3rd October 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk 70

Tarns on and around Crinkle Crags

Time 8:45am to 3:20pm
Duration 6 hr 35 min
Distance 9.8 mile
Ascent 3700 ft
Walking with Rod Hepplewhite
Old Dungeon Ghyll - Stool End - Oxendale - Hell Gill - Three Tarns - Crinkle Crags - tarns on Stonesty Pike - Little Stand - tarns on Cold Pike - Great Knott Tarn - Great Knott - Red Tarn - Pike O'Blisco - Blea Tarn Pass road - 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


Just over half an hour ago we met up at Stanah where we'd agreed to leave one of our cars for the day while we drove the rest of the way in the other one. We're not daft us northerners you know, , , and I'm even less dafter because it was my car we left at Stanah. As we stood there swapping kit from one car to t'other, it was grey, dull and it didn't really fill us with any hope for a bright start to the day. "it's forecast to clear up later so you never know"
Once we reached the top of Dunmail Raise we were greeted by blue sky and sunshine and that set the scene for most of the day.

Middle Fell Farm enjoying the morning sunshine below the crags on the Langdale Pikes.

There's a definite autumnal nip in the air as we head towards Stool End Farm with the Band is straight ahead of us. And, as tempting as The Band looked, we had other ideas this morning. Rather than walk up The Band to reach Three Tarns, today we opt to walk the Hell Gill route which is around the left hand side. This was only suggested / decided in the car this morning and made a really nice change.

Once the barking dog had stopped chasing the sheep across the fields, Mickleden returned once more a scene of complete calm without a sound to break the silence or a breath of wind to move the thin veil of mist still hanging in the valley. Over on the opposite side of the valley Pike O'Stickle and Loft Crag were towering above us and were just beginning to brighten up. Beyond those, the cloud was trying to spill over Stake Pass but failing to make any real progress. We both realise we'd chosen a good area for today's walk and as for the conditions, they couldn't be better.

Seen better days!

An Oxendale view of Crinkle Crags.

Looking down to Whorneyside Force.

And here's the much smaller of the waterfalls.

Just before crossing the beck, Hell Gill comes into view on our right hand side.

Here's the bottom of Hell Gill. It looks more impressive when you're actually standing here so I guess you'll have to come along and look for yourselves.

More than once on the walk up to Three Tarns we commented that this was very hot work. I didn't think it was supposed to be this hot in October but I'm not complaining at all.
Straight ahead is Bow Fell and on the left you see the start of the Crinkle Crags ridge,

After setting off from home in thick cloud I had my suspicions that we'd see this today. Thankfully I was right and we were able to enjoy this extensive cloud inversion while we walked across the higher section of the walk.

1st of the Three Tarns. Scafell and Scafell Pike are behind.

2nd, , , , . The pointed fells down there are the Langdale Pikes.

, , , , and the 3rd of them.

The view back shows the cloud beginning to rise out of the valley and spreading across the side of Bow Fell. I think we must have had luck on our side today because we managed to get right across Crinkle Crags before the cloud spilled onto the area we were walking.

Pity the distant views weren't too clear in this direction but any details the camera failed to capture we were lucky enough to see as we walked along the ridge.

Three Tarns falls victim to the cloud rolling over from Upper Eskdale.

Right beside the path is the small tarn on Shelter Crags.
That's the top of Bow Fell behind.

and a little bit further along is this one.


We look back over a couple of crinkles to see the Langdale Pikes and the eastern fells surrounded by the inversion.

Slight Side and Scafell above the cloud inversion.

Looking ahead we see the cloud rising over the area we're heading across to.

Crinkle Crags tarn in front of Scafell. Scafell Pike, Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End and Esk Pike.


Looking back to Crinkle Crags summit and of course The Bad Step.

Below us are the tarns on the flat ground above Stonesty Pike.

This is the larger of the tarns on the grassy area above Stonesty Pike.

Next, we head down to Little Stand to visit the tarn found just below the summit cairn.

Making our way across to the two tarns on Cold Pike, we descend the grassy flank of Little Stand. You can clearly see one of the tarns on the right hand side of the rocks. The other one is on top of the rocky shelf (left of centre).

First we visit the tarn on the rock shelf,

then we gain a little height to reach the other tarn. From here we could see the cairns along the main route up to Crinkle Crags and from that we could work out where Great Knott Tarn would be. "no need to make it complicated, we'll just walk across in as straight a line as possible"

After the walk across the open fell we arrive at Great Knott Tarn, seen here in front of crinkle Crags.

Great Knott Tarn.

Lunch with a view of the cloud gradually spilling over Crinkle Crags.

Here you see the steep, rocky side of Great Knott.

After leaving Great Knott we head for Red Tarn

Red Tarn; not the Helvellyn one.

As I stand near the tarn, the sun briefly comes out and lights up the place. Very nice.

Pike O'Blisco summit was quite a busy place this afternoon. Sadly, for those up here for the first time the cloud had taken away most of the views. As we've both been here many times in the past we saw no reason to hang around. Instead, we make our way down the couple of short rocky sections to pick up the route that would eventually take us to the road on Blea Tarn Pass.

It's only about a mile and a half from the top of Pike O'Blisco to the road down there but it always feels a heck of a lot further than this. I blame the very steep, pitched path where you need to concentrate on your footing and the fact that this path is usually walked at the end of the day.

We descend the road with views across to the Langdale Pikes.

Our was walk almost over when I took this picture of Oxendale and Mickleden, all that remained for us was the short walk along the road back to the Old Dungeon Gill car park. Yet, despite that tinge of sadness I always feel towards the end of a walk I couldn't help but feel more than pleased with the days events.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks