31st May 2008

A quiet day on the Langdales


Walk Overview
Time 10.00 to 14.50
Duration 4 hr 50 min
Distance 7.3 mile
Ascent 2500 ft
Walking with Andrew Leaney and Neil Haslewood
Stickle Barn - Mark Gate - Thorn Crag - Loft Crag - Pike O'Stickle - Harrison Combe - Thunacar Knott - Martcrag Moor - Stake Pass - Mickleden - Old Dungeon Gill Hotel - Stickle Barn
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Stickle Barn, Great Langdale

A very busy place indeed, not only with those parking up to head onto the fells, but with people stopping off for something to eat or drink.

There are actually two car parks here, one next to Stickle Barn and the other buildings and the other found on the opposite side of the road.


Route Map

Pike O'Blisco and Crinkle Crags above the head of Great Langdale / Oxendale.

Now for the up hill bit of the walk.

A close up of Stool End Farm, with what looks like a steady stream pf people walking through the farm yard.

To look at this picture you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Crinkle Crags ridge would have been the ideal place for a walk today. Before too long however, the cloud had built up over the fells in this photo and also Bow Fell (out of shot, on the right). Undoubtedly a bad choice for anyone who opted for that particular side of the valley today, not just because they spent the rest of the day in the shade, but because they must have been looking across at the Langdales, where we enjoyed a day of almost unbroken sunshine.

Harrison Stickle seen from Thorn Crag.
Ordinarily I'd try to avoid this area at the weekend during the summer months, or failing that, I'd get here at some ungodly hour when most people are still in bed. But, the Langdales is where we'd agreed to walk, so I was just going to have to accept it would be busy, and try not to moan about it too much ( as if I would !!! ). However, and luckily for us, once we left the car park, which was rapidly filling up, we only saw about ten other people until we were back in the valley at Mickelden.

And looking around in the other direction you can see Loft Crag and Pike O'Stickle.

Harrison Stickle.

An impressive looking Pike O'Stickle.
It's a good job all four sides of the fell aren't the same as you see here on the left. If they were it's doubtful that I'd have ever reached the top.
Notice the two paths at the bottom right of the photo. The left one is the Rossett Gill path which leads over to Angle Tarn and the right hand one is the bottom of Stake Pass.

The summit cairn on Pike O'Stickle.
What a difference when you look in this direction compared to the view behind me, where all you find is fresh air and of course the valley, which a long way below you.

Harrison Stickle seen here from the base of Pike O'Stickle.

After leaving Pike O'Stickle (seen here), we headed straight across a very dry Harrison Combe to Thunacar Knott, and as much as I like the fells in this area, I always seem to enjoy the walk between them much more than being on the fells themselves.

Looking north from Thunacar Knott, with High Raise on the right of the picture, the north western fells in the left and in the far distance you can see the Skiddaw fells.

Thunacar Knott Tarn.

We headed off path after leaving Thunacar Knott. This took us down to join up with the path which runs through Mart Crag Moor from Stake Pass. Notice how dull it is on the fells to the left.

Just like most other places in the Lake District at the moment, Stake Pass Tarn was looking so dry. A couple more weeks without any substantial rain and the tarn may well dry out completely.

As I said earlier, if all four sides of Pike O'Stickle were like this then I'd never get to the top.

Nearing the bottom of Stake Pass now, with a fine view into Mickelden, which always feels as long as it looks, by the way.

Looking back up the side of Stake Gill.

No confusion here ! Those who are lost may disagree.

A broad, easy to follow path runs through Mickelden, and although you can't see it for most of the route, the path leads directly to the back of the Old Dungeon Gill hotel.

The view straight up to Pike O'Stickle and Loft Crag, taken from the path through Mickleden.
Thankfully the aeroplane went around the back of Pike O'Stickle and not into the side of it.

We were more or less out of Mickelden now and starting to head into Great Langdale.
The fells on the right of the picture are Side Pike and Lingmoor Fell.

This is a lovely route between the Old and the New Dungeon Gill Hotel (s); enjoyable at any time, but particularly on a day like this, when, given the amount of cloud there was everywhere else, we'd managed to stay in sunshine most of the day. This is what summer should be like.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks