typically on an uncovered ridge or steep part of rock. Nevertheless, ropes or protecting gear are normally not required. There’s typically a neater method round enabling you to keep away from the tougher obstacles.
GRADE 2 SCRAMBLE
A grade 2 scramble is more difficult, typically requiring ropes for confidence and a helmet for security. Ability and expertise is required to determine the perfect route.
GRADE 3 & 4 SCRAMBLES
Each grade 3 and 4 scrambles are troublesome, and the usage of ropes can be anticipated for a number of sections. Mountain climbing and common mountaineering expertise might be required.
BEST GRADE 1 SCRAMBLES IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
HELVELLYN VIA STRIDING EDGE AND SWIRRAL EDGE
A surprising stroll and a great first scramble on an uncovered ridge
BLENCATHRA VIA SHARP EDGE AND HALLS FELL
Round scrambling route over two wonderful ridges
PAVEY ARK VIA JACK’S RAKE AND EASY GULLY
Difficult grade 1 scramble throughout the face of a cliff
ILL CRAG & SCAFELL PIKE VIA COCKLY PIKE RIDGE
Lengthy however wonderful stroll up the 2 highest peaks within the lakes
1 – HELVELLYN VIA STRIDING EDGE AND SWIRRAL EDGE
An distinctive hike, good in your first Lake District scramble on an uncovered ridge
Mountain climbing up Helvellyn is a well-liked exercise within the Lake District for good motive: the thrilling ascent up Striding Edge. This slim uncovered ridge is ideal for newbies as one of many best Grade 1 scrambles within the Lake District. You’ll want a head for heights however with a number of paths to select from you possibly can keep away from any tough sections that may trouble you. If you happen to do go excessive of the ridge, there’s a tough steep drop on the finish (the Chimney) which requires some focus.
From the summit of the third highest peak within the Lake District, the views over crinkling ridges and mountains all the way down to shimmering tarns and Ullswater are distinctive. It’s one of many most interesting picture spots within the Lake District.
The descent by way of Swirral Edge – a wider but nonetheless enjoyable ridge to barter – is a ravishing stroll with wonderful views throughout to Striding Edge many of the method down.
In case you are new to scrambling, Helvellyn is a wonderful place to start out.
READ NEXT – WHERE TO STAY IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
This route will be accomplished as both a stroll or a scramble and is a wonderful place to start out a scrambling profession. Excessive it’s possible you’ll want to make use of your palms however even on the ridge, the path is in good situation. It does, nevertheless, require a head for heights. The above video provides you an concept of the problem.
From Glenridding head up Mires Beck, then to the Gap-in-the-Wall earlier than clambering over the ridge tops of Striding Edge (or utilizing the trail just under them) to the summit. Descend by way of Swirral Edge to Pink Tarn and comply with Pink Tarn Beck and Glenridding Beck into Glenridding.
START – Glenridding in Patterdale | DISTANCE – 14 kilometres | TIME – 5 hours, quarter-hour | ELEVATION – +/- 840 metres | MAP – The English Lakes: North Japanese Space OL5
2 – BLENCATHRA VIA SHARP EDGE AND HALLS FELL
An excellent round stroll together with a nerve-testing scramble over a slim ridge
Blencathra sits on their own within the northeast of the Lakes. At first impression, it seems little greater than a big hill. However appears will be misleading and ascending this unobtrusive mountain homes top-of-the-line scrambles within the Lake District. The reason being two wonderful ridges.
The primary is Halls Fell Ridge, a rocky ascent straight up the aspect of Blencathra. That is one other wonderful route for anybody new to scrambling. The ridge isn’t too slim – generously a few meters throughout in most locations. You’ll want your palms for help, however in case you’re good with heights, you possibly can largely simply stride throughout the highest of the ridge.
The second is Sharp Edge. The toughest and most difficult Grade 1 ridge within the Lake District. As well-known Lakeland author Alfred Wainwright wrote, ‘Sharp Edge is a rising crest of bare rock, of sensational and spectacular look, a breaking wave carved in stone.’
