The Lake District Guide

Lake District Mountain and Fell Walks 20


Cold Pike


Start/finish There are several largish parking spaces close by the Three Shire Stone on Wrynose Pass, and just above it, grid ref 276028.
Distance 4 miles/6.5km
Time 3-4 hours
Height gained 1000ft/306m
Terrain The outward route climbs steadily on a distinct rocky path for a 1000ft to the summit of Cold Pike. It then descends on narrow grassy paths, slanting downwards towards the ascent route. As you go always look ahead to see where it continues.
Refreshments Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale
Toilets None on walk
Map OS Explorer OL 6
Transport None

Start this walk from the Three Shire Stone on Wrynose Pass and climb a distinct path to Red Tarn, where some walkers might wish to return the same way. This route continues on and ascends, quite easily, to the summit on Cold Pike. It then descends the slopes using a narrow grassy path, which crosses two little streams racing downhill which soon unite to become the infant River Duddon.

1 Stand beside the Three Shire Stone and follow the signpost to walk an obvious path. It winds round a wet area, where a small stream bubbles along, and then bears right, round a hillock, before twisting again and upward. Very soon you pass a small cairn on your left. This is where your return path, down from Cold Pike, joins the main path. Keep on up the main path to cross a small tributary. Eventually the gradient eases and this is the place to sit on a rock while you enjoy the view of Harter Fell and Wetherlam.

2 Go on up a slightly steeper part of the path, now with Pike o’ Bliscoe to your right and the aim of the walk, Cold Pike, to your left. Carry on up with Crinkle Crags coming into view and with Bowfell, peeping over their tops, beyond. After climbing for a short time, the path levels again and to your left lie two small pools which no doubt feed the River Duddon. A few more steps and you can see the full length of the reed-fringed oval-shaped shallow Red Tarn. The path keeps well above it and there are some well placed boulders here for another pause. As you progress the path becomes quite red and little lumps of haematite (60% iron) weigh heavily when you hold them in your hand.

3 Carry on along the path and follow it as it turns left, beyond the tarn, at a patch of red shale. Step across the outlet from the tarn as it hurries to descend Brown Gill into Great Langdale. Continue up the partly pitched path, with Great Knott towering to your right. Just before a cairn that denotes the point where the path winds right to ascend Crinkle Crags, take an indistinct path, left, just before a little stream. This grassy way soon becomes clear as it climbs gently. Pass two cairns along the easy ridge and then follow the now steeper path as it winds through rocky outcrops, with a few blocks of rock needing a big step up, to reach a flatter area. Curve right, and then left, round the summit of mammoth blocks of rock and then climb left, a little bit more, to reach the fine cairned top of Cold Pike and enjoy the stunning view.

4 Descend the few steps to the flattish area. Ahead and a little right is another, but slightly lower, ‘tower’ of blocks also cairned. Follow the path as it passes left, between the two tops and then winds down right, through a little valley to pick up a more distinct path coming in on your right. Here wind left, keeping parallel for a short way with the ancient boundary fence, on your right. Keep a lookout for the little path as it winds and descends and soon comes beside a small tarn. Where the way becomes boggy, a small cairn marks the best route. You can now spot vehicles parked far below on the Pass, and left, Red Tarn.

5 The descent lessens as the narrow path crosses the valley floor, taking you easily across boggy patches in the direction of your way of ascent. At a small stream, one of the tributaries of the Duddon, step across on boulders and carry on the grassy path as it continues on it way down towards the Pass. Carry on to the next feeder stream, a wider one, which is easily crossed and climb the slope beyond and stroll on. As you near the main path the ground becomes quite wet and the path disappears. Here you will need to pick your way across. Head on along the re-emerged way to join the main path and turn right at the little cairn to retrace your outwards steps to the parking area.

Three Shire Stone 4128
Family on their way up main track 4132
Red Tarn 4136
Summit of Cold Pike 4144

Wild Boar Fell

Most walkers climb Wild Boar Fell from Mallerstang but this challenging route ascends from Stennerskeugh. There are few paths up but this is an exhilarating way to reach the dramatic top and stroll the superb escarpment. The bridleway is a delight to descend.


Start/finish Park on the edge of Cote Moor, the common land on either side of the narrow road to Street, grid ref 739016. This is reached from Sedbergh by the A683. Once you have crossed Rawthey Bridge, carry on for nearly 3 miles to take the right turn signposted, Street and Stennerskeugh.
Distance 5.75 miles/9.4km
Time 4 hours
Height gained 1366ft/420m
Terrain Indistinct intermittent paths to the summit. Easy descent on the recently restored bridleway.
Refreshments Black Swan and Fat Lamb Inn, both at Ravenstonedale
Toilets None on walk
Map OS Explorer 19
Transport Infrequent service. Stagecoach 564. Woofs of Sedbergh/Cumbria Classic coaches 569 (Summer service only). For info phone Traveline 0871 200 2233.

The Walk

1 From where you have parked, walk on along the narrow road and follow it as it swings left. Beside you on the right, behind a mossy wall, stands a castellated folly, with fine trees behind it. It is a remnant of Hwith House, built in 1868 by a John Hewetson, who gave it its strange name, composed of the initials of the first names of his five sons. Stroll on to take the first turning on the right, Clouds Lane. The tarmac soon runs out and you continue up a rough, walled track lined, in summer, with pretty flowers, to reach a gate onto the open fell. Go ahead on a grassy track, used by a farm vehicle, which bears slightly right as it climbs. Keep to the left side of a fine limestone scarp and then a second scarp. Go on ahead in the same general direction over the moorland to reach a derelict sheepfold.

2 Beyond a small stream, the now rather wet track winds away left and disappears. Here climb the slope ahead on an obvious path that has been colonised by square rush (it can stand trampling) veering slightly left. When it disappears, turn right, soon to pick up traces of a path going ahead along the top of this small ridge and then down to Greenrigg Moss.

3 Follow a faint path or animal track across it. It is wet in places but it is generally possible to step across or wind round any really boggy areas and to arrive at the other side dry-shod. Then climb straight up a more serious hill slope to reach the left side of attractive Sand Tarn. Cross the outlet stream and wind round right, climbing gently. Follow a faint trod as it turns left, still ascending and then carry on up a short steepish slope to the summit plateau. Head straight across to the trig point, tucked inside a rather tumbledown shelter.

4 Take a south-easterly path to see the fascinating cairns on Yoadcomb Scar. Then turn north to walk along the glorious escarpment, over Blackbed Scar, and then onto the Nab, from where you begin your descent to High Dolphinsty. Here the bridleway from Mallerstang crosses the ridge to begin its descent to Stennerskeugh.

5 Go left, through the way marked gate, and walk the bridleway. It has had much work done on it. The way pleasingly descends and contours, passing through several gates, going over two well-constructed fords, and past lead mining spoil. Continue on to pass through the gate taken at the outset of the walk to return to the parking area.

Summit trig point and shelter 3497
Cairns on Yoadcomb Scar 3499

Copyright Mary Welsh, © 2008. All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.