6th April 2013

A magical day walking from Esk Pike to Loft Crag


Walk Overview
Time 07.50 to 16.00
Duration 8 hr 10 min
Distance 10.5 mile
Ascent 4000 ft
Walking with Richard Ratcliffe
Old Dungeon Ghyll - Mickleden - Rossett Gill - Angle Tarn - Ore Gap - Esk Pike - Esk Hause - Engle Tarn - Rossett Pike - top of Stake Pass - Martcrag Moor - Pike O'Stickle - Loft Crag - Mark Gate - Old Dungeon Ghyll
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Old Dungeon Gill, Great Langdale

The Langdale Pikes and the Crinkle Crags / Bow Fell ridge remain as popular as ever and this is reflected by the number of cars that cram into this car park, and just how quickly it fills up in the morning.


Route Map


It costs £6.50 to park at the Old Dungeon Gill car park for the day. I know it sounds a lot but when you balance that against the amount of enjoyment I had, it could be argued as being quite a cheep day out. The embarrassing thing was; The National Trust van pulled up just as I was getting fed up with the ticket machine refusing to take my money.
"are you having trouble with the machine"
"yeah, it takes a couple of pound coins and then rejects them all"
"no wonder" he said "that one's a euro"

Was it an honest mistake or was I caught in the act. The decision is yours !!

Looking through Mickleden towards Rossett Pike and Rossett Gill.

We're at the head of the valley and now the up hill walking begins.

After walking part of the way up Rossett Gill we decided to have a look at the more direct route up the gill itself. If this turned out to be a realistic option without too much snow blocking the way, we'd leave the zigzags and take that route instead.

Down there is Mickleden with Pike O'Stickle up on the skyline. We'll be up there later.

This looks clear enough so we both gave the idea the thumbs up and away we go.   Although the route is as steep as this picture makes it look. I suspect it was still an easier option than the zigzag route which appeared to have quite a bit of snow laying about.

This is Rossett Pike, , , , so close but it would have to wait until later. Our intention for today was to have a direct ascent of Esk Pike which meant we'd visit Rossett Pike on our way across to the Langdales later in the day.
That's direct ascent as in the first fell visited on the walk, not direct as in straight up the front.

The area around Angle Tarn was absolutely magical today.
Blue sky, sunshine, snow on the ground and if I had enough hair there wasn't enough wind to blow a parting in it.


Looking down to Angle Tarn from the route to Ore Gap

While we were near the tarn we spotted this area of ice, and because we wanted to get a closer look we ended up having to take a steeper, away from the path route up to Ore Gap. Well worth the effort becaue this was most unusual.

A very steep ascent but the snow was in such a state that it allowed the micro spikes enough grip to keep up upright. Full crampons remained in the bag for the day.

Ore Gap. I seem to remember I made some comment about there never being a cold wind when you want one.

A view back wards shows Bow Fell.

and a view ahead shows Esk Pike.

Standing on Esk Pike summit with extensive, clear views all round. In front is Glaramara. In the far distance you have Skiddaw, Blencathra and Helvellyn, to name a few of the more popular fells.
This is what none work days were made for.

Another view looking back towards Bow Fell.

Leaving Esk Pike we get a view across to Great End and the two Gables.
Since setting out we'd still only seen one man and his dog (twice).

A look back up to Esk Pike.

A long distance view across to the Skiddaw fells.

On route between Esk Pike and Esk Hause we passed the most fantastic natural snow / ice sculptures.   We both agreed that there must have been a heck of a wind blowing through here a couple of weeks ago.

Allan Crags seen above Esk Hause.

This is Esk Hause shelter. Just as well it wasn't needed today.

You can't help but notice just how much more snow there is over here than across on the western side of the Lake District. There's not much at all on Great / Green Gable and further away, Grasmoor looks almost clear.

The way ahead to Rossett Pike. Below the steep crags on the right (in the hidden dip) is Angle Tarn.

Up to Rossett Pike we go.

Rossett Pike summit. It was now time for something to eat so we looked about for a couple of flat(ish) stones where we could sit and enjoy the view. And it wasn't just the view we enjoyed but it was the warm sunshine as well. It wasn't hotter than you'd expect at this time of year but it was certainly hotter than you'd expect with this much snow on the ground.

As we made short work of the sandwiches and cake, this rescue helicopter kept us guessing what it was actually up to. We didn't think he was lost or trying to see how close he could get the the crags so we assumed it was on a training exercise of some sort.

The pointed one over there is Pike O'Stickle. We're heading there next but it's a long way around and we'll have to walk through all that snow to get to the top..

Blimey, this wasn't half hard work walking up here.

Almost at Pike O'Stickle.

Looking across to Harrison Stickle from Pike O'Stickle summit.

and a picture of the summit itself.

Pike O'Stickle, taken after a somewhat icy and therefore very careful walk down from the summit.
The steps you can see on the right hand side of the picture don't continue to the summit. The route to the top is around the other side and involves some very mild scrambling over rocks.

Looking ahead to a very shapely Loft Crag.

Another picture showing Harrison Stickle, this time taken from Loft Crag.

There are a couple of options to get back down valley level from the Langdales. Today we chose the ridge below Loft Crag leading to Mark Gate.

Richard told me this boulder was erratic, but I have my doubts. I reckon it's been like this and hasn't moved for ages.

A birds eye view of Great Langdale.

What a fantastic day to be out and about in the Lake District. I went home today with a suntan, £6.50 less in my pocket and the knowledge that the ticket machine at the ODG car park doesn't take Euros.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks