A walk in the Langdale Pikes


Two days after our walk from Hebden Bridge to Hardcastle Crags, we set out early and drove up to the Lake District. I’d managed to book a room in the Langdale Valley for a night so that we could spend a couple of days walking in he fells. We struck luck as the weather was perfect. Sunny skies, warm, but not too warm, and not humid and sticky.

I’d fancied climbing the Langdale Pikes since last September when we did a low level walk along the valley with out friend Pam who was over from Tasmania. The peaks looked tempting. They’re hard to miss – we’d seen them again during our walks from Grasmere earlier this year and are visible from the shore of Windermere. So we had planned for our first day to climb up from the valley up to Stickle Tarn and tackle at least one of the rugged peaks.

It was a beautiful day as we left the National Trust car park near the Sticklebarn and headed for the steep path that would take us up to the tarn via Stickle Ghyll.


It’s a popular trail with several options of routes to take when reaching the tarn at the top of the ghyll.


This photo (actually taken on our way via a different path down later in the day) gives an indication of how steep it is.


Here’s a few photos taken on the way up





As we climbed higher, looking back great views opened up and we could see Wetherlan, one of the Coniston Fells, over the top of Lingmoor Fell


Eventually we reached the top of the Ghyll to be greeted with a great view of Harrison Stickle, the highest of the Langdale Pikes, and Pavey Ark over Stickle Tarn

IMAG4808 We stopped for a while to eat our sandwiches and decided on our options while we took in the view.

I was keen to climb Harrison Stickle and we could have taken the direct path up from the end of the tarn,


but we decided to climb Pavey Ark first and then head along the ridge. It’s an imposing, craggy mountain with two main routes up to the top, neither of which could be described as easy. One route, via “Jacks Rake”,  goes diagonally across the face and is a borderline rock climb rather than a walk. We left that to the more reckless and adventurous (there were quite a few that day) and walked around the tarn to take the less challenging “North Rake”.


Not that it was an easy route. It was steep and hands as well as feet were required for much of the way.


We finally reached the top (2300feet) and looking along the ridge we could see the summit of Harrison Stickle.


Looking down we could see Stickle Tarn


We set off along the ridge with our objective clearly ahead.



When we reached the summit (2,415 feet) we were greeted with great views. Back down to Stickle Tarn with the hills of the Fairfield Horseshoe clearly visible on the horizon


Looking over Great Langdale and Lingmoor Fell towards the Coniston Fells


Looking towards Pike o’ Stickle with Bowfell in the background



The view down Great Langdale. Windermere clearly visible in the distance.


After a short rest we set off. Pike o’ Stickle looked tempting but we decided it was time to head back down into the valley. We decided to take the path that runs along the north side of Dungeon Ghyll. Looking down into the deep black hole it was clear how it got its name.


The path was a little hairy in places – a narrow ledge above a steep drop down into the Ghyll. But there were some views as we descended. And it’s a less trod route and a lot quieter than the during the rest of our walk.



Look back up the path we’d just traversed


Part way down we could see the summit of Pike Howe. Only a short climb to the summit from the path so the temptation couldn’t be ignored.


Looking down along Great Langdale


and back to Harrison Stickle


Horizontally it wasn’t far now to the bottom of the valley, but we were still quite high and it was a steep descent.

Eventually we reached our destination – the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel where we stopped off at the Walker’s bar for a well deserved drink


I’d booked us into a nice room with a four poster bed


on the corner of the hotel so there were good views out of both windows.



We slept well that night.


There’s a map and photographs of the route we took here


7 thoughts on “A walk in the Langdale Pikes

    • Thanks Barbara. It was an ambitious and challenging walk for us, although more seasoned walkers were “bagging” all of the peaks. But I think it’s important not to overdo it just for the sake of peak bagging.

    • I’m not one for “peak bagging” just for the sake of ticking off a list. A walk is to enjoy and doing something ambitious is satisfying but best to stay within limits. Being diabetic I have to eat regularly to top up the carbs (cereal bars are great for this) and be careful not to run out of supplies. Always need to keep some in reserve. So best to work within limitations and keep it enjoyable rather than an ordeal 🙂

      • My sentiments exactly! I have foot problems after breaking bones, and if I walk too much one day I’m in pain the next. So best to pace myself.

  1. Classic! I haven’t been to Langdale for a while and I’ve been thinking about rectifying that quite a bit over the last few weeks.

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