Talk:Scafell Pike

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I seem to remember reading that it is "U" to say, "Scaw-fell" (or "Scawf-ell") and "non-U" to say, "Scar-fell" or "Scaff-ell". Does anybody know about this?--Oxonian2006 21:21, 1 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As someone who grew up 5 miles from Wasdale it is pronounced Score (Scaw) Fell, regardless of what others say, it is often incorrectly pronounced now, even locally, due to the proportion of true locals plummeting, people from further afield in the lakes may pronounce it differently but as with all place names the local pronunciation is correct.

Speaking as an ex-pat Lakes resident, I can say with confidence that saying "Scaw-fell" would be a one-way street to ridicule. "Scar-fell" is the correct local pronunciation. That's not what you asked of course, but if you want a guide to pronunciation, it's definitely "Scar-fell". 20:28, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's hard to be prescriptive and define "correct" pronunciations in this case. Most Lakes residents these days may say "Scarfell", but Wainwright is equally adamant that it should be "Scawfle", which was presumably the usual pronunciation in his day. The spelling "Scawfell" is found in many older sources, as a Google search suggests, indicating that this was considered "correct" not so long ago. As with Shrewsbury, though, spelling pronunciation seems to be taking over. --Blisco 22:33, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the local area it's refered to as "Scawfl" (Scorefl) in line with the original spelling of “Scawfell”. Most of the country however refer to it as Scarfell in line with modern spelling of Scafell. When I return home to the area and use Scafell, like the rest of the country, I'm accused of forgetting where I come from. The original name was/is Scawfell, and this is the name that was used by the WWII Naval ship, a Street in London, and an island off the Coast of Queensland Australia. All of these are named after the mountain. I’ve heard the spelling of Scafell was the result of an Ordinance Survey error, but I don’t know if this is accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:18, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wonder if it is to do with the Scandinavian "å" which would make "skå" indeed sound like "scaw"? Simon Grant (talk) 13:14, 7 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Contemporary guidebooks show that Scafell was called "Scawfell" until the mid-nineteenth century. Language changes, however, and from around the 1880s onwards it has more commonly been called Scafell.

The natural pronunciation, and in my experience the most common, is "scar-fell". The trend to say "scaw-fell" (as though the modern name had a silent "w") may originate in a misreading of Wainwright. Wainwright points out that Scafell was traditionally called "Scawfell" and adds that the traditional pronunciation was "Scawfle". But he is probably just talking about the old name here. I don't think he intends to suggest that the modern name should be pronounced in the same way. Jgb37 (talk) 10:17, 28 August 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The switch in spelling from Scawfell to Scafell occurred in the early 1920s. You can confirm this for yourself if you have access to the British Newspaper Archive and a few spare evenings. (Note that searching for "Scafell" in newspapers will pick up the place in Wales of that name, including railway timetables in local papers - national papers will pick up the dramatic rail disaster that happened near there). It was driven largely by the guidebooks and they were driven by the Ordnance Survey error: if they included maps they had to change the text to match the maps. This is what happened to the very popular Martineau guide with the edition printed in the year of the author's death.
The pronunciation change has been much slower and, for instance, Radio Cumbria still prefer the phonetic "Scaw", as do those who live in the vicinity who have a long connection with the region. The mountain rescue team use "Scar" as that is the commonest pronunciation among those who get lost in that area.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 11:40, 25 November 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I'm not sure whether it is strictly accurate to say (as the new box does) that Scafell Pike is an extinct volcano. My (limited, since I'm no geologist!) understanding is that while the rock itself is of volcanic origin, the present peaks were formed by subsequent glaciation, and don't bear any relation to the original volcanoes that formed the rocks. Does anyone know more about this? Cambyses 14:42, 26 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My very rudimentary knowledge of the geology of the Lake District suggests that you are quite correct. Trilobite 18:52, 27 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am 99% confident you are both right. Funny how we all appear a little hesitant on this! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 22:38, 27 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This clearly proves that it's more difficult to disbelieve something when it comes in an impressive-looking box. I have overcome my inhibitions and removed it the claim ;-). Best wishes, Cambyses 00:21, 28 May 2004 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hill or mountain?[edit]

