What is England’s Highest Mountain?

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

The highest mountain in England is called Scafell Pike.  Found at 978 meters (3,209 feet) above sea level, Scafell Pike is located in Lake District National Park in Cumbria.  The name “Scafell” is believed to have Old Norse origins, meaning “bald mountain or summit”

The Scafell Pike is comprised of igneous rock.  The shattered rock debris, thought to be from weathering such as frost action, that covers the plateau makes Scafell Pike the highest altitude example of a summit boulder field in England.

Scafell Pike also lays claim to the highest standing water in England.  Broad Crag Tarn is found  820 m (2,700 ft), a quarter of a mile south of the summit.  

View of the Scafell range in the English Lake District, looking west from Crinkle Crags. Original photograph taken by Mick Knapton
View of the Scafell range in the English Lake District, looking west from Crinkle Crags. Original photograph taken by Mick Knapton, MediaWiki Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Three Tall mountains in England

After Scafell Pike, the other two mountains in the list of the top three tallest mountains in England are:

Scafell

Not to be confused with Scafell Pike, Scafell is the second highest natural point in England, reaching 964 meters (3,163 feet). Also located in the Lake District, Scafell is separated from Scafell Peak by a narrow ridge known as Mickledore.

Helvellyn

Another iconic peak in the Lake District, Helvellyn, comes in as the third tallest mountain in England. Helvellyn’s elevation reaches 712 meters (2,336 feet). Helvellyn is renowned for its sharp edges and breathtaking vistas and is part of the Helvellyn range, a north–south line of mountains. The name “Helvellyn” is thought to have old Cumbrian roots, translating to “yellow moorland.”

National Three Peaks Challenge

Scafell Pike is one of three mountains that is part of the National Three Peaks Challenge.  The challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks in England, Scotland, and Wales (all part of the United Kingdom) within a set time frame. The challenge typically requires participants to summit each of these mountains and return to their starting point within 24 hours.

The three peaks included in the challenge are:

  1. Ben Nevis (Scotland): As the tallest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis stands at an elevation of 1,345 meters (4,413 feet). Climbing this peak involves navigating varied terrain, including rocky paths and potentially challenging weather conditions.
  2. Scafell Pike (England): Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain and the shortest mountain in the National Three Peaks Challenge, with an elevation of 978 meters (3,209 feet). Hikers typically start their ascent from Wasdale Head or another nearby location in the Lake District.
  3. Snowdon (Wales): Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the highest peak in Wales, rising to 1,085 meters (3,558 feet). Located in Snowdonia National Park, Snowdon offers a diverse range of hiking paths and stunning views of the surrounding Welsh landscape.

Reference

“Scafell Pikes SSSI citation sheet” (PDF). English Nature. Retrieved 2006-11-10.

This article was originally written on June 23, 2014 and has since been updated.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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