A Langdale Round

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White Stones – The Band. Crinkle Crags and Bowfell hidden in the cloud, but Rossett Pike is clear on the right of the photo.

Easter Monday. The forecast was a bit mixed, but generally for improvement throughout the day. I had big plans, so I’d set off early and was parked up in the National Trust carpark by the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel while there was still plenty of room.

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Pike of Blisco.
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Side Pike.

As I walked up the road towards Blea Tarn the cloud lifted off the Langdale Pikes, but it was cold and pretty gloomy.

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Langdale Pikes.

The Langdale Pikes would dominate the view for much of the early part of the walk, and then again towards the end. I took a lot of photographs of the iconic crags.

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Redacre Gill.

My route up Pike O’Blisco curls right behind the stand of trees and then follows the gill into the obvious deep cleft right of centre.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the incredible standard of the paths in the Lakes. This was an easy one to follow at a lovely gradient. somebody did a very fine job of making it.

It was spitting with rain now and again and my cag went on and off a few times.

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A well constructed path.
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Kettle Crag, Langale Pikes, Side Pike.

I seem to have stopped taking panorama shots for a while, without really deciding to, but I took loads on this walk. If you click on them, or on any of the other pictures for that matter, you’ll see a larger version on Flickr.

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Side Pike and Lingmoor.
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Side-streams, in often quite deep ravines, with lots of little waterfalls, abounded. This area would definitely repay further exploration.
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Pike O’Blisco.

As I reached the top of the gully and the angle levelled off, the weather turned temporarily a bit grim. I have several photos obviously taken in the rain. Fortunately, it was short-lived, and when the sun appeared once again, it had wet rocks to sparkle on.

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The Langdale Pikes again!
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Lingmoor with Fairfield Horseshoe beyond and a glimpse of Windermere.
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Pike O’Blisco summit.

The wind was blowing from the west, so those large slabs just below the summit offered superb shelter. I settled down, leaning against one of them, poured myself a hot cordial and video-called my Dad to wish him a happy birthday.

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Langdale Pikes and a rainbow.

It was soon raining again, but I had a well-sheltered spot and it didn’t seem to matter too much somehow.

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Rainbow panorama.
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Red Tarn and Cold Pike.

Cold Pike was my next target. I decided to take the path which angles up towards the head of Browney Gill, but then strike left when the angle eased.

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Red Tarn again. Wet Side Edge behind, which is heading up to Great Carrs, hidden in the cloud.
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Looking back to Pike O’Blisco. The broken crags on the left look like they might give a good scrambling route.
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Pike O’Blisco disappearing into the cloud, from near the top of Cold Pike.

I found another sheltered spot on Cold Pike for another quick stop. The clouds blew in once again. The weather was changing very quickly.

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Pike O’Blisco from Cold Pike. The Helvellyn and Fairfield range behind.
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Looking back to Cold Pike.
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Pike O’Blisco and Cold Pike. Wetherlam behind.
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Panorama from the same spot.
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The many tarns of Stonesty Pike. The Duddon Estuary, Harter Fell, Whitfell and Black Combe behind.
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Crinkle Crags.
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Upper Eskdale and the Scafells.
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The ‘Bad Step’. There were a couple of guys standing beneath it, having quite a lengthy discussion before deciding to follow the path around to the left. I went round too. I’ve been both up and down that way in the past and I don’t remember it being all that difficult.
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Bowfell just about out of the cloud.
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Lingmoor and Pike O’Blisco. Windermere beyond.
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The Duddon Valley and Harter Fell.
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Langdale, Lingmoor and Pike o’Blisco.
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Panorama – Scafells, Bowfell, Langdale Pikes, Langdale, Pike O’Blisco, Windermere, Coniston Fells.

There are a lot of ups and downs on Crinkle Crags. The scenery is fantastically rocky, but it does mean you really have to concentrate over where you are putting your feet to avoid taking a tumble.

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Scafells.

If the Langdale Pikes had kept drawing my eye during the early part of the walk, it was now Scafell and Scafell Pike which were hogging my attention.

The weather hadn’t been too bad, but it was getting bluer and brighter…

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Scafells again.
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Bowfell.
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Scafells and Bowfell panorama.
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Pike O’Blisco and Wetherlam.
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Pike O’Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Three Tarns.
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Langdale Pikes from Bowfell. Helvellyn and Fairfield range behind.
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Esk Pike, Grasmoor, Allen Crags, Glaramara, Skiddaw, Blencathra.
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Scafells.
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Langdale Pikes, Langdale, Lingmoor, Windermere.
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Pike O’Blisco, Wetherlam, Coniston Old Man, Crinkle Crags, Dow Crag.
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Esk Pike.

I know that the geology of the Lake District is quite complex, with some igneous rocks, lots of slate, periods when the area was underwater and sedimentary rocks were laid down, three separate periods of orogeny lifting the hills, glaciation etc – but I don’t often feel like I know what I’m looking at. The rocks on this walk seemed to change quite often.This large boulder, in Ore Gap had lots of parallel striations which make me think it must be sedimentary. And yet we’re in the central part of the hills, close to Borrowdale, where I thought the rock would be volcanic?

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Sedimentary, my dear Watson?

I have a book on the shelf in front of me, ‘Lakeland Rocky Rambles’, which I’ve never really dipped in to – hmm, could be a new project.

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Dale Head, Maiden Moor, Allen Crag, Glaramara, Derwentwater, Skiddaw, Blencathra. (And Many more!)
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Looking back to Bowfell and Crinkle Crags from Esk Pike.
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Great End, Great Gable, Green Gable, Grasmoor and more of the North-western fells.
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Langdale Pikes,Rossett Pike, Bowfell.
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Angle Tarn panorama.
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Panorama from Rossett Pike.
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Langdale Pikes, Langdale and Lingmoor from just below the summit of Rossett Pike.
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Buck Pike and Black Pike – my descent route.
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Another panorama.

I think it’s 11 years since I was last on Rossett Pike. Back then, I didn’t get too much of a view, but I did have my one and only (so far) close encounter with a Dotterel. That was also towards the end of a walk, and thinking back, I’m pretty sure that whilst I may not be particularly fit, I am at least fitter now than I was then.

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Buck Pike.
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Pike O’Stickle and Mickleden.

I picked up a path which skirted below Black Crag and kept me in the sun for a bit longer. It was a great way down, never too steep, and deposited me on the path down from Stake Pass which has superb zig-zags. Once down in the valley I followed two walkers, one of whom was barefoot. I met another barefoot walker a couple of weeks later. I quite like the idea, but I think I would probably stub my toes roughly every five minutes.

I wasn’t quite dark when I arrived back at the car, but it wasn’t far off.

Around the head of Langdale.

Some hike stats:

MapMyWalk gives a little over 13 miles (although once again, confusingly, the numbers on the map make it look closer to 25 km i.e. well over 15 miles. Who knows.) The app also suggests 1162m of ascent, which is definitely an underestimate. For a slightly different route, over exactly the same hills, Walking Englishman gives 12 miles and 1466m of ascent. I think the truth, for the climbing at least, lies somewhere between those two figures. The fact that they differ by around a 1000 feet is a bit shicking!

It was far enough, at least, to leave me feeling pleasantly tired by the end.

Despite all the effort, there are ‘only’ six Wainwrights, to wit: Pike O’Blisco, Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike and Rossett Pike.

There’s lots more Birketts because all of the Crinkles are on the list. And some of the bobbles on the ridge down from Rossett Pike – but I wasn’t very careful about which of either of those I actually visited, so I shan’t list them on this occasion.

Leaving aside all of the stats, it was an absolutely superb day which will live very long in the memory. All day long I was thinking that this area is definitely the best bit of the Lakes. But I was thinking much the same thing when I did the Coledale Horseshoe, so I think all we can conclude is that I’m fickle!

A Langdale Round

15 thoughts on “A Langdale Round

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      No. I had a smock, no zip, when I was around 13 which I think was Peter Storm. It didn’t breath at all and I didn’t have to wear it long before I was drenched .

      1. Mine were either full waterproof yachting HH which had you sweating within minutes or cheaper wafer thin yellow jobs which were like blotting paper. Not a zip in sight. I do go back a lot farther than you. Doing the Pennine Way back in the 60s cycle capes were used and converted into ground sheets at night. Happy days.

            1. beatingthebounds says:

              Ah! Didn’t think I’d posted that. What I meant to say – I got my first racer when I was 11 (I remember it was a Falcon – it might have been a Flash? 🤣), promptly joined the local branch of the CTC and was told that I could join them for a ride to Meriden in Warwickshire, about a 70 mile round trip I think. My Dad decided I needed a cape for the occasion and bought me a vast thing which amply covered me and my bike. It rained on the way back and every time a lorry passed me the cape acted like a sail and I often found myself flattened on the verge. To add insult to injury, I didn’t have a sou’wester so I got soaked anyway.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Not much to Rossett Pike, but never-the-less well worth climbing, with terrific views. I can heartily recommend the route I came down, a really nice route.

  1. Wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the first few photos but what a superb day that turned into and very close to the route I did with TBF a couple of years ago. It’s an absolute cracker. Did you manage on reminiscences about the Bowfell summit bivvy while you were passing through.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      A bit of faith in the forecast was required early doors, although the cloud was clearly lifting. It turned in to a top notch day.
      I quite often think of that bivvy, I’ve never since experienced anything quite like it. How we managed to get any sleep at all in such a rocky place I will never know.

      1. Enough sleep to actually miss the sunrise but I seem to recall we were awake most of the night which was no bad thing. I’ve camped on a couple of summits and of course lots of Alpine bivvys but nothing like actually staying right on top of a small rocky summit. Well over 30 years ago. One of my happiest memories that weekend with all the swimming in the Esk we did as well.

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          Yes, a very memorable weekend! Those amazing thunderstorms too and, I think this was that evening, cloud pouring in off the sea and eerily filling Eskdale as we climbed?

  2. A stunning hike! Hard to believe that you are ‘not particularly fit’ after reading the stats and previous Easter posts – 24 km and 1466m elevayion!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Lets say I’m a lot fitter than I look – I’m fairly rotund and that’s probably putting it politely. My big appetite is not just for hills!

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