Scafell Pike - Restoring the summit cairn
Until May 2018, the summit cairn - the large stone structure which marks the top of Scafell Pike, the highest point in England was crumbling. Our Rangers camped up there for a few days whilst they rebuilt this iconic cairn which also holds the plaque marking England's highest war memorial.
After the end of WWI, the summit of Scafell Pike and surrounding land above the 2000ft contour line on the Scafell Massif was gifted to us by Lord Leconfield as a memorial to the men of the Lake District who fell in the Great War, so the cairn represents much more than England's roof top.
The restoration of the summit cairn was a massive undertaking for our Rangers and volunteers who camped out on the mountain top to carry out this vital work. This summer, alongside the rebuilding of the cairn, there will be extensive footpath restoration on both Scafell Pike and Great Gable to reduce the impact of thousands of pairs of feet and help protect the habitats of the rare plants found on the summits.
Why did the cairn need re-buiding?
An estimated 250,000 people visit the summit of Scafell Pike annually and in recent years, there have been a number of ‘rushes’ - this is where the retaining side walls had collapsed. These were fixed by the Ranger team, but there was a need for more substantial 'through' stones in the structure to make it more stable and support the amount of visitors climbing it each year. The cairn is 24m in circumference and the team spent just over a week rebuilding it.
A time capsule has been placed into the stone wall including details of the work carried out as well as photos and information about the rangers themselves.
Large scale footpath repair
20 tonnes of stone will be flown onto the Hollowstones area for the wider footpath repair work. Overall, the team will aim to fix 2.5km of footpath and will spend approximately 200 days working on both the cairn re-build and the erosion repair. They will be joined by volunteers from Fix the Fells for a weekend as well as having three other days with volunteers from the Fell and Rock Climbing Club, the organisation which originally donated 12 summits to the National Trust in memory of the fallen.
Read our news updates below whilst the work is being carried out or follow the Rangers on twitter.
" This is a unique opportunity to both care for and repair Scafell Pike, one of the nation’s most iconic and valued outdoor places, whilst at the same time re-commemorating a unique war memorial. We could not do this work without our members and supporters, so let's not forget what these gifts represent and please help us ensure that future generations can continue to benefit."
" As part of the 100 year commemorations, we're trying to raise awareness that the uplands area is a very special place. They do get a lot of use and sometimes abuse, and they're under a lot of pressure with things like the Three Peaks Challenge and the vast amount of litter that we pick off each year. So we want to raise awareness that it is somewhere to enjoy but also somewhere to respect."