Belated Birthday Weekend – Pike of Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell   18 comments

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Sometimes you just feel that the stars have aligned and everything is right with the world. A superb walk on the Langdale Pikes, a splendid meal, a night in luxurious room in a pub, Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Life was pretty good and I thought things could not get any better. Then we pull into the car park at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to these views.

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Added to that the fact the car park ticket machine was still broken so we avoided another parking charge and I was in birthday heaven and bouncing around like a kid. We were ready to go early (by our standards anyway) thinking the car parks would be rammed full on such a magnificent day but they were pretty empty and the valley sleepy and quiet as we set off.

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One of my all time favourite walks is Bow Fell (also one of my favourite mountains) via Crinkle Crags. Today we were adding in Pike of Blisco as its one of the few recognised peaks in the Lake District I’ve never done. The steep climb up from the campsite revealed more utterly breathtaking views.

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The panorama shows our route for the day. The skyline from the left through to left middle and down the ridge in front

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We decided to try to follow a route away from the main path and it was wonderful. Never too steep and a feeling of exploring small hollows and crags of Bleaberry Knott and Wrynose Fell that most don’t see from the main path

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The views from the summit of PoB were immense

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TBF bags our first summit of the day

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We took our first extended stop of the day. Much like the Langdale Pikes (below) of the day before, PoB is relatively small in stature but big in expansive views as its relatively isolated from the rest of the range

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Langdale valley and the Eastern Fells

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Panorama looking West and North

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One thing that has dramatically improved since my last visit here are the paths. Huge effort has been made to create these wonderful stepped paths with a mosaic of grass between the boulders. They are in equal measure a delight to look at, a pleasure to walk on and protective against erosion. I take my hat off to all the people who put in hard work to build them

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Progress onwards towards Crinkle Crags was effortless and a joy as PoB receded into the distance behind

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Crinkle Crags is itself a superb summit – or should that be summits, it has lots of them.

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We found a quiet spot with a sloping back-rest rock for a very long lunch. Further smiles were in order as I realised the pub made sandwiches as good as its breakfasts and bar meals

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Moving on towards a succession of Crinkles. You can see in the photo below the gully and “bad step” before the highest point. We wanted to tackle the ethical line but there was a crowd of people making a fuss of getting down it so we walked around it

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We found our own little crag to climb which was obviously a much more satisfying route

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The summit of Crinkle Crags reveals the classic view of Bow Fell and its Links (the line of gullies and crags below its summit

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Cairns always seem to make good foreground subjects

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The Scafell range

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The rocky walk across the knobbly summits of Crinkle Crags was just superb. To walk it on such a clear day was exceptional. The hills were alive with the sound of music, in my head anyway

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And so to the day’s final summit. I took a side route to take a look across the huge slabs on the north side of the ridge

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The slab is huge and seems to fall away to infinity with the famous crag of Bow Fell Buttress as a backdrop

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The panorama from the top was immense.

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TBF looking very pleased to be out on such a superb day

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Skiddaw and Blencathra in the distance

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Looking back along our route over Crinkle Crags and PoB

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The birthday boy

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Bow Fell is probably my favourite Lakeland summit. The views from it and its own aspect I find irresistible and I have many fond memories (now including this one). One in particular prompted the photo below. Me and Mark once slept out on the summit in the two obvious spots you can see, back in the early 90’s. It had been hot day down in Eskdale (we were wild swimming and generally lazing about), too hot to sleep so we decided to sleep on the summit. We watched the thunderstorms over the Pennines and slept little in such a magnificent setting under clear skies (and ready to run like hell if the storms came our way!) They never did although we managed to be asleep as the sun came up! A day/night that has a special place in my memories.

