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The Langdale Pikes

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The Langdale Pikes
Author: Colpeakbagger, Published: 13 Oct 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Cumbria, The Central Fells
Walk Type: Mountains
The Langdale Pikes
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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I know you are not supposed to have favourites but this walk is mine. It is everything hill walking is about, a stiff climb, a bit of a scramble, great views, tarns, history and an iconic skyline. If you only ever climb one group of Lake District fells then it should be these. As reflected in the difficulty rating of 5 this is not a walk to be taken lightly despite the fact it is only 4 miles, the rock can be slippery after rain and you will need to use your hands to get up Pike O'Stickle.

The start of this walk is from the National Trust car park next to the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Great Langdale. From Ambleside follow the signs for Great Langdale through the villages of Clappersgate and Chapel Stile, the car park is on your right and is the first turning after the driveway to the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and the Stickle Barn pub.

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Walk Sections

Start to Loft Crag summit
Start to Loft Crag summit

Start point: 54.4484 lat, -3.09 long
End point: 54.4545 lat, -3.1159 long

This walk has no easy breaking in period, it is steep straight from the off. Leave the car park from the gate by the toilets and turn immediately left. At the stream cross over to the path on the far bank. The path goes steeply upwards roughly following the deep gash of Dungeon Ghyll. There are a number of places where you can go towards the edge and look down into it and catch a glimpse of the waterfalls, including the spectacular Dungeon Ghyll Force. There is some light scrambling to be done as the path zigzags up around Raven Crag before there is a little relief as you head across a short plateau before the final ascent towards Thorn Crag. As you head to the left of Thorn Crag there is a short uphill section that takes you to the top of Loft Crag the first of the Pikes.

Loft Crag summit to Harrison Stickle summit
Loft Crag summit to Harrison Stickle summit

Start point: 54.4545 lat, -3.1159 long
End point: 54.4565 lat, -3.1093 long

From the summit of Loft Crag follow the obvious path that heads north to the thimble shaped top of Pike O'Stickle. As you pass through a col between the two summits there is a steep scree run that decends towards the valley floor on your left. ON NO ACCOUNT TRY GOING DOWN THIS - I only bring it to your attention because it is an archaeological site where thousands of neolithic hand axes have been found and is thought to have been a sort of factory around 8,000 years ago, axes from here have been found all over Britain. Now comes the tricky bit where you will have to do some scrambling (getting your hands dirty) up to the top of Pike O'Stickle. Its not difficult but care should be taken. The view from the top is incredible, 2,000 feet plus down into Great Langdale, across to Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Scafells, a large chunk of Windermere and all the way up to Skiddaw to the north. Once you have finished taking in the view then climb down the way you came up and head back along the path towards Loft Crag. Just before the start of the climb up the path forks and you go left here now heading towards the imposing bulk of Harrison Stickle. You cross over the, sometimes soggy, expanse of Harrison Combe and then climb up on the rocky path to the summit of Harrison Stickle.

Harrison Stickle summit to Stickle Tarn
Harrison Stickle summit to Stickle Tarn

Start point: 54.4565 lat, -3.1093 long
End point: 54.4583 lat, -3.0996 long

From the summit of Harrison Stickle you get a dramatic view down to Stickle Tarn and across to the Eastern parts of the Lake District. Follow a faint path that leads around the cliffs above Stickle Tarn towards Pavey Ark, the last of the four Langdale Pikes. The way is rocky and marked by a series of cairns to guide you the right way. After an initial decent its a fairly level path until the last bit where you climb up once more, crossing an old dry stone wall to the top of Pavey Ark and another view down to the tarn. You now head away from the direction of the tarn until you see a rocky gully heading down to your right, again this can be quite tricky and care should be taken as you pick your way down. At the bottom you head towards the right and you are now on the shore of Stickle Tarn looking back up at the last two fells you have been up.

Stickle Tarn to End
Stickle Tarn to End

Start point: 54.4583 lat, -3.0996 long
End point: 54.4485 lat, -3.0899 long

You can now be assured that the walk is virtually all down hill but as with the rest of the walk the terrain is still rocky and there is always the potential for a slip. Walk around the edge of the lake until you come to the stream that issues from it. This is called Stickle Ghyll and goes down the hillside in a series of waterfalls. Heading down I would advise using the path on the right hand-side (with the stream running on your left). This path guides you to a set of large stepping stones. Use these to cross the stream and then continue downhill with the stream on your right. The path is well worn and easy to follow and eventually comes to a footbridge where you can cross safely back to the other side. Keep following the stream and you will come back to the car park where you started.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author Colpeakbagger and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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