It’s essential be snug with heights to deal with Sharp Edge. There’s a ‘dangerous step’ the place you need to shuffle off a slab of rock onto a slim ledge and precipitous sections alongside the way in which, so you must have some scrambling expertise behind you. This Lake District hike shouldn’t be tried in moist or windy circumstances, nevertheless, on a sunny day, it’s an actual coronary heart starter.
Your reward is a beer ready on the White Horse Inn in Scales. All the main points on this nice hike are in our article on climbing Blencathra by way of Sharp Edge.
Halls Fell Ridge is a wonderful ascent for newbie scramblers. Nevertheless, Sharp Edge shouldn’t be tried till you have got constructed up some expertise on different ridges. Watch the above video for a clearer concept of the problem.
Relying on whether or not you’re up for the problem of Sharp Edge will decide the route you’re taking to climb the summit of Blencathra. Both method, it’s a unbelievable expertise within the Lake District. All the main points shall be supplied in a separate article out quickly.
START – Scales Farm between Keswick and Penrith | DISTANCE – 8.5 kilometres | TIME – 4 hours, quarter-hour | ELEVATION – +/- 730 metres | MAP – The English Lakes: North Japanese Space OL5
3 – PAVEY ARK VIA JACK’S RAKE AND EASY GULLY
A tough Lake District scramble up a slim groove and again down a scree-filled gully
The Langdales Pikes are a dramatic assortment of spiky pikes rising into the air. Nestled amongst them is Pavey Ark, the most important cliff within the Lake District. Dealing with the craggy façade it seems there isn’t any method up. However there may be: Jack’s Rake.
Jack’s Rake is a groove that cuts diagonally throughout the wall of rock. At first it’s possible you’ll really feel solely climbers might make their method up right here. However this little groove, which runs up a chimney stack of rock, turns into your ally as you pull your self alongside. A number of handholds are required, and it’s essential contort your physique into odd positions, however offering you ignore the temptation to come back out of the groove, there may be rock on both aspect of you. This makes this Grade 1 scramble surprisingly unexposed and top-of-the-line adventurous issues to do within the Lake District.
The chimney stack ends at a slim unprotected ledge (nerve-wracking in case you don’t like heights), earlier than coming into a sequence of blocks and grooves linked by ledges which ascend to the summit of Pavey Ark.
There’s loads of methods down however probably the most adventurous is by way of Simple Gully. It’s a scree stuffed mess with a big assortment of boulders close to the highest with one notably awkward clamber. As soon as you come back, reward your self with a pint on the Nationwide Belief Sticklebarn at New Dungeon Ghyll. You’ll have deserved it.
JACK’S RAKE DIFFICULTY
This can be a difficult scramble primarily as a result of the groove will be moist, even in summer season, making rocks and handholds slippery. The ledge after the groove is uncovered however just for a brief distance. Don’t go on moist days and construct up another scrambling expertise first. On a private be aware, I discover the uncovered ridge of Sharp Edge, whereas technically simpler, extra nerve-racking than Jack’s Rake. However everyone seems to be totally different.
JACK’S RAKE ROUTE
From New Dungeon Ghyll Resort take the trail alongside Sickly Ghyll to Stickle Tarn. Stroll midway across the lake and ascend the scree on the far aspect. Simply earlier than coming into a big gully, look left and find the groove that’s Jack’s Rake, which is able to lead you to the summit. Descend by way of Simple Gully after which circumnavigate the tarn once more, earlier than heading beneath craggy Harrison Stickle and over Pike Howe again to the resort.
START – New Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale | DISTANCE – 5.5 kilometres | TIME – 3 hours, half-hour | ELEVATION – +/- 620 metres | MAP – The English Lakes: South Western Space OL6
4 – ILL CRAG & SCAFELL PIKE VIA COCKLY PIKE RIDGE
Lengthy however nice day strolling, scrambling and swimming in wild Eskdale
This can be a monster of a day trip and comes with a number of choices. It will probably merely be an extended hike alongside the mightiest crags within the Lake District, or it may be a difficult scrambling journey. Both method, it’s price coming to the distant valley of Eskdale. It’s a wild and empty place, with huge ghylls, rocky lagoon swimming pools, wonderful mountain climbing choices and limitless large vistas.
