The Lake District Guide

Lake District Valley and Low-level Walks

Walks around Elterwater (continued)

Other walks around Elterwater here here here

A series of walks specially commissioned by the Langdale Estate, written by Tom Lawton.

The walks are divided equally between undemanding, leisurely strolls along the valley floors, to more adventurous explorations into the flanking fells. They all start and finish at the Langdale Estate.

The routes should be suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit. However, even experienced walkers call get into trouble when the weather turns nasty. Take detailed maps of the area with you. Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Series Maps numbers 6 and 7 cover all the walks listed.

Blea Rigg and Stickle Tarn

Walk 5: Blea Rigg and Stickle Tarn

A magnificent ridge-walk with fantastic views down into both Easedale and Great Langdale, and visiting Stickle Tarn. A gentle section along the sheltered Langdale Valley completes this absorbing route.

Distance: 14 km / 9 miles Ascent: 450 m / 1480 ft Time: 5 - 6hrs

Walk along the B5343 road, walking towards the Wainwright's Inn from the Langdale Estate. Turn right up the signed public footpath just beyond the bungalow named "Beckfoot".

Follow the path by veering left beside the stream to reach the minor lane above Chapel Stile. Turn left along the lane, but within 100 yards turn abruptly right by the side of a stone boundary wall to commence a steep climb up the craggy fellside. The rough path, somewhat obscure in places, zigzags through boulders and bracken gaining height very rapidly - climb this demanding section at a pace which is comfortable for you as the main objective of the walk is enjoyment!

Higher up, as you track around and above the boundary wall on your right, the path bcomes better defined as it leads above a steep gully on the right to reach the watercourse of Meg's Gill ahead. Cross the rocky bed of the stream by veering around tot he left, away from the severe drop on the right. On the far side of the gill be vigilant to treat carefully along the narrow fairly exposed path which tracks to the right as it leads further up the fellside on a more comfortable gradient.

The way continues up a grassy bank to reach, in quick succession, two cairns: the second of these is quite large and marks an important intersection of ways. Turn westwards at this point and follow the path which then tracks through the catchment area of Meg's Gill to reach the main walking route, which snakes along the undulating ridge.

The ridge progressively rises to Blea Rigg, some 3 km to the north-west. There are several alternative routes along the craggy ridge which leads north-westwards, progressively gaining height to reach the high ground of Blea Rigg. It does not matter too much which particular sections of path you use, providing you keep going towards the crest of the spur. You should pass a number of secluded tarns located within the folds of the fell.

The correct continuation way leads across the upper reaches of Swinescar Hause and then over
the craggy ground of Little and Great Castle Hows to reach Blea Rigg. Now be careful to progress further westwards over relatively featureless ground and in doing this avoid the branch in the path to your right, as this leads northwest to Sergeant Man and is for another day!

Ahead, the path becomes somewhat obscure in places and this area can be challenging in misty conditions. Exercise care and keep walking westwards, surrendering height only marginally, until you spot the certain landmark of Stickle Tarn down below to the west-south-west.

Walk down to this wild place, which is cupped within the embraces of the towering rock faces of the Langdale Pikes. You may have to cross open fellside before you connect with one of the narrow paths leading to the water's edge.

Turn left along the bank of the tarn and follow the well-used path which will bring you to the dam across Stickle Ghyll, the exit stream. Descend the steep, craggy gully keeping to the left hand bank of the stream to walk past Tarn Crag. The way down is quite exacting, crossing over and between boulders and loose scree.

Some years back, an alternative way down was developed which avoids some of the most difficult, badly eroded ground below, by threading away to the left from the rocky gully and then leading you down by a series of twists and turns across the more open fellsides. You are advised to follow this route down which has become well-defined through heavy usage.

Towards the bottom of the gully, the recommended descent connects with the older routes and the merged way is used to reach and pass by the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, having crossed over the beck in the process.

Walk down to and cross over the B5343, and on the far side turn left through the car park to continue along the wide track which leads eastwards along Great Langdale. This eventually reconnects with the road, which is used for a short distance before you turn off right along the footpath which takes you down to, and across, Great Langdale Beck to reach the Cumbria way near to Oak Howe.

Lingmoor Fell and Blea Tarn

This walk is a delight from start to finish. Lingmoor Fell's craggy vantage points command superb views of the surrounding higher fells. The sheltered waters of Blea Tarn provide the perfect contrast and offer some of the best sightings of the Langdale Pikes.

Distance: 13 km / 8 miles Ascent: 530 m / 1740ft Time: 4.5 - 6hrs

Use the road bridge in Elterwater to cross over Great Langdale Beck. Continue along the road passing by the Youth Hostel before bearing uphill along the lane on the right. Turn right again at the next fork to pass by the cottage named "Ullet Nest". Some distance on, branch off along a vehicle-wide path on your left which leads more steeply uphill. This turning is signed "Public Bridleway" and it initially passes between two stone pillars.

A clear traverse now leads further up the fellside and after a sharp turn to the left, which is now signed, it winds up to connect with main continuation paths along the crest of the rising ridge. This fusion is immediately after you have crossed over a stone wall by means of a gate and stile combination.

Turn right and use a combination of the several alternative ways along the undulating ridge to make further progress to reach the craggy summit rocks of Ungmoor Fell. In doing this, keep in contact with the continuation of the stone walling on your right which will serve as a faithful guiding marker.

The way is somewhat indistinct in places, but further on a reassuring line of small cairns is reached, and here the way becomes better defined again. Be vigilant now to a fork right up a steeper section of rough path which zigzags to higher ground to lead you to a wire fence coming in on your right. Follow the line of this further up the slope and then cross over it by the stile to reach the knobbly summit of Lingmoor Fell.

There follows a steepish descent to the west before a continuing, undulating route progressively surrenders further height along an interesting and varied path, where some elementary scrambling may be called for. The most challenging ground is behind and above when you reach a benign, grassy coll which connects Lingmoor Fell to formidable rocky buttresses of Side Pike, now looming up directly ahead of you. These daunting obstacles are avoided by turning left and descending south-west along the rough stone path which leads sharply down to the roadway below.

Turn left along the road and use this to pass by Bleatarn House and reach the upgraded path on your right which leads west from the car parking area spanning the short distance down to the southern tip of Blea Tarn. Cross Bleamoss Beck and bear right along the refurbished path to walk through a wooded area along the western shore of the sheltered tarn.

Further on, keep to the left along the higher, stony way to converge with the road again, just below the western slopes of Side Pike. (Note: if time is pressing, the suggested loop around Blea Tarn may be short-circuited by turning right when you first descend to the road and then walking the short distance along this to connect with the main route at the point last described.)

Cross over the road, turn left along the adjacent footpath and use this to descend around and below Side Pike into Great Langdale, bearing right during your way down to connect with the Cumbria Way running below along the valley floor. This leads to the south of Side House before climbing slightly uphill again before a partially enclosed path leads eastwards further down the valley to bring you to Oak Howe.

Try some delicious Lakeland recipes - or submit your own for our readers to try.

Full Lakeland recipe details here!