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Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves...

Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves...


Postby ciderpeter » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:41 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Bowfell, Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags

Hewitts included on this walk: Bowfell, Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags (Long Top)

Date walked: 17/03/2012

Time taken: 6.5

Distance: 16.8 km

Ascent: 1108m

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When I got a phone call on Thursday asking if I was out on Saturday for a big ish walk, I said yes without much thought and then looked at the forecast. It didn’t look great, particularly in the Western and Southern Lakes where I wanted to walk – closer to home and I have done loads of Eastern Fells recently. The forecast was for low cloud and rain/snow. This was a tad annoying considering every day for the previous week (except the Saturday when I had been out!!) had seen amazing inversion conditions... I finished work at Friday lunchtime and walked home to check the weather – wow, what a change! The forecast was now suggesting 90% of cloud free summits (albeit dropping to 50% later in the day) across the park... although there was still snow forecast for later in the day! I had in my mind that I fancied Bowfell even if the weather wasn’t great – it is one of my favourite fells and I have not been up there for almost 12 months... so it was decided, with the new improved forecast this was the route of choice, heading either left to Crinkle Crags or right to Esk Pike when we got up there.

Setting off from home we got a gorgeous view of a cloud free Lake District with milky skies and a beautiful inversion over the Duddon – picking up my companion for the day, also called Peter and Oscar his dog, Todd’s best friend.
We got to Langdale at about 7.30 having driven through a few mini inversions on the way along Coniston and at the entrance to the valley. We were unsure if the clouds would roll down the valley towards us, but to be honest we couldn’t argue with the weather so far! We were walking before 8 and the weather looked good across the valley.

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And back along the valley we could see the beginnings of the cloud rolling down the valley.

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We set off at a decent pace (more than a decent pace I found out later, we had covered the first 600m of Bowfell in an hour!) and were rewarded as we climbed The Band with beautiful views of the Langdales, bathed in sunshine.

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This seemed a good point to catch our breath and get a couple of snaps of me and the boy! We were both saying at this point “I wish I had worn shorts or zip-offs” as opposed to winter trousers! The sweat was literally rolling off us. Good for the complexion though apparently?!

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And so we continued up The Band... this ridge runs all the way up to Three Tarns, which is between Bowfell and Crinkle Crags but we were targeting a much more interesting route today! I had wanted to attempt the Climber’s Traverse - which sees you walk up the side of Bowfells Great Slab – for a long while and today was the day. About two thirds of the way up The Band you fork off right. For now though the excitement of the Traverse had to wait and the focus was on the climb! Here is a shot looking towards the Crinkles.

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Just after this we stopped for breakfast – well descerved too... we had walked about 4km and climbed 600m in an hour, a good effort and it wasn’t surprising we were hot! Soon cooled down though when we stopped moving, which was a good reminder that spring wasn’t quite here yet. Here is PD enjoying a view of distant Skiddaw and Blencathra.

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And here is the route up Bowfell... the obvious path to the left takes you to Three Tarns and is the most commonly walked route. You can make out a route to the right however which is the route we would be taking, around the front of the Bowfell Crags to the Great Slab. A much rougher route, but a lot more interesting for the final 300m to the summit! Also a good route to avoid the tourists in the summer!! Although we were the only ones around at the moment, probably a combination of our pace and being early!

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After breakfast we took the fork to the right and headed for the Climber’s Traverse. Here is a beautiful shot of Todd having a relax in the sun... probably one of my favourite pictures of him! He seems to be one of the most photogenic dogs around!

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And as we get to the shoulder of the initial climb, we get to see the Climbers Traverse sweeping around the front of Bowfell. A reasonably exposed route, but a joy to walk. It is given the name the Climbers Traverse not because it is a rocky scramble, but because it is a walk/traverse to the Bowfell Buttress where climbers can have a bit of fun!

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Part way along, Todd has a look across to the Langdales and back along the route we walked – probably thinking “oh I forgot to wee on that rock!”... To which I quickly yanked him back and told him to get on with it!

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The traverse ends all too quickly and it is suddenly time to almost double back on yourself and climb up the side of the Great Slab. Unfortunately the sun was just coming over the top of Bowfell, which made it virtually impossible to see anything, let alone photograph it!

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This one looking back down the final scrambley stuff gives an idea of the exposure of the traverse – it is nothing to worry about, but a fall might hurt a little bit!

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Once at the top of the slab, there is a short and sweet climb over rocks to the summit of Bowfell, which on a day like this offers unrivalled views across to the Scafells and Mickledore. We were virtually the first people within sight of the summit so decided to set up camp and have a brew. Within 20 minutes there were probably another 5 people who had visited us!

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As we stayed on the summit there were bizarre clouds forming, appearing to rise out of the Langdale valley... Todd is running away from them here I think – you know what he thinks of the cold!

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With the imminent arrival of the clouds, we left the summit and descended the more usual route from Bowfell to Three Tarns. We had decided on Crinkle Crags to be the next summit. Having been the first people on Bowfell we probably saw another 6 on the way up from Three Tarns and then about 50 more as we passed across the Crinkles. It was amazing that even with a mixed bag forecast there were people out in just t-shirts without a rucksack, so obviously without waterproofs and warm layers... Whilst it may seem mad, I was a little envious of their light loads! As you will see though, the early bird definitely did catch the worm and we comfortably had the best weather of the day on the summit! Clouds were now looming big style in the East and our decision to bring warm/dry clothes was looking like it would be justified!!

