Scoat Fell is located in the west part of the English Lake District. It rises at the head of the Mosedale Horseshoe with its back to Ennerdale. Routes lead to Scoat Fell from Ennerdale over Steeple, from Wasdale over Red Pike, and also along the ridge from Pillar.
The Western Fells occupy a triangular section of the Lake District, with the River Cocker to the north east and Wasdale to the south east as borders. Westwards the hills recede toward the coastal plain of Cumberland. At the central hub of the high country are Great Gable and its various satellites, while two main ridges fan out on either flank of Ennerdale, the western fells in effect being a great horseshoe around this long wild valley. Scoat Fell is located on the southern arm.
The principal watershed runs broadly west from Great Gable, dividing the headwaters of Ennerdale and Wasdale. The main fells in this sector are Kirk Fell, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Haycock (Lake District) and Caw Fell, followed by the lower Lank Rigg group.
Scoat Fell occupies a central position at the crossroads of five ridges. Eastwards, across the subsidiary top of Black Crag, is Pillar. South is a long descending ridge heading toward the shore of Wastwater.
The high point is Red Pike, prior to the terminal height of Yewbarrow. The main watershed continues west to Haycock, with two short spurs jutting north into Ennerdale. These are Tewit How which drops from the western end of the plateau and Steeple, from the summit.
As the radial point of so many ridges Scoat Fell forms the head of several valleys, the prinipal ones being the Wasdale feeders of Mosedale and Nether Beck. Mosedale begins on the eastern flanks of Scoat Fell, between Red Pike and Pillar, down in the hollow of Black Comb.
There are crags in the headwall, mainly to the south. Nether Beck has its origin at Scoat Tarn, a large pool to the south of the fell. This corrie tarn, held in place by grassy morraines is about 65 ft deep. Between Steeple and Pillar in the north is Windgap Cove with Black Crag, a Hewitt at the head. Wind Gap is a col between Black Crag and Pillar, while the small Mirk Cove can be found between Black Crag and the summit.
Last but not least Mirklin Cove is the corrie between Steeple and Tewit How, drained into Ennerdale by Low Beck. All of the northern coves are home to spectacular crags.
Of Scoat Fell’s numerous satellites, Little Scoat Fell and Black Fell are generally thought to be a part of the parent fell, while Steeple, despite its clearly derivative position, is seen as a separate fell. This is mainly due to its impressive appearance from Ennerdale rather than any great relative height, a triumph of emotion over logic.
The top is a long plateau, running from east to west. Along it runs the stone wall of the Ennerdale fence, whic crosses the summit exactly. Purists have built a small cairn atop the wall, although a larger edifice can be found to the north, pointing the way to Steeple.
The whole area is stony, with excellent views into the northern coves. Ordnance Survey maps name the summit as Little Scoat Fell and a small hillock at the western end of the plateau is known as Great Scoat Fell. These names are based on area, not height, Great Scoat Fell being 130 ft lower.
From Ennerdale many walkers will climb indirectly via Steeple, but the ridge of Tewit How can also be taken. Wasdale Head can be used as a base camp, so to speak, first walking up Mosedale and then climbing up to the ridge via Black Comb. Finally Nether Beck Bridge on the shores of Wastwater give access via Scoat Tarn onto the southern flanks.
From the upper recesses of Nether Beck the hiker can aim for either of the cols which connect the objective to Red Pike or Haycock. Perhaps the largest number of visitors will cross the top as part of the Mosedale Horseshoe, also ascending Red Pike and Pillar.
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