12th July 2012

Walking the Lakeland Passes - Walk 19 - Rossett Pass and Stake Pass

Walk Overview
Time 08.05 to 17.05
Duration 9 hr
Distance 17.9 mile
Ascent 5500 ft
Walking with On my own
Wasdale Head - Styhead Pass - Sprinkling Tarn - Rossett Pass - Mickelden - Stake Pass - Langstrath - Stonethwaite - Seathwaite - Styhead Pass - Wasdale Head
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Wasdale Head

Wasdale can boast possession of the highest mountain, the deepest lake and the smallest church. What I'd like to do is add the busiest car park onto this list. During the summer months this is an incredibly popular place, particularly in June when the three peak walkers are out in force.

Unbelievable I know, but parking is actually free. This tiny hamlet also has a hotel / pub, a shop, a camp site and all the facilities you expect to find with it.


Route Map

Blue sky and sunshine might be the preferred option for most people (myself included), but you have to admit a mixture of sunshine and thick cloud certainly adds a bit a drama to a place.

Looking back over Wasdale Head to Wast Water.
This has nowt to do with the walk, but all the old books I have from the 1700s and 1800s call it Wast Dale. I wonder who decided the letter "t" wasn't needed anymore.

Higher up now and looking towards Yewbarrow. Not long after taking this picture it was under cloud.

Sty Head stretcher box and time to decide which way round to do the walk. At this point I thought the forecasters had got it completely wrong and it wasn't going to clear up after all. Given the resent trend towards days of heavy showers, I chose to head onto the higher section of the route now, instead of ending up there later in the day.
As it turned out, it ended up a lovely sunny afternoon so it didn't really matter which way I'd done the walk. Such is the current lack of confidence in the weather.

Campers at Sty Head Tarn.
I can't decide if the lady next to the blue tent has just finished pulling her trouser up or if she's just starting to pull them down.

Up into the cloud I go, , , or so it seemed.

Great Gable and Green Gable are under the cloud over there.

Sprinkling Tarn, I hadn't expected to see much of this today, but the higher I walked the higher the cloud lifted.

Esk Hause and shelter. Under the cloud on the right is Great End.

Just past Esk Hause and the view opens up to show Rossett Pike and The Langdale Pikes.

I set off today to walk over Rossett Pass. However, I suppose this is arguably the only section of the route that you can actually call 'Rossett Pass'. The Wasdale end of the route joins up with Sty Head Pass and the highest section crosses (lower) Esk Hause. Perhaps Sty Head Pass is only Sty Head Pass if you walk from Borrowdale.
Anyway: I walked all the way over and if I were to start analysing things too much I'd never leave the house.

Angle Tarn.
It was raining by this time I reached here and I'd had the same fleeting conversation with three of the people I'd passed.
"This wasn't forecast was it"
"No, it was supposed to be the one dry day of the week"
"Hopefully it'll clear up later"

Looking down to Mickleden and Great Langdale from the top of Rossett Gill.

Heavy rain for a while now and the cloud drops onto Pike O'Stickle for a little while.

The bottom one is where I've just been and the top one is where I'm going now.

I'm almost at the top of Stake Gill now and thankfully it's beginning to brighten up.
The pointed fell over there is Pike O'Blisco.

This is the top of Stake Pass or "The Stake" as it was called in centuries prior to the two I've lived in. In those days visitors would engage the services of a local guide to see them safely over from one valley to another. I don't suppose there were enough visitors in those days to ensure the poor old guide could make some money out of the return journey. Still, they probably viewed what they did get as easy money. After all, if rich people were daft enough to walk up and down hills for the fun of it why not make a few bob out of them.

On thought though, , , , In the days when people of different classes simply didn't mix together, I wonder what they talked about while they were walking over here.

Heading down into Langstrath.

The Stake Pass zigzags.
Come on Fix The Fells, this is absolutely ridicules and a waste of the money that people donate to what is actually a good cause. This type of path just doesn't offer any kind of long term solution so why not revert back to something that works and start building proper stone pitched paths again. This one has only been here for a few years and it's already showing signs of erosion.

Work in progress.


The first of the two bridges I crossed to get onto the far side of the valley.

Walking through Langstrath; a fantastic valley which is always peaceful and quiet. This is surprising when you consider just how close it is to some very busy areas and more to the point, just how easy it is to walk into. Thankfully the road builders never found their way here.


Back to civilisation now and this is Stonethwaite.

and so is this.

All is green in the garden, with just a hint of yellow and a nice blue sky to bring it all to life, , , , perfect.

Gill scramblers.
They must have been red hot walking along here with all their gear on.


Passing through Seathwaite where I couldn't help overhearing an insulting conversation which I'm sure was aimed at me.

"I just don't under stand these humans"
"What do you mean"
"Well look at them. As soon as the sun comes out they all start rushing about and walking up and down big hills instead of taking it easy and relaxing"
"yeh, look at that idiot with the camera. He looks like he's already walked about 14 mile and he's still going for more"

Rather than take a picture looking at Stockley Bridge as I normally do, I took a picture looking away from it today.

Looking down to Seathwaite from Sty Head Pass.

Looking in the same direction as the previous picture from higher up Sty Head Pass.

This was the second time at Sty Head today and what a difference from first thing this morning.

That's the route I took earlier to Sprinkling Tarn and Angle Tarn.

A view back up Sty Head Pass.

Great Gable and Sty Head.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks