7th April 2007

A remote walk through Upper Eskdale to Esk Pike


Walk Overview
Time 10.00 to 16.50
Duration 6 hr 50 min
Distance 10.75 mile
Ascent 2992 ft
Walking with Andrew and Anne Leaney
Brotherilkeld - Lingcove Bridge - High Gait Crags - Yeastyrigg Crags - Pike de Bield - Esk Pike - Esk Hause - River Esk / Great Moss - Sampsons Stones - Damas Dubs (above) - Scale Bridge - Brotherilkeld
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Jubilee Bridge, Hardknott Pass

Hardknott Pass has got to be one of the steepest and most difficult roads in the country. In fact, many people make the effort to drive all the way around to this part of the Lake District just to face the challenge. I should point out that this road can be extremely dangerous during the winter months and is best avoided altogether if the weather is at all frosty. I was caught out myself on one occasion when using the route as a shortcut over to Cockley Beck. Just above the steepest of the bends the road turned into an ice rink and I had no alternative than to reverse back down until I reached a convenient turning place; not an experience I'm keen to repeat.

The car park has room for about ten cars, but should you find it full, there is usually room a little further along the road into Eskdale.

Route Map

A couple of minutes before the start of the walk and wondering why there was blue sky and sunshine on a bank holiday weekend or had I got the dates mixed up.

Looking back towards Eskdale proper from the route into the wonderful Upper Eskdale; one of the few remaining unspoilt areas of the Lake District where you can walk for hours on a sunny bank holiday weekend and see no one at all.

Just before reaching Lingcove Bridge we passed a section of the River Esk where these incredibly clear and quite deep pools have been formed. Too cold for a dip this early in the season, but definitely a good place to cool off in the height of Summer.

And Lingcove Bridge itself.

After we'd crossed Lingcove Bridge we continued along an easy to follow path running a little to the East of Throstlehow Crag. Shortly after passing Throstlehow Crag however, we left the path and started the long walk to Esk Pike following the undulating and time consuming Esk Pike ridge. The whole length of the ridge offers some fantastic views of the Scafells such as the one in this picture and on the right hand side you get almost continuous views across to Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.

And a wider view to Slight Side, Long Green, Cam Spout Crag, Scafell, Symonds Knott, Broad Stand and Mickledore Ridge.

Looking ahead with still a long way to go. The highest point on the skyline is Pike de Bield with Esk Pike summit just behind (and actually higher than Pike de Bield). The high fell on the left of the picture is Ill Crag.

Scafell Pike's best side.

Yeastyrigg Crags, Pike de Bield and Esk Pike on the left of the picture with the bulk of Bow Fell on the right.

Scafell Pike again, from a slightly different angle this time and showing Broad Stand (left) and the higher section of Little Narrowcove (right).

The wider view looking in the same direction.

Great End with Great Gable / Green Gable just to the right. Taken from a surprisingly quiet Esk Pike summit reached almost three hours after the start of the walk.

Making our way back down to Upper Eskdale next to some impressive looking crags below Tongue.

And the view back up again, this time from the start of our walk across the side of Great Moss.

Rocks, crags, boulders and scree abound in this area.

Looking back through the Great Moss area of Upper Eskdale. Esk Pike and Pike de Bield are the fells on the right of the picture.

And again, taken from the sheepfold near Sampson's Stones; the huge boulders on the left of the photo.

This picture showing Crinkle Crags in the background was taken from the same place as the previous photo. Notice the tent on the left of the picture. It looks as though we weren't the only ones out for a quiet time.

I suppose I should really apologise for showing yet another photo of this area, but this a truly incredible part of the Lake District and if ever anywhere is going to be worthy of repetition, then this is it. This is a place for the fell wanderer, for those with a fondness of exploring and seeking out new places or simply a place to find solitude.

Slight Side seen on the skyline as we walked along the area above Damas Dubs.

"I suppose it tastes OK, considering it was intended for all those sheep over there. Although I did prefer the food I got when I used to work on Blackpool prom. Speaking of working in Blackpool; you haven't found a straw hat with ribbons on it have you? I could do with it in this sunshine".

You just never know who / what you're going to end up talking to when you're out walking, do you?

Almost at the end of the walk and looking towards Brotherilkeld farm and the pointed Bow Fell in the distance.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks