|Outline Map →||Route file →|
|Easedale Tarn partial pan >|
|High Raise partial pan >|
|Bow Fell partial pan >|
Date: 08 Oct 2004
Start / Finish: Grasmere.
Maps: Explorer OL6 & OL7: English Lakes South West & South East.
|Day 1||Langdale Pikes & Angle Tarn||11 miles / 4000 feet (17.7km / 1219m)|
|Day 2||Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags & Pike o' Blisco||7 miles / 2400 feet (11.3km / 731m)|
|Day 3||Lingmoor Fell & Silver How||6 miles / 1710 feet (9.7km / 521m)|
An eastern approach to a fine circuit of the Langdale mountains, using the Easedale Tarn path that we had never walked before, and returning via the lower fells South of Grasmere.
The approach to Easedale Tarn was made particularly colourful by the rich autumnal hue of the bracken, contrasting with the foaming white of Sourmilk Gill and clear blue sky. We had often seen the tarn from above with many people snaking up the path, but the area was deserted today, which must be very unusual and we took a pan photo in comfort. Just after the striking cone of Belles Knot, we crossed the gill and took a side path to the attractive but much less frequented Codale Tarn. Crossing the outflow on the E side, there is an indistinct path through a rather wet area that heads towards Tarn Crag, and we left it to climb the pathless but easy slopes on the R of a small inflow stream that bends L around Lang Crag. Past the head of the stream lie some small tarns and just beyond is Codale Head, the first mountain of the day and a great view. A short stroll NW along a damp grassy path leads to the trig point on the broad summit of High Raise, the highest of todays mountains and great clear views, especially towards Bow Fell.
Heading S on a grassy path, rating about an 8 on the squelchometer after the recent rain, an otherwise easy walk brought us to Thunacar Knott, where the main highlight is an attractive tarn between the prominent cairn and the true summit a little to the S. By this time Pavey Ark had attracted the expected retinue from Langdale as we walked across to see if there was any chance of a good photo from the top of the cliffs, but it didn't really work. Circling around to Harrison Stickle, there were excellent views all around. Bypassing Pike of Stickle, whose tiny top seemed to be covered in people, we took the path NW across Martcrag Moor, where some stones have been laid to assist with the peaty bits, and around the wet head of Langdale Combe. Becoming indistinct, the line eventually arrives at the starkly situated black mirror of Angle Tarn against the backdrop of steep cliffs.
The main highway climbs NW and we collected water at a tiny stream at the head of Allencrags Gill. At the cross windshelter, a further climb SW to Esk Hause gave us our first grassy pitch, which was very welcome after a pretty hard day. This was a fine situation, surrounded by Ill Crag, Esk Pike and Great End. A cold breeze was developing as the sun sank behind the Scafells and clouds raced in to form a colourful backcloth to the peaks.
A clear and cold windy dawn cast an orange light on the mountains, but was soon masked by rising mist as we set off for Esk Pike, where we lamented the lack of views for the second time on this mountain. However as we descended to Ore Gap and started to climb, patches of blue appeared and we arrived at the summit of Bow Fell with crystal clear air and not another person in sight, which is a rare treat that we have savoured twice now, a superb panorama of mountains. Descending to Three Tarns, the first troops of the Langdale legions were marching up via The Band, with the vast majority turning R to Bow Fell.
The views were now only intermittent as more cloud developed, with mist coming and going as we undulated on the rocky tops of Shelter Crags and Crinkle Crags. We took the eroded circuitous path down from the main top that curves around to the foot of the Bad Step, where one walker was trying to persuade his dog up the rock ledge but it was having none of it - both gave up and followed the detour. To add to the entertainment, a fell race was in progress with many runners haring downwards towards the Bad Step and shouting in advance for anyone in the way to stand clear. Traversing the S top, we joined the main path SE and diverted to Great Knott, passing the tarn at its foot. This is a great vantage point for the Crinkle Crags ridge and Bow Fell.
Rejoining the main path down to Red Tarn, a clear red path heralds a stiff climb to the rocky top of Pike o' Blisco, which although rising to a modest 2313', felt like a mountain and a half at this stage of the day. Being a Marilyn, its steep isolated cone gives a great all round view. An intermittent path descends E to join the top of a section currently under repair, which becomes an established pitched path that goes on for a long tiring time to Redacre Gill and the minor road.
Ascending the road R to a cattle grid, a ladder stile L gives access to a thin contouring path through a wall gap on the R. This roughly parallels the road round to a stile and a steep climb L to the ridge, where we made our second pitch below the cliffs of Side Pike.
Dawn was cloudy but mist free as we climbed the ridge, which gave great views of the dark Langdale Pikes. This was to be an easy half day and we descended to explore Lingmoor Tarn, which is more attractive than appears from above, and the sun appeared. Rejoining the ridge to the summit of Lingmoor Fell, another of Marilyn status, there are excellent views for such a small height. Crossing to the R of the wall at a short section of fence (308043), a well worn path curves round and down to a metal gate and a clear path and track through the old quarries. A woodland track continues the route, and around Yew Crags the bridleway passes through the working quarry to Chapel Stile (public toilets and bins).
The lane NE leads to a footpath that climbs steeply to the R of Raven Crag to join one of many obvious paths on the undulating high ground hereabouts. Turning NE and choosing the most appealing paths in the network, we arrived at Silver How just as ominous clouds appeared in the E, giving a stark contrast between the sunlit foreground and very dark fells beyond. The worn path from the summit leads easily back to Grasmere.