Stopping at Three Tarns I got the standard picture across to the Scafells...

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And a little bit further on Bowfell is looking impressive and majestic. You can see how the clouds have come in though and suddenly it is feeling like we might get wet at some point – incredible when you look back at the weather earlier in the day.

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Before long we were in and out of cloud as we worked our way along the Crinkle Crags ridge. Whilst the views had mostly disappeared the clouds were not clinging to the hills so you could still see along the ridge and off the sides, which made it quite an atmospheric walk and still good fun!

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I am the sort of person who does things properly and had to go to each of the five summits of Crinkle Crags. PD was slightly less willing to do that as he has done them so many times, so here is a picture of him walking around the first Crinkle whilst I summit it!

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You can see what I mean in this next picture as we work our way along the ridge the clouds are looming and blocking off the distant views but they are making the ridge look impressive and atmospheric. These are probably the most scrambley sections of Crinkle Crags...

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PD admires the Scafells, still enjoying nice weather by the looks of it...

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And suddenly the weather really changes... the clouds open and we are greeted with not rain, but heavy snow. Looking along the Crinkle Crags ridge it looks like Armageddon, whilst looking back to Bowfell it is still clear! None of us could believe the change in the weather and we certainly weren’t wishing we were wearing shorts now!

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On goes Toddsters coat and suddenly the happy, bouncy pup is looking back to his usual sad self! I am not sure what his problem was as it was snow so he wasn’t getting wet, and it wasn’t that cold – weirdo! I think he just likes to have something to whinge about!

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By the time we make our way to the end of the Crinkles, Bowfell is just a silhouette on the horizon.

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This is the bad step, we came around the side of it today due to having the dogs in tow, but Todd insisted on going to investigate and tried to get up!! But failed!

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After the Crinkles the next stop was Cold Pike... but as you can see the weather was anything but the sunny stuff we had earlier in the day. It wasn’t settling particularly though so it wasn’t anything to worry about, it just spoilt the views a tad – although did make the walk a bit more interesting!

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And as I said, Todd definitely wasn’t enjoying it! Yet again a perfect advert for Dog’s Trust.

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By the time we got to Cold Pike, the snow had turned to misty rain – the fine stuff that soaks you though. Looking back to the Crinkles it looks like there is a slight dusting of snow which has settled on the tops!

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We then descended back into the Langdale valley, choosing to miss off Pike O’Blisco as the views would not be great and we both fancied getting home a bit early! Here we are at the bottom looking up to the Crinkles – amazing that the snow has now melted.

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I seem to be getting these days a lot where one minute it is sunny and hot, the next it is snowing! It certainly was a day of two halves out on the fells today, but I think we made the most of the good weather and even with the snow it was thoroughly enjoyable! And it could have been much worse – we could have been one of the people in just a t-shirt climbing Bowfell!! I think Todd was grateful to be back in his car and get dry again and we were grateful for the cake/drink from the Langdale Co-Op. With the forecast looking good for the next few days I was looking forward to our next walk on the fells – I am not sure Toddo was, but a good sleep would sort him out!
Last edited by ciderpeter on Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ciderpeter
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Re: Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves.

Postby poppiesrara » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:02 pm

Lovely stuff, Peter - that early view of the Langdale Pikes is unbelievable! Exactly the same 'four-seasons-in-one-day' over in the eastern fells that day, although a bit later than you got it... It does make for rather more of an adventure somehow though.
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Re: Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves.

Postby L-Hiking » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:08 pm

Excellent CP, a day out on one of my favourite fells. The Traverse is always exciting and the last bit one of the best bits in the district in my opinion.

never a dull moment on Bowfell :D

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Re: Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:59 pm

Great report, sums up just what a day in the hills is all about.
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Re: Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves.

Postby ChrisW » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:49 am

Brilliant CP, this could be used to show what hill walking really is, love the photos throughout and almost envy you the 4 seasons .....almost :wink: :lol:
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Re: Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves.

Postby garyhortop » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:34 am

Terrific report Peter...really liked the photo's of the Langdales as well as some of the other shots you got of the panorama's and Bowfell and the crinkles...looked like a great day out!! :thumbup:

Not quite sure what goes on with Dogs.....they whinge to go out....and whinge when you get there.....you just can't win with some of them!! Have to say I am impressed that you manage to get Todd to stay still long enough for a photo...mine is usually camera shy! :D
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Re: Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Cold Pike - a day of two halves.

Postby ciderpeter » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:10 pm

He is useless if you try to get him to pose! Believe it or not, none of these pics (except the ones of me and him) are staged.

The one where he is sat by the rocks is where he has run on ahead, but will not go more than 20m away so he just sits and waits for me to catch up.

Then he has a beautiful pose where he just stops and appears to take in the route ahead with his head tilted to one side - hence the pics of him on Climbers Traverse! I would love to know what he is thinking when he stops and takes the view in like that! :)
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