Belated Birthday Weekend – Langdale Pikes   18 comments

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Last few years birthday presents have been replaced with birthday nice weekends away in Cornwall. For my birthday treat this year I fancied a change and wanted a a trip to the Lake District, probably to replace the weekend in Wasdale we missed a couple of weeks earlier. Visiting northern England is always a risk of a washout but we struck gold and as you can see from this and next couple of posts we had three superb days out.

We reached the area with time for a Friday afternoon walk. What better than a round of some of the Langdale Pikes. Short but steep.

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I’d forgotten just how steep the walk up to Stickle Tarn was. I’d also forgotten just what a fine walk it was as well

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It rekindled a whole host of great memories from the many times I’ve walked this classic route although this is the first time for maybe 20 years

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Stickle Gill is wonderful companion on the steep climb and as it was a week day it was relatively quiet.

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The weather was rather hazy but the views were still fabulous and the setting at Stickle Tarn is magnificent

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Across the lake to the cliffs of Pavey Ark

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And Harrison Stickle

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Time for a short rest to take it all in

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On a whim I decided to tackle Jacks Rake for the first time in ages. You can see it slanting up across the face of Pavey Ark from right to left in the photo below

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I love this photo from the shore of the tarn below the face off Pavey Ark

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In my younger days (when I was a couple of stones lighter, more nimble and with fully functioning knees) Jacks Rake was always seen as an easy scramble route, a sort of training scramble not much more than a rocky walk. As the years have progressed scrambling is something I rarely do and I was out of practice to the extent I found I was close to my limits

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I found the route exhilarating and a little intimidating. I used to take risks of all sorts when I was younger but no so any more. I’m not sure whether its an awareness of my own mortality or whether its having a family to be responsible for but I feel so much less at home on rock now

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The route is in fact technically very easy but with a feeling of exposure out of character with most scrambles in the same grade. TBF is more lithe and agile than me and I think she was enjoying herself immensely, thriving on the challenge. I was just nervous for both of us

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I still enjoyed it of course, just with a little less of the carefree attitude of my youth. It was also good to enjoy the route in dry weather as it becomes a little greasy and slippery in damp conditions. If you are keen to try a more adventurous route up a mountain its a pretty good one to start with. Its a long steep ledge/gully with loads of holds, steep enough and exposed enough to be interesting but never difficult

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TBF in full rock athlete mode

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Enough photos of TBF, so here’s one of your truly smiling after conquering the climb

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After a cuppa on Pavey Ark summit we headed off to Harrison Stickle. The steepness and rocky terrain of these peaks gives them a big mountain feel despite their relatively low height

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Pike of Stickle in the distance but we ran out of time (we had an appointment with a fine bistro in Coniston)

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We headed down via the spectacular path that traverses high above the deep ravine of Dungeon Ghyll

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The Coniston Fells in the distance (more on those in a later post)

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The view along the green fell-lined valley is one of my favourites, quintessentially Lake District

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A fabulous afternoon revisiting old mountain friends. I can’t believe it had been so long since I’d done this walk. A day further enhanced by dodging the scandalous £8 parking charge and one of the best meals I’ve had in quite a while. And there was even better to come

Langdale Pikes

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18 responses to “Belated Birthday Weekend – Langdale Pikes

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  1. Looks as if you got some really fine weather there Andy. That is a cracking area. it is a few years since i have been over that way, must go again!

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
    • I’m not sure why I’ve neglected this part of the Lakes for so long although I only make it up here a couple of times a year. The mountains are superb and the next day was a classic. Stay tuned….

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  2. A great walk.
    Jack’s Rake isn’t for me. Think I’d have given it a go when I was (a lot!) younger but I haven’t a good head for heights so wouldn’t enjoy it . So well done !

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    • I’m not really a rock climber but I’ve dabbled in some of the tougher scrambles in my youth but Jacks Rake is my limit these days. You would need a head for heights though as it has a real sense of exposure. I prefer to scramble about streams these days and swimming in rivers for fun

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  3. Oh, and I hope you enjoyed your meal in Steam 😉

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  4. Looks like a great way to spend one’s birthday (besides skiing!) Happy B-day!

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  5. Classic! First walk I did with TBH, Jack’s Rake and the Pikes. Last time I went that way, I turned back after looking at the greasy first part of the scramble. I remember that as being by far and away the hardest part, but JS was saying at Wasdale that she did it recently and was shocked to discover that she was gripped throughout. When I was 19 I volunteered to lead a whole party of Scouts up Sourmilk Gill (from Grasmere), Belle Knott (Grade 2) then, via Sergeant Man up Jack’s Rake. Had a great day. I’d do my nut now, but I wouldn’t be allowed now.
    I’ve been thinking of Stickle Tarn for a wild-camp. And Stickle Gill for an easy scramble with the kids. Should probably check it out myself first.

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    beatingthebounds
    • The first pitch is the hardest, its quite steep. I have to say I found it a little unnerving probably due to the fact that TBF was with me although she’s pretty nimble on rock. It was bone dry which made it an excellent route and the little rock steps near the top are great. I always had it my head that it was a rather low interest scramble but I really enjoyed it this time around. Plenty hard enough at my age.
      Stickle Tarn would be a great, if not exactly quiet place for a wild camp. The valley to the east of Pavey Ark looks a much better bet. Stickle Gill would be an excellent scramble for the kids. Its easy and escapable as its doesn’t run in a deep ravine at any point

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  6. Another great day out. I’ve always enjoyed Lake District trips since the 1970s. More choice of excellent low level paths in poor weather, scenic villages, well constructed routes to summits that take most of the pain out of ascents, great towns, shopping and pubs, fantastic fish and chip shops, a stunning range of low level climbing crags and lesser hills, great history, scenic landscapes and amazing mountains. Oh, and a better class of females with a wider range of clothing options….. 🙂 10 out of 10.
    By comparison Highland Scotland in grim weather…… is just grim. Sod all to do- sod all to see – mediocre walks undertaken by various shapeless blobs in the pouring rain and midges- yet it gets more popular every year.
    I have been that dripping tourist many, many times so I speak from long bitter experience.

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    • Yep, Scotland can be grim when the weather rolls in and doesn’t have the same variety of inland landscapes. What it has the Lakes lacks is miles of magnificent coastline and beaches so swings and roundabouts I guess. Scotland also has a much wilder and remote feel to its mountains. I’ll take the 5th amendment and say I love them both. 🙂
      And we have midges down here as well these days. They were out last weekend while I was wild camping in South Wales although not in the same league of numbers as a bad day in the Highlands

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  7. Where in Coniston did you eat? I’m staying there in August so need spots to feed my face!!

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    • We ate in Steam Bistro on the first night which was superb. Wonderful meal and great service, they don’t have a Licence but you can take your own drinks for a nominal charge. We stayed in the Wilsons Arms a few miles down the road in a Torver and the food there was also superb. The small a Deli next door also do great sandwiches for a packed lunch

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