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From Crinkle Crags to Lingmoor Fell

From Crinkle Crags to Lingmoor Fell

Postby nigheandonn » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:41 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags, Lingmoor Fell, Pike o'Blisco

Hewitts included on this walk: Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags (Long Top), Crinkle Crags South Top, Pike of Blisco, Shelter Crags

Date walked: 19/09/2015

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Ambleside is a useful place to be, but it's a long way up the road from Windermere station in the dark. At least I have walked it before, and was a bit more prepared for the tricks the pavement plays - I remember getting quite a fright last Halloween when I was suddenly channelled into a tree which apparently wanted to hug me. And the hostel is too big and noisy to be one of my favourites.

But the good thing about Ambleside hostel is its location - I looked out of the window after getting dressed the next morning and got outside with my camera as quickly as possible.

Morning mist on Windermere

There were quite a few people having breakfast outside, but it was a bit cold for that so I retreated back to the dining room, although I did eventually take my coffee outside - mostly to get away from the noise!

You're obviously not supposed to get an early start from Langdale, because the first bus doesn't leave Ambleside until 9.30 to get there at 10.

I've always vaguely assumed Langdale was overhyped, as so many famous places are, but it is actually quite stunning - and we had our morning's excitement when a procession of cars led by the bus met a procession of cars led by a tractor at a bend not quite wide enough for both.

It was quite a busy bus, but most of the people seemed to be heading for the Pikes, leaving only a few for the Band and Oxendale. Crinkle Crags and Bowfell had their heads in the clouds, and there were odd patches of cloud floating about below the summits, but it was quite a nice day in general and looked like it would clear.


Halfway down the farm road a flock of sheep were being gathered and rearranged apparently for the amusement of the dogs. Beyond that I passed the farm and started looking for the path uphill - I assumed the junction would be very obvious, and it was!

Most of the Band was a rocky staircase which made my thigh muscles very unhappy - it was getting quite warm as well, so it was hard work. Pike of Stickle on the other side of the valley made a good excuse for a rest - it's been popping up in views from all over the Central Fells, but I don't think I'd ever seen it from the valley side before.

Stone staircase on The Band

After a while it did become grassier, and more of a normal path, although sometimes with bright orange earth or bright pink rocks to keep things interesting - and somewhere towards the top of the I finally got my first sight of the summit of Bowfell, having been climbing up its side for quite a while.

First sight of Bowfell

Crinkle Crags had been clear most of the way up, but of course as I got near the top the clouds started boiling over from the west again.

Three Tarns was (or were) not really what I expected - you could never really see more than one of them at once, and although they were small they all seemed roughly the same, not obviously two big and one little.

(One of the) Three Tarns

The valley on the other side was one great cauldron of cloud, and the first rocks around the Shelter Crags path were all looking ghostly and ominous. The path was very rocky and a bit hit and miss, looking like it was going one way and then turning out to be actually somewhere else, and I was checking carefully against the sketchmap, as I was worried about missing the summit of Shelter Crags.

I was feeling a bit confused about what was hiding in the cloud - I knew that Esk Pike was beyond Bowfell, but I couldn't really imagine what was next around the ridge from there - and then suddenly the clouds cleared and I got my answer! (The only sight of them I got all day.)

The Scafells

The path went on up and down and round about, with a lower summit on the right and then one on the left, and finally the main summit on the right - my 50th Hewitt, although that was complete coincidence, as I wasn't counting them!

Shelter Crags summit

After that a pile of Crinkles was in view. The whole next section along the top was much slower than I had realised it would be, always with rock underfoot - and of course I wasted time climbing up to every summit!


The main summit was much more of a separate hill than the others - a nice enough summit for my 100th, but a bit disappointing with the cloud in again, although I did get some nice glimpses of valleys to the south west.

Langdale and clouds

Crinkle Crags summit

I forgot that I'd meant to go and have a look at the Bad Step, and probably take Wainwright's detour around it, and set off by the path that avoids it completely - I did get a look at it from the bottom. It's hard to understand why the path runs over it, because there does seem to be rough but walkable ground just to one side!

