Langdale Pikes

Langdale Pikes

Route: Langdale Pikes

Area: Central Lake District

Date of walk: 24th March 2018

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 6.5 miles

Ascent: 2,837 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny

The Langdale Pikes are a spectacular sight when seen from valley level, and a stranger to the area may wonder how an ascent of these almost vertical towers of rock is possible. But it is, as long as you don’t head directly up the rock face. I parked in the National Trust car park at New Dungeon Ghyll and followed the path up the left hand side of Stickle Ghyll, crossing over to the other bank via a wooden footbridge after 10 minutes or so. A well pitched rock path made the steep climb relatively easy and a little while later I emerged at Stickle Tarn, set in a spectacular position beneath the cliff face of Pavey Ark

I followed the path around the shore on the tarn, looking up to some intrepid walkers who were ascending Pavey Ark via Jack’s Rake – a vertiginous scramble which will never feature on this website save through a long lens. After passing by Jack’s Rake (and meeting a couple of walkers who’d retreated from it) I started the steep but safe clamber up North Gully which leads to the summit of Pavey Ark. Hands were needed on a couple of occasions and although the going was rough there were no dangers

I descended from the summit to the vast boggy plateau of Harrison Combe and then climbed up again to reach Thunacar Knott, the second fell on today’s round. The flat terrain in the vicinity of the fell is the only place on the round where quick progress can be made, and before long I was at the foot of Pike o’Stickle. A short but very steep and rocky ascent brought me to the top of this third fell – ‘a tapering thimble of rock’ as Wainwright describes it

After clambering down back to the foot of the fell I made my way over to Loft Crag and then another down and up brought me to the summit of Harrison Stickle, the highest of the Langdale Pikes, a spectacular place with views to match. I could have lingered here for hours, but so far the walk had taken two more hours than anticipated so it was time to start the long descent. After a short pathless section I joined the steep rocky path which leads back down to Stickle Tarn. The path is perfectly safe but it’s steep and rocky and progress is very slow

On reaching the tarn I followed the path down the west bank of Stickle Ghyll for a change – and having now done both I can say without doubt the path to the east is the one to take. The western path is far more rugged and at one point there’s a stile which can’t be crossed by a dog, and I had an awkward few moments carrying Bonnie up and then lifting her down the other side. After a seemingly endless descent I finally arrived back at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to end what had been a fantastic walk

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