High Langdale

The "must-do" walk for any self-respecting visitor to Great Langdale is a circuit of the high fells at the head of the valley: Pike o' Blisco, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.  Stuart Marshall, the eternal optimist, includes Esk Pike and Rossett Pike for good measure, but my excuse for omitting these two was that I had to hop up Lingmoor Fell to start with, which was quite enough, thank you!

Here are some pictures (click on any picture for a larger version):

The road from Skelwith Bridge to the top end of Great Langdale is a typical Lakeland valley road, narrow and with walls and iron fences along much of its length.   And they allow monster coaches down it!  We met two of them in convoy, so arrived about ten minutes late after much manoeuvring. We eventually parked at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, as one does, and crossed the road towards Lingmoor Fell.
What is in store, over on the right: Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, partly covered by cloud.

On Lingmoor Fell, looking back past Side Pike towards the Langdale Pikes.  It must be said that Langdale has more than its fair share of pikes...
The top of Lingmoor Fell which, although not high, offers a good walk both up and down, and across its long top plateau - not that I had time today! 

Large areas of the fell are covered in heather, so August is a great time to visit.
That's the next objective: Pike o' Blisco.  Adjacent, but not connected, so it meant dropping down to near valley level before striking up again.

On the way I caught up with this walker - who turned out to be a ballet dancer.  In boots.
She was also a fast walker, so we descended together to this point, where she posed to improve this shot of Blea Tarn.  However, it was also here that I pointed out to her that the path from here in her (and AW's) guidebooks was now invisible and badly overgrown due to bracken, so it might be better just to descend to the road and pick the path up again 300 yards further along.  She readily declined this advice, so I said farewell - and looked up from the road a few minutes later to see her still there scratching her head.  Ah, the confidence of youth...

The Langdale Pikes as we descended.
And from half way up Pike o' Blisco.

Lingmoor Fell from Pike o' Blisco.  Side Pike is on the left.  You can (?) see the purple heather from here...
The top, with Bowfell dominating the background.

Her ladyship taking up residence, as usual...

That's Windermere in the distance.
After Pike o' Blisco we dropped down 600 feet around Red Tarn, and then diverted south to climb Cold Pike, which AW describes as a "Crinkle Crags in miniature" (it has three tops in series, each with a cairn).  This is the highest of them, and at this point in the walk, with the big tops still ahead of us, I was not inclined to sample the others.  That is Pike o' Blisco in the background; the two fells are almost the same height..

The path ahead...
The crag bit of Crinkle Crags.  The path goes up to the left.

After the first of five Crinkles you come upon the notorious Bad Step, described by AW as "the most difficult obstacle met on any of the regular walkers' paths in Lakeland".  Be that as it may, it certainly defeated Sophie and me!  Fortunately, there is a way round, around the buttress to the right of the Step.
But plenty of people managed it today...

Having negotiated the Bad Step, you reach the top of Crinkle 2, which is the highest one.  In the distance, Scafell and Scafell Pike.
Still to come: Bowfell.

Close up, approaching Three Tarns, the col between Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.
The Scafell range from near Three Tarns.

We did it! Sophie at the top of Bowfell.
The view south-east from Bowfell: Lingmoor Fell in the middle distance, Windermere far away.  Just below the summit we met up with a couple who turned out to have lived for over 20 years in the same town as us in Surrey: they had acquired a flat in Windermere, which had a view of Bowfell - which was why they had bought it!

This couple from Bath said they were descending via the Climbers' Traverse, and we tagged along.  You start off by dropping steeply down the side of the well named Great Slab
and at the bottom of Cambridge Crag you look up left and see Bowfell Buttress

How many climbers can you see?
We, understandably, turned right at this point along the Traverse and soon met up with the Band path coming down from Three Tarns into Langdale.  A delightfully easy end to a strenuous and rewarding day.

Look, Sophie, we did all that!

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