The Bad Step

The fifth Crinkle is another Hewitt summit, quite separate from the others, at the start of the way down towards Cold Pike and Red Tarn.

Crinkle Crags South Top summit

Red Tarn and Cold Pike

The ridge down to Cold Pike was dotted with water, so as advised I took the Red Tarn path down until it crossed the two streams, then headed uphill to the summit - a nice rocky one, but a bit overshadowed by the Crinkles up above.

Cold Pike summit

Red Tarn was not noticeably red from a distance - it was distinctly blue, because the day was clearing and the sun was out - but the bed of the stream running from it was, as well as the path.

Red earth

Pike o' Blisco was far more of a separate hill, with the kind of rocky path with cairns to show you what's supposed to be path and what's just rock - a fairly steep climb, but an interesting one. It had the first really good summit view of the day, too, especially of the Langdale Pikes on the other side of the valley, and the curve of Lingmoor Fell around one lonely looking house.

Pike o' Blisco summit

The Langdale Pikes

Coming down I managed to climb down a place that I really wasn't meant to, including sitting down in a puddle on the way (I could see the path at the bottom of it, but I maybe should have asked myself if it really looked like a path where I was - on the other hand, I'd come past the bad step...)

Below that it was mostly stone staircase again, which I much prefer on the way down than the way up - much easier going down something that isn't shifting about under your feet the way paths made of small stones do. It was still quite a long way down - I enjoyed it, but I was starting to count time.

Stone stairs down

Down at the road I was almost back where I had started - I hadn't realised how close it would bring me. I was almost half tempted just to follow the road round to Little Langdale, but it wasn't quite late enough to justify it - I knew I had the energy and the light to get in Lingmoor Fell, and I just about had the time.

Blea Tarn

Finding the start of the path was a bit confusing - there's a new fence running along by the path, and there's no longer an entrance on the far side of the cattle grid, and once you're on the path it just runs along parallel to the road anyway.

Once the path turned up by the wall it was a bit of a steep pull for the end of a long day - I was glad to get into the shadow of Side Pike, and even more glad to reach the corner. Beyond that I met heather for more or less the first time that day - a bit past its best, but still a nice change.

Climbing by the walls

The route was quite bumpy after that, with some quite steep places, and the summit seemed a long way away. Once found it was undramatic, although with good views east.

Lingmoor Fell summit

The east

There was a clear path following the wall towards Little Langdale, but as it was stony and tended to go up and down whenever the ridge did, I slanted off downhill on a tiny grassy path which was far more tempting - this took me past some old quarry remains to join a slightly broader path and eventually join up with the main path again and zigzag down to the road.

Old quarries

I had a decision to make now - either use the last of the light to push on over one of the short cuts to Coniston and hope someone was serving food lateish, or stop for dinner here and then walk down the main road in the dark.

Sunset and signposts

Food and rest seemed like a good idea, but although there were only about 3 people in the Three Shire Inn they couldn't possibly serve me for the next 45 minutes, so I ended up setting out for Coniston anyway - I decided that the main road was a better idea anyway, but as it had no pavements, no house lights and not a lot of white line I'm not sure that it was much better than the back roads. It's a bit nervewracking when the road is running between two stone walls and idiots come flying round a blind corner!

So no pub dinner again, although I did have a Spar shop feast. I need to have a sensible adventure for a change...

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Re: From Crinkle Crags to Lingmoor Fell

Postby ChrisW » Tue Sep 29, 2015 6:04 am

wow, what a beauty that first (main) hike is, absolutely lovely photos :clap: looks like you covered a fair bit of ground overall too.

Me and the Mrs spent our first anniversary in Ambleside so this brought back memories :wink:
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Re: From Crinkle Crags to Lingmoor Fell

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:11 pm

Some cracking fells in that walk, shame you didn't get the view of the Sacfells from the Crinkles as it's a beaut. Pike O'Blisco is one of my favourites as well, a really grand top.
It does seem you have more adventures off the fells than on at times :lol: , all part of your 'no car' round I suppose.
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