Admittedly Scafell Pike is tiny by international standards, but that's no reason to call it a hill instead of a mountain. Most Enlgish people would consider it to be a mountain - the idea that it isn't would imply that there are no mountains in England, which runs contrary to popular understanding of British geography. Furthermore Scafell Pike is one of the Cumbrian mountains - the tallest of them in fact. The idea that the tallest of a range of mountains is not a mountain makes no sense. It is sometimes said that to qualify as a mountain in this country 1000 feet is a minimum, and I notice this was cited as a reason for the reversion of the edit which relagated Scafell Pike to a mere hill. Whether or not this cut-off height is accepted (and I would tend to favour a less rigid definition based on subjective judgement informed by people's understanding of the words 'hill' and 'mountain'), Scafell Pike is commonly regarded as a mountain and not a hill. It might not be very big, but it is a mountain. Trilobite 18:56, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Ok I was a bit fast and loose with the 1,000 feet thing. Thinking it about more I agree that people tend to use it as a "rough guide" to what might be considered a mountain in UK terms, rather than an absolute. We should continue that practice here. However we are in agreement, SP is unquestionably a mountain. However somewhere like the Long Mynd in Shropshire is over 1,000 feet but doesn't have that mountain aura about it. Pcb21| Pete 19:06, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I think the 1000ft rule is what the OS use to decide wether to mark a peak as a mountain on a map. NPWJones 12:43, 24 August 2004

"the Encyclopædia Britannica requires a prominence of 610 m (2,000 ft)." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:21, 30 June 2006

The OS doesn't distinguish between hills and mountains on its maps (indeed it doesn't mark them as "hills" or "mountains" at all, it just shows the lie of the land), and nor does any other geographer. The EB doesn't "require" a prominence of 2,000 feet either (see Mountain). The distinction is completely subjective, and the terms are not even mutually exclusive, especially in the UK. 2,000 feet is just a popular rule of thumb that often works in Britain, but rarely in other countries. --Blisco 14:24, 22 October 2006 (UTC) (A bit belated but I thought it was worth saying!)Reply[reply]


Added to the External Links Section — Preceding unsigned comment added by Snozzer (talkcontribs) 11:54, 2 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I added a list of the major peaks visible, with the degree bearings you can see each one at. Hope it's OK. Comments welcome. --Mark J 16:36, 3 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well my only problem is its unsourced. I'm rather skeptical about this claim to be able to see the mountains of Ireland from its peak - this would have to be on a very very clear day and with eyesight rather better than my own... --Pretty Green 20:16, 10 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you want a source, try here and here. (These do take into account the curvature of the Earth.) As the Mountains of Mourne poke out from behind the Isle of Man, it's quite hard to be sure whether it's really Ireland that you're looking at, or just part of Man. There no doubt, though, that you can see Snowdon on a fine day, and that's a similar distance to Slieve Donard. — ras52 10:09, 11 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe any Irish mountains are visible from Scafell Pike. Maybe someone who knows about the curavature of the earth could calculate whether it's physically possible to see these mountains. Also, some of the general directions are definitely wrong. Mountains in Northern Ireland are certainly not south of Scafell, visible or not. I'll see if someone has any other ideas but should the section be trimmed back to take out the distant mountains? Pikemaster (talk) 21:53, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would take the viewfinder panoramas with a pinch of salt. One shows "Oubas Hill" on the outskirts of Ulverston, which in reality is no more than a low hump on the A590 road and it certainly isn't possible to see Scafell Pike from there. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:20, 5 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I walk over Oubas Hill most days of my life and (weather permitting) I can assure this contributor that Scafell Pike is visible very clearly from there. By climbing the 130 ft Hoad Monument the view becomes even more spectacular and in addition the monument can clearly be seen from Scafell and the Pike, providing a distinctive marker.. (talk) 21:37, 14 January 2016 (UTC)Tylexman (talk) 21:44, 14 January 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems that Ordnance Survey used the visibility of Slieve Donard from Scafell for the triangulation of GB and Ireland in the early 19 century. Map diagram 8 here: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 26 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is there a Wikipedia standard in which to state heights above sea level - in feet or metres? We're not quite metric yet in England. I notice some articles put feet first others give priorty to metres. Pikemaster (talk) 18:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Parent peak?[edit]

I see the parent peak for Scafell Pike shows in the box as Snowdon - Surely this is not correct? (talk) 22:42, 3 March 2017 (UTC) Ah, no - I see there are different ways of calculating this. My apologies - Please disregard. (talk) 23:07, 3 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Anyone wondering about what Parent Peak means should follow the link to the definition and read it. It is a geographical term to do with ranking peaks by connecting their ridgelines. It has nothing to do with geological relationship or political boundaries. So it is quite normal for one mountain's parent to be in a different country and/or orogeny. For example, Snowdon's parent is Ben Nevis! --Oscar Bravo (talk) 07:09, 30 January 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Technical Term[edit]