Probably the most enjoyable method up Scafell Pike is a scramble up Cockly Pike Ridge on the southern face of Ailing Crag (keep away from the far more troublesome Grade 3 scramble on the south-east slope). It’s a sea of boulder and rock. Sadly, the path is neither clear nor apparent, so that you’ll want some pathfinding expertise. However that’s all a part of the enjoyable.
The descent from Scafell Pike has adventurous choices as nicely. Head all the way down to the highest of Mickledore with views of mighty Broad Stand, an enormous 30 metre slab of rock. You can now drop again into Eskdale, however when you’ve got the power take a fast detour up Scafell by way of Foxes Tarn. It’s an awesome clamber up a steep slope and brings you to the highest of the second highest mountain within the Lake District.
Lastly finish the day soaking within the Esk River. There are numerous lagoon pots and bigger swimming pools for an extended swim.
COCKLY PIKE RIDGE DIFFICULTY
The scramble isn’t technically difficult however discovering the trail will be troublesome. Additionally, bear in mind the stroll in from Eskdale is lengthy.
COCKLY PIKE RIDGE
Start at Brotherinkeld and comply with the Esk River as much as the Nice Moss. Discover a place to cross this boggy morass then head northeast beneath the flanks of Scafell Pike and over Little Narrowcove beck. Use this submit to search out the route up Ailing Crag (or on a cloudy day when pathfinding is difficult take the plain and simple path up the left aspect of Little Narrowcove as an alternative). On the high flip left to ascend Scafell Pike. To descend head to the highest of Mickledore, flip left handed Broad Stand and descend again into Eskdale. For the optionally available detour up Scafell by way of Foxes Tarn and again, add about 1 kilometre, 200 metres of ascent and descent and simply over an hour.
START – Brotherinkeld in Eskdale | DISTANCE – 17.5 kilometres | TIME – 8 hours | ELEVATION – +/- 1200 metres | MAP – The English Lakes: South Western Space OL6
TIPS FOR SCRAMBLING IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
1 – Remember that, in contrast to most hillwalking, scrambling comes with a little bit of threat. Take your time, watch out and in case you are not sure, don’t go.
2 – No particular gear is required for grade 1 scrambles however be sure to put on strolling boots or footwear with good grip.
3 – Many scrambles are uncovered, and require head for heights.
4 – Construct up your expertise by trying simpler scrambles first. Halls Fell Ridge is a wonderful place to start out as is Striding Edge. Solely transfer onto Jack’s Rake and Sharp Edge after you have got had some observe, really feel snug with heights and received used to forming stable foot and handholds.
5 – In case you are not notably skilled don’t try rocky uncovered scrambles in moist or windy circumstances. Clouds additionally carry appreciable moisture, so goal for sunny clear day.
6 – Take map and a information e book. Many of those scrambles are lined in Brian Evans’ e book: Scrambles within the Lake District. There’s a northern version and a southern one.
MORE READING FOR THE LAKE DISTRICT
We’ve been to the Lake District many occasions, and by no means run out of unbelievable issues to do. From adventurous scrambles to enjoyable wild swimming, listed here are extra of our guides from the lakes.
LAKE DISTRICT WALKS
15 BEST LAKE DISTRICT WALKS FROM EASY STROLLS TO CHALLENGING WAINWRIGHTS
CONQUER KNIFE-EDGE RIDGES ON THIS EXHILARATING WALK UP BLENCATHRA
WALK SCAFELL PIKE VIA THE CORRIDOR ROUTE FOR A TOP LAKE DISTRICT HIKE
MOST BEAUTIFUL LAKE DISTRICT VIEWS AND PHOTOGRAPHY SPOTS
EXPLORE THE REMOTE AND RUGGED LAKE DISTRICT AT THE LANGDALE PIKES
OUR FAVOURITE LAKELAND ACTIVITIES – BEST THINGS TO DO IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
BEST REMOTE SPOTS FOR A PEACEFUL WILD SWIM IN THE LAKE DISTRICT