" " Lake District Trails and Ales: May 2009

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Langdale Pikes, April 15th 2009

Having walked with the boys for over 8 hours a couple of days ago in glorious sunshine, today was going to be have to be something special to match it.  So, what better place to go to than the beautiful Langdale Valley.  We drove into the valley via Little Langdale. This is a bit of a longer route but you get great views of the Langdale valley and Crinkle Craggs this way.  As usual, parking was tight up near the Dungeon Ghyll Hotel so we headed back in the direction of Chapel style for a kilometere or so to park up (for free!).

We have been up the Langdales a number of times, mostly up via Pavey Ark, but few times all the way up the Mickledon Valley, which forms part of the Cumbrian Way.
The way up is gentle, but quite long.  It was very tempting to turn left up Bow Fell, as the flat valley turned into a bit more of a climb.  But we were determined to stick to our plan and head up the Langdales, saving Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags for another day.  The path follows the stream up to Black Crag, with the stream to the right and after a while turns into a moor like landscape.  Once Pike of Stickle comes into view its a case of making a beeline for it across what was today particularly boggy ground.  The climb up the Stickle is the most challenging part of the route, particularly if you go for one of the least obvious routes. From here its down again before the climb up to the slighly higher Harrison's Stickle. Both these peaks provide splendid views of the valley and are as dramatic down as the view is up from ground level.  From the top of Harrison Stickle there are a number of ways down. We chose the route that has Stickle Tarn on the left, following a fairly steep but easy path down to the tarn itself. 
There are paths either side of the stream flowing from the tarn back down into the valley.  The one on the right hand side was in repair much of the way down, so we ended up hopping from one side of the stream to the other.  The descent is much quicker than the long flat route in the Mickledon Valley, but its good to do both so this becomes a circular walk. Inevitably at the bottom there was time to reflect on the day with a swift pint and some pork scratchings sitting outside the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel Walker's bar. We weren't the only ones....