Fell Guide: Esk Pike


Esk Pike from Calf CoveThe top end of Eskdale is perhaps the wildest area in the entire Lake District, with the head of the valley surrounded by Scafell, Scafell Pike, Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags. In this impressive company it perhaps isn't surprising that Esk Pike tends to be overlooked, but at 2,903ft it is one of the highest fells in the district, with a nice rocky summit, impressive views of Eskdale and the Scafell range and Langstrath and with the added benefit of being one of the few quiet summits in this area.

Esk Pike from Esk HauseIt must be said Esk Pike doesn't really show up that well in the view from Eskdale. From most parts of the valley the pyramid of Bow Fell dominates, and even in the upper reaches of the valley the fell doesn't really stand out. Here the problem is the interesting craggy ridge of Pike de Bield, which runs south from the summit and rather hides the top of the fell. Esk Pike is probably most impressive when seen from the top end of Langstrath and its northern crags do impress when seen from the path that heads from Great Langdale to Esk Hause via Angle Tarn.


Grid Reference of Summit: NY 236 075
Height: 2,903ft/ 885m


Routes of Ascent

Esk Pike can be climbed from Esk Hause using a good path that runs south-east up its rocky north-western ridge. This means that it can be accessed from Wasdale, Eskdale, Borrowdale or Great Langdale.

Esk Pike can also be reached from Ore Gap - this can be reached along a path from Eskdale via Lingcove, from the top of Bow Fell, or from a path that starts at Angle Tarn and takes advantage of a gap in the crags.

In addition almost the entire south ridge between the River Esk and Lingcove Beck is walkable, with some vague paths. Be aware of the crags on the eastern side of this ridge if descending in fog, and head south for about half a mile to get past the steepest parts of the western slopes.


We have a walk that visits Esk Pike and Bow Fell from the top of Eskdale, a lovely if rather lengthy circuit.

The Summit

Bowfell from Esk Pike showing part of Esk Pike's summitThe top of Esk Pike is a rocky ridge that runs roughly north-south, with the highest point at the southern end. The eastern and western slopes of this ridge are steep and craggy, but the southern slope is more gentle and the northern ridge is an easy walk.

Streams and Tarns

The northern boundary of the fell is formed Allencrags Gill, which is born in the area below the northern crags of Esk Pike and the eastern crags of Allen Crags and Angletarn Gill which flows out of the tarn of the same name. Tongue Head, between the two streams, thus belongs to Esk Pike.

To the west the boundary is formed by the upper reaches of the River Esk itself, which is born near the true Esk Hause and flows south from there. Esk Pike can lay claim to the long finger of land that runs south to the junction between Lingcove Beck and the Esk. Lingcove Beck forms the south-east border of the fell, while the eastern border, with Bow Fell, is formed by Yeastyrigg Gill, which flows south to join Lingcove Beck.

Esk Pike has a smattering of tiny tarns along the sizable southern ridge. It can also claim a half share in Angle Tarn - although the tarn appears to sit below the northern crags of Bow Fell some of these crags belong to Esk Pike, with the dividing line formed by a small beck that runs north from Ore Gap into Angle Tarn.

Other Features

Esk Hause from Eskdale with Esk Pike to rightEsk Pike sits to the east of Esk Hause, possibly the best known walker's pass in the area, and yet visited by a surprising small number of walks. The busy paths up Scafell Pike now make for a point a 300ft to the west of the top of Esk Hause, so it is possible to sit at the top of the pass all alone while dozens of walkers scurry past a little way to the west.

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