In the topography section of the article is the following phrase, "Ill Crag having little footing(clarify) in Wasdale." This sounds like a request for clarification of the technical term 'footing'. Do we need clarification or is the term self explanatory? It doesn't seem to be a good place to add a long winded explanation of a fairly common term. Meta-texts such as (clarify) or (citation needed) tend to reduce the readability of the article. Often they are essential but sometimes, as here, they may be superfluous. OrewaTel (talk) 12:47, 15 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The solution to the problem would be if there was a Wikipedia article that explained the meaning of "footing" - I am guessing that it would be a list of terminology applied to mountains/mountaineering. Perhaps such a page already exists. Then the Scafell Pike page could show a link to that term and there would be no intrusive a "clarify" tag. (I note, though, that there is still a "citation needed" tag.) If you have the necessary sources and no such article already exists, you may be well placed to write such an article.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 12:00, 18 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wainwright used exactly that phrase in his description of Ill Crag in the Scafell Pike chapter of his Guide so I can add a citation. The trouble is that the first time I read the description, I understood exactly what was meant and so I never searched for a definition. Maybe there is a list of geological or mountaineering terms on which we can tack 'footing'.OrewaTel (talk) 07:23, 16 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@OrewaTel: Would you mind if I asked you to explain what you do think it means, please? As a walker, scrambler and climber, I've been up on Scafell and nearby peaks over many decades, and Wainwright's use of that term means little to me, unless it means "has few footholds", and that's how many readers would probably interpret it. AW was not even a scrambler, so for him 'no footing' might well mean that. Far better to say something like 'AW described Ill crag as 'having no footing in Wasdale"', meaning xxx'. Having refreshed my memory by looking at the OS map, I'm wondering if it means Ill Crag doesn't have its base in Wasdale, in which case it really doesn't need saying at all, does it? ...because I would had said its footing (i.e. its base) is in Eskdale. Footing is not a term I'm familiar with in 50 years of hillwalking, except for the odd case of losing one's footing (slipping). I suspect this is just one of AW's poetic turn of phrases which has no specific meaning, either topographical, geological or in mountaineering circle. Nick Moyes (talk) 14:13, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As I understand it, a fell has a footing in a valley if there is a direct line from the fell to the valley floor that runs downhill at all times. Superficially it looks like the Sca Fell ridge comprises Great End, Ill Crag, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Scafell and Slight Side in a row but that is not true. Ill Crag is off to one side and overlooks Esk Valley. The Northern arm of Broad Crag and the Southern arm of Blunt Top (a 900 metre fell that doesn't appear on most lists) cut it off from Wasdale. Having a footing is a term that is obvious when you look at a map or look at the fell itself but it is damn difficult to define exactly. OrewaTel (talk) 22:13, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, OrewaTel. I have searched and can find no mention whatsoever of the term 'footing' in any search on Google/Google books in the context of mountains or geography, so it sounds like its just some loosely applied word that has no formal meaning. I can sort of understand what you're getting at. In other words, wouldn't "Ill Crag is off to the side of the main ScaFell ridge, and looks Eskdale" be a lot clearer? If so, let's just say that. (BTW: I'm itching to go back and spend a few days bivvying up there this summer if I can make it.) Cheers, Nick Moyes (talk) 22:38, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nick Moyes, I suspect this is a Wainwright special. AW used this expression quite a lot. It is appropriate here because Ill Crag is generally regarded as a 'Wasdale Fell' (Please don't ask me what that means) and yet it actually overlooks Eskdale.OrewaTel (talk) 01:10, 15 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@OrewaTel: Hmmm. Now you've convinced me more than ever that this statement should, assuming it is actually relevant here, be a properly sourced quotation from his book. That would fit in better with an encyclopaedia that anyone from around the world might read, as they would not have the prior knowledge and context of knowing about Wainwright. Would you not agree? Nick Moyes (talk) 10:37, 15 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've written an alternative sentence that should be clearer - it doesn't use the term 'footing'. Please revert if it doesn't reflect this discussion.OrewaTel (talk) 13:11, 15 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That reads so much better now. Nick Moyes (talk) 13:30, 15 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Herdy website[edit]

I really don't think the Herdy website can be regarded as a WP:RS for this article. Their site's purpose is to sell the mugs and other "Herdy" branded material that they sell. I have therefore substituted the section that had many references to the Herdy website with older material that has other references (and a more complete story of what happened). ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 17:45, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Over-precise heights[edit]

The over-precise heights being added to this article by user Vegibagger are (a) without any supporting references and (b) different from the heights given in established RSs. Please stop adding this data and explain why you think this is an improvement. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 23:09, 14 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]