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Enough of such reveries. It was time to go down. Another one of those moments when I just wanted to sit and admire these views forever

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We followed the ridge of The Band back to the valley. A long laborious route of ascent but a perfectly angled route of descent for tired limbs

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PoB and the deep ravine of Browney Gill

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Pike of Stickle

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And the ever green and pleasant land of the Langdale valley

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The walk across the pastures of Oxendale back to the car was a final delight to end a truly memorable day

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A long day at around 14 miles and 4,500 feet of ascent but totally rewarding. I had in my mind’s eye a day that pretty much matched what we actually experienced. I still can’t believe my birthday wishes came true

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18 responses to “Belated Birthday Weekend – Pike of Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell

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  1. A great day out. People rave about Scotland being wild and rugged but outside of the Cuillin Ridge on Skye I can’t think of a day trip over mountains in the UK with so much exposed rock at height. Did it a couple of years back and along with a full ridge walk on Pillar everyone was amazed just how much bare rock was on show down there. Probably quieter in the Lakes than on the Cuillin at this time of year.

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    • Lakeland and the central belt around these parts has as much drama as anything Scotland can offer plus the backdrop of green valleys. I doubt that its quieter though. Lakeland is heaving at this time of year. I reckon the only reason it wasn’t more crowded when we were there was down to the fact this weekend was sandwiched between two bank holidays. Plenty of space tomes cape the crowds though. Haven’t been to the Cuillin for many a year. Most of the peaks still do and a number of them likely out of my league now

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  2. What a perfect birthday!

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  3. Wow. That’s some walk and fantastic weather. I’ve done Bowfell and also Pike o’Blisco combined with the Crinkles but not all three togethor.

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    • It is quite a big walk but on a day as glorious as this you hardly notice and wasn’t all that tired when I got back. There are no really big steep climbs and the paths are so well made that walking is easy and I love rocky ridges like the Crinkles. Doing it the other way round would be harder as its a long climb to Bow Fell and you face the long steep climb up Pike of Blisco at the end of the day

      Bow Fell is a magnificent summit. I’ve been longing for a revisit for a year or so and badly wanted it to be a clear sunny day. I was so lucky to get one. I could have sat on the summit for hours

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      • I thought Bowfell was a steep climb after the 3 tarns when I did it 😬.

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        • True – but the steep bit is relatively short and I was in such a happy mood (rare enough at the best of times) I barely noticed it. If it had been a dreary day no doubt I’d have moaned at every step and about how long it was! 🙂

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          • We also went up on a beautiful day and, as you say, the views are fantastic. I agree that you’re soon up the steep bit. As usual for me these days coming down is tougher in many ways as it gets to my knees ☹️ but I still enjoy the walk

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            • Same here. I’ve already had three arthroscopy operations across both knees. Walking on the rocky stepped paths didn’t seem as bad for my knees as grassy or off-piste terrain (like my local hills in Wales). I felt I could have carried on walking at the end of this day. Amazing how blue skies affect your mood and attitude 🙂

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  4. A fantastic area and what a splendid day you had, wonderful.

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    Brenda-Dawn Linney
  5. Of course, I remember that day extremely well! It’s hard to believe we got any sleep at all in that rocky spot. I don’t think I’ve slept right by a summit cairn since. Another classic day for the pair of you. That’s an awful lot of ascent – the cycling must be doing the trick. I totally agree about the paths, the technique has come on no end, the very first stepped paths in the hills were murder to walk on (I’m thinking Cwm Idwal?), but in the Lakes these days they seem to have it down to a fine art. Bloody hard work I would think.

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    beatingthebounds
    • It brought a huge smile to my face when I reached the top and could work out exactly where I’d slept – or not as you say. What a cracking weekend that was and it was in mind all the way along to the summit. I can’t think of a finer summit or finer view than Bow Fell just at the moment. The paths are a work of wonder. On both days in Langdale pretty much every steep section was perfectly built. When you think about much hard work it must take just to do 20 or 30m of path the effort to do it over such extensive distances is amazing. I remember seeing a TV Program about it maybe 20 years ago and thinking what a good idea it was. Down in Wales we see to adopt the gravel approach and they are pretty ugly.

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  6. Have to agree with this, Bowfell is the best one I’ve done so far (130 is my current total). I also did it with the Crinkles but not POB. Wainwright calls the Crinkles the finest Lakeland ridge mile and I don’t disagree with the great man.

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