Chris looks out over the valley, camera in hand
The misty peak looms over the lower lands and tarns
walking the lower hills on the ascent.
Dramatic rocky face of Scafell Pike on the ascent

The morning began by getting up for sunrise and heading to the shores of Derwentwater, a popular lake south of the village of Keswick. Parking at the lakeside car park, we made the short 1km walk to Friars Crag, a well-known viewpoint which has unrivalled views over the lake down towards the Jaws of Borrowdale. 

Upon arrival, myself and my good friend Luke were both left awestruck by the surreal but incredible conditions which we had stumbled upon. We were greeted by a low band of fog which enveloped the lake. The tranquil sound of nature echoing around the lake combined with the surreal conditions created an otherworldly atmosphere which I had never experienced before.

The lack of wind meant that there were unbelievable reflections across the lake’s surface and everywhere we looked was a photo opportunity worthy of a laptop screensaver. Although we did not catch the sunrise colours we were hoping for, the photos we managed to capture, along with the experience we had, will live long in the memory.

Reflections of the island property at Derwentwater with mist over the still lake.

Ethereal mists clearing over Derwentwater

The short lakeside walk to Friars Crag is a must-do if you are in the area. It is also a fantastic location for stargazing and astrophotography. As it is an accessible walk, situated in a very popular location, I would again recommend heading here for sunrise or sunset to avoid the crowds. 

From Friars Crag, we made the short drive around the shores of Derwentwater to begin our ascent of Scafell Pike. 

There are numerous routes to the summit of England’s highest mountain with the shortest being the ascent from Wasdale Head. However, I would not recommend ascending this route, as not only is the path uninspiring, but reaching the start point is a serious task with the car park an hour’s drive from both Keswick and Ambleside.

Instead, I would recommend parking just outside the village of Seathwaite and approaching the mountain from the north east via the impressive Corridor Route. Not only is the route far more interesting, but you will also pass the imposing Taylor Gill Force, which is one of the highest waterfalls in the Lakes. 

Ample free parking is available in Seathwaite on the roadside just before the farm. Once again, arrive early to secure a spot as it does get very busy on weekends, especially in the summer. If there are no free spaces available, the farm offers all-day parking for £5.

The Corridor Route does have a few technical sections, including a short rocky scramble and a steep final ascent to the summit via some unstable scree-like surfaces. If you did fancy a slightly easier route to the summit, then you are able to skip the Corridor Route and loop around Sprinkling Tarn and Great End. We ended up taking this route as we accidentally missed the turning for the Corridor Route.

The views from the summit were simply stunning and certainly made up for the lengthy 3-hour ascent. We then descended via the Corridor Route and stopped off for a wild swim on the way back down.

Chris nearing the summit of Scafell Pike, clouds cover hills in the background.

Approaching the peak on a beautiful clear day

Be warned that this is a serious hike which should not be underestimated. Remember to check the week’s forecast and look to tackle this mountain on a clear, dry day making sure you have appropriate footwear, warm and waterproof clothing alongside plenty of water.

In total, the 11-mile route involved just under 1,000m of ascent and took us around 6 hours to complete. A 3D interactive map can be found here:

For those who still have some energy remaining and are after a sunset location, I would recommend heading up to Latrigg Fell. Despite it being one of the lowest fells in the Lake District at 368m, it has some grand views of Keswick, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells.

Latrigg also happens to be one of the most easily accessible fells in the Lake District. Parking is available behind the summit at Underskiddaw. From here it is a gentle 1km walk to the viewpoint via a wheelchair-accessible path.

Brooding hill range over the lake at Buttermere
Read Day 4: Buttermere

Read day 4 where I travel to beautiful Buttermere and take in the drama of the mighty Moss Force and Scale Force waterfalls.