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Langdale #2 / 2 days / 21 miles (34km)

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Date: 21 Apr 2005
Start / Finish: Elterwater.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 6: English Lakes South West.

Day 1Lingmoor Fell to Little Stand8 miles / 4160 feet (12.9km / 1267m)
Day 2Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and Blea Rigg13 miles / 2660 feet (20.9km / 810m)

Another circuit of Langdale, the main objective this time being the area around Cold Pike and Little Stand. This is another little frequented Lakeland gem, in particular the delightful tarn at the summit of Little Stand was one of our most memorable pitches. On day 2 we traversed the whole ridge from Little Stand and Crinkle Crags to the North top of Bow Fell in sunshine and complete solitude. Only a few traces of snow remained.

Day 1 - Lingmoor Fell to Little Stand

From the National Trust car park, we took the quarry access road NW and forked R at a footpath sign to descend to the river. The track curves L along the river and climbs to pass through the quarry yard, where signs show the way through. Crossing a minor road, a track continues SW climbing through the wood to the open slopes. At a waymark, the path bends back L and climbs to a stile/gate. From here the ridge fence leads directly to the summit of Lingmoor Fell. The views from here are very fine on a good day, but the high tops were still misted out and the air was murky today.

The ridge fence descends to the foot of Side Pike, where we descended steeply L to a stile and followed the path above the road to a ladder stile at the cattle grid. A path directly opposite contours around to join the main path to Pike o'Blisco at Redacre Gill. The sheltered position made hot work of the 1300' climb up the cone of Pike o'Blisco, but there was a chilly wind at the top. The tops were all clear now but it was still very hazy. Descending towards Red Tarn, the easiest line to Cold Pike is to follow the main Crinkle Crags highway to the first streamlet crossing the path, then climb the pathless but easy slopes L. The main top is quickly reached, and there are several cairns.

Coniston fells from Cold Pike
Coniston fells from Cold Pike (21 Apr 2005__14:06:51)
Cold Pike from ridge tarn
Cold Pike from ridge tarn (21 Apr 2005__14:23:24)

The other tops in Cold Pike's trio of summits can be seen close to the W, each honoured by a cairn, and the way ahead is indicated by a stile below in the new electric fence. This is a good pathless corner to explore, and the Far West top has an attractive tarn below on the L. We headed NW to the bottom of an obvious deep rocky cleft where Gaitscale Gill emerges, and collected good water. From here we slanted up SW towards Little Stand, passing some reedy pools and gaining the cairn, where a most delectable tarn lies right next to the summit, cradled by rocks and perched above the steep plunge to the valley. We pitched the tent above the shore as the sun finally shone forth, and we spent over an hour exploring this fine summit area, descending to investigate another smaller pool perched on a rock shelf well below to the S. This was a splendid pitch, and it's a pity the air wasn't clearer to make the very best of the mountain views.

The three summits of Cold Pike
The three summits of Cold Pike (21 Apr 2005__15:06:33)
Little Stand summit tarns
Little Stand summit tarns (21 Apr 2005__16:10:15)
Tent pitch by Little Stand summit tarn
Tent pitch by Little Stand summit tarn (21 Apr 2005__16:12:37)
Little Stand ledge pool
Little Stand ledge pool (21 Apr 2005__16:27:42)

Day 2 - Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and Blea Rigg

The sky remained clear overnight and the tent was bathed in the silvery glow of the moon, while the wind made the moonlight dance on the tarn. As the red sun rose in the haze and the tops were silhouetted on the dawn sky, we could hardly bear to leave the summit, but there was a fairly long day ahead. There was to be unbroken sunshine the whole day, but the wind was really cold in the morning.

There is a hint of a path heading N along the broad ridge, and we joined the main Crinkle Crags path via another stile in the electric fence just before the S top. We traversed the whole ridge from here to the N top of Bow Fell in total solitude, a rare treat indeed. The air was still hazy but the local views of nearby mountains to the North and West were clear. At Ore Gap we descended the path towards Angle Tarn, collecting good water at the stream head. The tarn had some tents pitched by it as expected, it will probably resemble a holiday camp later in the year. Comparing this with our beautiful quiet pitch last night, well, each to his own...

Dawn from tent pitch on Little Stand
Dawn from tent pitch on Little Stand (22 Apr 2005__06:26:36)
Early light on Little Stand ridge
Early light on Little Stand ridge (22 Apr 2005__06:49:08)
Early light on the Crinkles
Early light on the Crinkles (22 Apr 2005__06:50:55)
Bow Fell, Esk Pike & Great End from Crinkle Crags
Bow Fell, Esk Pike & Great End from Crinkle Crags (22 Apr 2005__07:17:59)
The Scafells from Crinkle Crags
The Scafells from Crinkle Crags (22 Apr 2005__07:18:30)
The Scafells over a ridge pool
The Scafells over a ridge pool (22 Apr 2005__08:01:47)
Rock pool near Three Tarns
Rock pool near Three Tarns (22 Apr 2005__08:27:41)

Just after crossing the Angletarn Gill outflow, a path branches off L that ascends gently to Martcrag Moor, passing the tarn near the path junction and climbing the soggy moor towards Pike of Stickle. Where the path descends a little and begins the final climb, we left it to cross the stream and head E to the summit of Thunacar Knott and its lovely tarn, decorated today by the last of the snow. Taking the path towards High Raise, just after it begins to climb, a path branches R that leads to another group of attractive tarns near Sergeant Man.

Angle Tarn & Esk Pike
Angle Tarn & Esk Pike (22 Apr 2005__10:52:44)
Thunacar Knott Tarn
Thunacar Knott Tarn (22 Apr 2005__12:53:29)

Descending SE and keeping a careful eye on the paths hereabouts, we aimed for the Blea Rigg ridge, with good aerial views of Codale Tarn, Easedale Tarn and Stickle Tarn below. The cairned path is good for a while, but then seems to lose itself in a number of fainter paths amid the complex terrain of rock cliffs and grassy gullies. We ended up descending a steep rock gully only to rediscover the clear well worn path coming round to meet us. The path arrives at a pair of tarns, then weaves around Swinescar Pike to the larger and mainly overgrown Youdell Tarn, not named on the map, which has a small patch of clear water in the middle.

We took the path to the R of the tarn that meanders along the valley edge and descends into the impressive deep cleft of Megs Gill. A narrow alpine-like path contours out above the very steep slope then undulates across Spedding Crag to a dip. A final pair of cairned humps and the descent into Elterwater begins, which is confused by the plethora of paths, none of which appear to go towards the village. We finally emerged at the minor road by Huntingstile Crag and took the track across Walthwaite Bottom to the lane into Elterwater.

The cleft of Megs Gill
The cleft of Megs Gill (22 Apr 2005__16:16:23)