Langdale 

 

I know I keep banging on about this but back in July Unesco designated the Lake District as a world heritage site. What does this mean? It means that it is on a par with the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and Taj Mahal as a place of stunning beauty and significance. Now think of this – you do not have to travel to China, America or India to see a Unesco World Heritage site – just journey up the M6 for a little over an hour and you’re there. The Lake District is best seen on foot so here’s a route that will take you into the heart of magnificence.

Start/Finish: The New Dungeon Ghyll National Trust car park LA22 9JX
Fact file:
Distance 7 miles 11k
Time: 4 ½ - 6 hours
Grade: Strenuous Though not particularly long the route visits seven Wainwrights.
Map OS OL6 The English Lakes South western area

 

 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions.

1. Join a footpath at the rear of the public conveniences. This crosses an open space and then begins to climb besides Mill Gill with the stream to your right.

 

After 500yds the path reaches a stout wooden bridge.

 

From this point on you have a choice - keep to the left of the beck where you have the benefit of better views ahead or cross the bridge and follow the stream to the right where the path is possibly a little easier. I tend to go for the views. This part of the walk is an unrelenting uphill slog with 1000ft of ascent. At length the dam end of Stickle Tarn comes into view to signal an end of the climb.

 

Stickle Tarn is one of the most scenically dramatic stretches of water in the Lake District with Pavey Ark

 

a great cliff face rising from the far shore and Harrison Stickle looming to the right. Pavey Ark is where British Mountaineering cut its teeth offering several climbing routes with increasing levels of difficulty. The next part of the walk eschews Pavey Ark for the time being to ascend Sergeant Man. On a clear day Sergeant Man is easily picked out at being the highest prominence to the right of Pavey Ark across the valley formed by Bright Beck.

 

To reach it turn right at the tarn to follow a clear but boggy path to its eastern end. From here a path takes you up to a cairn adorned ridge in the direction of Grasmere. As you reach it turn left - north westwards on an intermittent path that threads its way to the rocky lump of Sergeant Man. (2414ft/736m). After the spectacle of the first part of the walk the next section comes as an anti-climax traversing the great moorland plateau that is High raise.

 

The consolation is that it is very easy walking. From Sergeant Man continue in a north westerly direction aiming for the highest part of the dome until the trig point comes into sight.

2. High Raise (2,500ft/762m) is the Lake District's most central fell and while not possessing hardly any other characteristics but this provides the walker with the perfect platform for appraising all the other fells. It is grand place to be when the air is clear. The next part of the walk heads back to Pavey Ark by way of Thurnacar Knott. From the trig point follow a grassy track south

 

that dips to a depression before gently ascending the grassy slopes of Thurnacar Knott( 2351ft/723m).

 

This hardly seems like a fell at all - a bit of high ground backstage of the Langdale Pikes. The Pikes themselves are not as impressive from this viewpoint. Dropping off the ridge cross a stretch of peaty ground aiming left at the rocky rise ahead. After crossing a wall (there are convenient gaps) drama is restored with a stunning view of Stickle Tarn 700ft below.

 

3. From the summit of Pavey Ark (2288ft/700m) the route takes you on a breath-taking traverse of all the Langdale Pikes. Return to the wall, find a convenient gap, turn left and thread your way along a contour to pick up the path heading to the summit of Harrison Stickle. (2415ft/736m).

 

From here descend westwards and then join a distinctive path leading across to Pike O'Stickle. To gain the summit requires something of a scramble not technically difficult unless you choose a route less taken.

 

This is another fabulous viewpoint. (2,326ft/709m) The last Pike is Loft Crag (2,238ft/682m) which is reached by returning to the base of Pike O' Stickle and after heading in the direction of Harrison Stickle branching right on a path taking you along a ridge to the final Wainwright of the day.

 

From here drop off to the left of the summit on a cairn marked path

 

that descends to the starting point.