Lang­dale Pikes

A moun­tain­top walk that out­ma­noeu­vres cliffs and crags, de­liv­er­ing you with­out fuss to four breath­tak­ing sum­mits.

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS - WORDS & MAPS JEREMY ASHCROFT

Your route to a walk of a life­time in the Lake Dis­trict.

The com­pact group of peaks that form the Lang­dale Pikes are among the most eas­ily recog­nis­able moun­tains in Eng­land. As you en­ter the Lake Dis­trict from the south the mag­nif­i­cent, al­most Alpine pro­file of the ‘Pikes’ jumps out at you across the ever-chang­ing wa­ters of Win­der­mere. From this dis­tant an­gle ev­ery walker will in­stantly want to climb them, but viewed a lit­tle closer from their base in Lang­dale their flanks are craggy and ap­pear very steep: the sort of ter­ri­tory that ap­peals to climbers rather than walk­ers. How­ever this is some­thing of an il­lu­sion, for al­though there are plenty of crags to keep climbers happy the fells that lie be­tween them are not as steep as they first ap­pear – a trick of per­spec­tive. This pro­vides ad­ven­tur­ous walk­ing in a very dra­matic set­ting.

A real gem of a route, the clas­sic walk takes an an­ti­clock­wise loop around the four main moun­tains that form the Lang­dale Pikes. The re­turn is along the an­cient pack­horse trail via the high col of Stake Pass and along the en­tire length of Mick­le­den. The ap­proach up Stickle Ghyll is fairly steep but the path is ex­cel­lent, and as it is en­closed by dra­matic crags and con­tains a se­ries of wa­ter­falls there are plenty of ex­cuses to stop and ad­mire the view! Stickle Tarn of­fers an­other ex­cuse to rest with its su­perb views, both up to the crags of Pavey Ark and out­wards across the whole of Great Lang­dale. A sneaky path around the side of Pavey Ark then opens up a stun­ning high-level walk over the sum­mits.

1 NY294064 From the top of the car park join the path to the left of the toi­let block and fol­low it to the side of Stickle Ghyll. Take the path up be­side the beck to the foot­bridge. Cross it and con­tinue along the path up the right-hand side of the beck (east) as it climbs to Stickle Tarn.

2 NY288075 The level of Stickle Tarn was raised by 2m in the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury to pro­vide wa­ter power for the gun­pow­der works at El­ter­wa­ter. Only the dam now re­mains, the pipe­line has de­cayed and the gun­pow­der works have been taken over by a time-share com­plex. The crags of Pavey Ark be­hind the tarn

hold a huge se­lec­tion of multi-pitch rock-climbs. If you fancy a bit of a scram­ble as part of this walk, the dis­tinct di­ag­o­nal break that crosses the crags from lower right to up­per left is the pop­u­lar Grade 1 scram­ble, Jack’s Rake. If fol­lowed it leads to a spot ad­ja­cent to the sum­mit of Pavey Ark. The more nor­mal walk­ing route skirts the east side of Stickle Tarn to pick up a path be­side Bright Beck at the east­ern ex­trem­ity of Pavey Ark. Once around the side of Pavey Ark a grassy rake comes into view; this is North Rake, and it of­fers a sim­ple path di­rect to the sum­mit of Pavey Ark.

3 NY284079 From the rocky sum­mit of Pavey Ark de­scend south-west then south to the col be­low Har­ri­son Stickle. Cross the col and make the short as­cent onto Har­ri­son Stickle. The sum­mit is made up of a num­ber of cairns so make sure you visit each one to get the best of the views. 4 NY281074 From Har­ri­son Stickle, de­scend the path west then south to cross the up­per reaches of Dun­geon Ghyll at a grassy combe. Make the short as­cent south on the other side to reach Thorn Crag’s sum­mit cairn.

5 NY280071 From Thorn Crag, Loft Crag is reached by a sim­ple 300m walk west­north­west.

6 NY277071 Next in line from Loft Crag is the shapely rocky knoll of Pike of Stickle. To reach it, con­tinue west-north-west from Loft Crag to the head of a steep walled gully. This used to be a pop­u­lar scree run but heavy use has led to se­ri­ous ero­sion and it should now not be at­tempted. In the right-hand side­wall of the gully you may no­tice a square shal­low cave; this is a pre­his­toric stone axe fac­tory. Pass the head of the gully and fol­low the path as it skirts right­wards to gain the rocky sum­mit of Pike of Stickle.

7 NY273073 De­scend north­west and fol­low the path over Martcrag Moor to the broad col at the head of Stake Pass.

8 NY265086 Turn left and fol­low the bri­dle­way south-west down into Mick­le­den. At the bot­tom join the val­ley track and fol­low it south-east to the Old Dun­geon Ghyll Ho­tel. The track passes di­rectly be­low Pike of Stickle, Loft Crag and Thorn Crag. The ob­vi­ous long line of scree is that seen ear­lier be­side Pike of Stickle.

9 NY284061 At the Old Dun­geon Ghyll a bri­dle­way climbs, slightly, east be­hind the ho­tel to­ward the car park be­side the New Dun­geon Ghyll Ho­tel. Al­ter­na­tively you can take the val­ley road.

JAN­UARY 2019

On Loft Crag, look­ing to Pike of Stickle and be­yond.

Stickle Tarn and Pavey Ark.

Look­ing down Mick­le­den.

Old Dun­geon Ghyll...

...New Dun­geon Ghyll!

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