A Langdale Ramble.

Start. National Trust car park, Stickle Barn.

Route. National Trust car park, Stickle Barn - Stickle Ghyll - Tarn Crag - Stickle Tarn - Harrison Stickle - Dungeon Ghyll - Thorn Crag - Loft Crag - Pike of Stickle - Mortcrag Moor - Mort Crag - Stake Pass - Langdale Combe - Stake Gill - Mickleden - Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel - Rossett - national Trust car park, Stickle Barn.

Notes. Ramble may well be an understatement, a friend of mine describes rambling as walking without breaking into a sweat, this ramble will certainly require a certain amount of effort, pain and definitely perspiration. What it will do is take you into quiet Langdale, a ramble away from the throng ascending the Stickle Ghyll Path, an early start meant the tops were quiet, and the walk out just exuded solitude.

The National Trust car park next to Stickle Barn was busy, plenty of walkers donning boots and bags, the path up Stickle Ghyll already alive with a colourful trail of Langdale devotees, I joined them but not for long. At grid ref 290 070 on the 858ft contour a path branches off to the right, it's not hard to find, every single walker I saw heading up Stickle Ghyll ignored it except smart arse here, it's the easiest route up and the quietest, it guides you through some wonderful mountain scenery. With the most sensible route up the Langdale Pikes under foot I ascended the hill, the path wound to ease the gradient, passing under the climbing cliffs of Tarn Crag before reaching the crowds again at Stickle Tarn.

I turned my back on the busy tarn, ascending to the coll between Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark, not one single walker followed in my foot fall, perhaps I smell, the summit of Harrison Stickle was mine, all mine. I descended to the south, crossing the head of spectacular Dungeon Ghyll before ascending Thorn Crag, the views from this much ignored summit are quite spectacular, I rested a while, had a brew and drank in the scenery. The next section was a ridge walk, across the summit of Loft Crag to access Pike of Stickle followed by a hands on scramble to reach the rock crown, I met two walkers descending meaning I had the summit and views to myself.

From Pike of Stickle my route was laid out before me, a traverse of Mortcrag Moor, a good path crosses the mass of peat bog and sphagnum moss, although devoid of people this was not my intended route. To start I followed said path, after crossing the head of Troughton Beck I stepped off it's safe secure surface, avoiding boggy ground the best I could making steady progress to the edge of the moor where boggy slopes plunge nearly 1,800ft into Mickleden. I then continued along the edge of the precipitous drop soon reaching the boulder strewn summit of Mort Crag, a good spot to drain my flask. From Mort Crag sheep tracks and the odd section of higher dryer ground guided me to the head of Stake Pass. My route now turned south, descending through a landscape of glacial moraine, once free of the humps and mounds deposited by the retreating Langdale glacier 12,000 years ago, I had the tumbling waters of Stake Gill for company. The long descent deposited me in Mickleden one of two lonely valleys at the head of Great Langdale, all that remained the long valley walk back, and I'm afraid there's no avoiding the people on this section of the route. Call me selfish if you wish but I've just had a bloody good day out.

view route map.


Looking to Side Pike and Lingmoor Fell from the Stickle Ghyll Path.

Views over Great Langdale from the quiet route up the fell.

From the shadow of Tarn Crag views to Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike.

Pavey Ark over Stickle Tarn.

The lonely path to Harrison Stickle.

Wonderful views down Great Langdale, admired from the ascent of Harrison Stickle.

Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn with a backdrop of Lakeland giants, kissed by cloud to the left the Helvellyn massif, to the right mighty Fairfield and it's lieutenants.

Stunning views to Windermere Lake over the pastures of Great Langdale

Looming high above Loft Crag, Crinkle Crags.

Soaking up the views from Harrison Stickle.

Views over the deep cut chasm of Dungeon Ghyll.

Seen from Thorn Crag, the deep ravine of Dungeon Ghyll backed by the cliffs of Harrison Stickle.

Pike of Stickle seen from the summit of Loft Crag.

Wonderful views into Little Langdale with Lingmoor Fell to the left, Pike of Blisco the right and cloud capped Wetherlam dominating the horizon.

Pike of Blisco backed by Wetherlam.

Looking to Mortcrag Moor and the summit of Stake Pass, with Glaramara dominating the horizon.

Views from the summit of Pike of Stickle, the head of Mickleden with Bow Fell under cloud and the lower Rossett Pike in sunlight and shade.

Traversing Mortcrag Moor, heading for Mort Crag the pile of scattered boulders ahead.

The summit Mort Crag.

Cloud tumbles over the summit of Bow Fell.

Descending through a landscape of glacial moraine at the head of Stake Pass.

Wonderful views from the Stake Pass, let Mickleden guide the eye passed the dark shadow of Pike of Stickle into the pastures of Great Langdale.

Raven Crag dwarfs the buildings of the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

Seen from field paths opposite the Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, cloud capped Crinkle Crags with The Band rising to the right.

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