The Lake District Guide

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Lake District Mountain and Fell Walks


1 Langdale Pikes via Jack's Rake

This will take you about 4 hours, and you need the Ordnance Survey map OL6 to take this walk. The details given here are only an outline which will help you plan your route.

The Langdale Pikes are one of the most popular and accessible high level walks in the Lakes - and with good reason. The ascent is never dull, the scenery magnificent, and the rewards of reaching the top great. The climb is fairly stiff, but anyone in reasonable condition should be able to do this without too much difficulty.

Jack's Rake is a challenge, and if you have any doubt about your ability to complete it, you should leave it well alone. Certainly do not attempt it when the mist is down or the rain is falling - it's far too slippery to take a chance. That said, it's great fun for most reasonably strong fell walkers, and my 15 year old son loved it.

The walk starts at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Behind the inn you'll find a gate leading to two tracks, of which you want the right hand one, the one that climbs directly up the west bank of Stickle Ghyll.

You soon cross the water as the track continues to ascend steeply. There's another crossing before you finally arrive at Stickle Tarn - a popular place for a picnic. The last time my companion and I had lunch there we found we'd left the corkscrew at home and the sardine can opener broke off as we opened the can. We feasted on bread and cheese and water from the tarn and took the other components of our lunch home again.

You can get a sense of Jacks' Rake at this point by walking clockwise around the tarn and crossing the scree until you arrive at the diagonal line of the Rake. It goes upwards to the left across the face of the cliff at roughly forty-five degrees.

If you're in the mood, it's a highly entertaining scramble, but note that it gets harder as you go higher. At first, the Rake is almost like a staircase, enclosed between two walls of rock, but near the top there are awkward boulders to cross and a choice of several scrambles to take you to the top of the Rake, which emerges southwest of the top of Pavey Ark.

If you don't want the challenge and excitement of Jack's Rake, take the path along the side of the tarn and follow it up to the summit plateau of Harrison Stickle.

After resting and celebrating your triumph over Jack's Rake, you can walk across the higher ground to the summit of Harrison Stickle.

Follow the path down in a west-north-west direction to a wide col. There's a short but steep ascent to the top of Pike O'Stickle. There are traces of ancient archaeology here: and indeed, many years ago, a companion and I discovered a stone axe head on the descent from Pike O'Stickle - proof that Neolithic man was indeed resident in the Lakes.

From here, you traverse the boggy reaches of Hartcrag Moor to Stake Pass, from where you can see the path down - it's a roughish descent, and can be hard on the knees, although it is much improved since the renovations of a few years ago. Go down Stake Gill to Mickleden. You'll see the Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel and you can follow the path directly to it. You can then go back to the starting point of the walk for refreshments.

Jack's Rake - Dangers

Read this before you go!

 


2 Lingmell

A four hour walk which explores the beauty of Lingmell. Use the OS Map Explorer OL6 to plan your route - this is only an outline of the walk.

This is a challenging walk and you need to be both cool-headed and fairly experienced to complete it. The starting point is the walkers' car park just south of Wasdale Head. There's a waymarked route in a north easterly direction signposted to Great Gable, which reaches Burnthwaite farm after about 800 metres. You take a left turn just before you get to the farmhouse to pass through a gate onto the Moses Trod. Stick to the main path and ignore any side trails: you want to be heading east.

One kilometre on, the main path climbs to Sty Head. However, you want the branch alongside the beck and you follow this until the beck divides into two streams, approximately one kilometre upstream. Cross over the left hand stream as you look at them and follow the path alongside the right hand stream. This will eventually take you into the depths of the Piers Ghyll ravine.

The path begins to get difficult when you reach the rugged vertical crags on the ghyll side. The path turns away from the chasm and up a buttress via a series of polished steps. Have fun with the scramble over the ledges and rocks until you reach the easier ground where Piers Ghyll turns through ninety degrees and becomes less deep. It's a short walk on the rough ground at the top of the ghyll to the junction of several tracks. Take the track leading west for only 100 metres before you turn right to a wall, which you follow until you get to Lingmell col. You can then climb northwest until you reach the summit, at which sage you will have been walking for about three hours.

Your descent lies along the west ridge. The simplest option on this confusing terrain is to initially keep to the north of Goats Crag, bearing in mind that you subsequently need to bear southwest and cross the an old wall before you head west-south-west over the slope of the plateau. You'll see that the ridge soon becomes much more clearly defined, and after you've passed over some rough terrain there's a smooth and easy descent alongside the wall. Hop over the stile and go on for 300 metres or so until you reach a wide path from the north. You can take this path until you reach a footbridge over the beck, at which point you cross the beck and head back to the starting point of the walk.


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