The Langdale Pikes

Map for walk on Langdale PikesThis walk starts in the beautiful valley of Great Langdale, climbs fairly rapidly to the top of the Langdale Pikes, then stays at a high level, exploring the plateau behind the pikes. It visits the summit of High Raise, un dramatic itself but a superb viewpoint, especially for the Scafell group and towards Derwent Water, and normally clear of the crowds to be found on the pikes themselves.

The walk starts by climbing 1,750 feet in one and a quarter miles, but having gained that height we maintain it for much of the rest of the walk, giving us fantastic views across the heart of the Lake District.

Ascent: 2,550ft/ 780m
Length: 5.9 miles/ 9.5km
Map: Explorer 6
Last Walked: 6 October 2007

1 (NY 294 064)
We start in the National Trust car park close to the New Hotel in Great Langdale. Head to top end of the car park. A gate leads into a short path through the trees at the edge of the car park. Another gate leads out onto the fell side. Here the path splits - one branch climbs straight up to Stickle Tarn, while our route turns left and climbs up across the side of the fell. Turn onto this path and follow it to the first wall.
2 (NY 292 064)

Pike Howe and Mark GateCross the first wall. Here the path splits again - take the right hand path following the line of the wall. At a second wall, where the path splits yet again, turn left, cross the Dungeon Ghyll and follow the obvious path as it climbs up the west bank of the Ghyll.

This path climbs up towards the first set of crags, at Mark Gate, following a ridge to the left of the Dungeon Ghyll. The path is obvious as it climbs up to the crags. Follow a signposted diversion that winds up through the rocks, eventually emerging onto a saddle between the top of these crags and the main Langdale Pikes.

3 (NY 283 067)
Loft CragThe current path brings you to this saddle facing north. Our path turns left, heading towards a gap in the cliffs at Loft Crag. The path itself is clear as it crosses the boggy ground on the saddle, and becomes very obvious as it climbs up the slope between the crags, turning slowly to the right as it rises.
4 (NY 279 071)
Harrison StickleThe climb reaches the saddle between Loft Crag and Pike of Stickle (to the left). To the right is the top end of the valley of Dungeon Ghyll. Our path continues almost due north, crossing the ghyll and climbing back up to join the path that follows the east side of the valley. Here a path heads directly up the side of Harrison Stickle, but we ignore this direct route, and turn left, following our new path for just over 300 feet until it crosses the path coming from Pike of Stickle.
5 (NY 278 073)
At this junction turn sharply to the right, and climb up the path heading up Harrison Stickle. The most obvious path climbs up to the behind the summit, reaching a cross roads in a minor saddle just to the north of the summit.
6 (NY 281 074)

View west from Harrison StickleThis path will be our way on later. For the moment turn right, and follow it to the top of Harrison Stickle. This is a fine rocky outcropping with spectacular views into Langdale, and with a super all round view.

Once you have finished on this summit, return north along the path to the saddle, then continue north at the crossroads and follow this path to the rounded summit of Thunacar Knotts.

From there the path to High Raise is also obvious, heading almost directly towards the High White Stones at the summit of the next fell. Follow this path to the summit cairn, triangulation point and small shelter on top of High Raise. The view west is particularly fine, down into Langstrath and up towards Derwent Water and Keswick.

7 (NY 280 095)

Sergeant ManThe path off the summit of High Raise is not entirely obvious. To your east you should be able to see a couple of tiny summit tarns. Follow the narrow path that leaves the summit area and heads between these tarns (In mist I would suggest turning back at this point, following the clear path back to Harrison Stickle, and descending via our original route).

As soon as you have passed between the small tarns, turn right and head towards a fencepost visible on the skyline. The crowds on the Langdale Pikes may also be visible poking above the skyline. Close to this fence post you will meet a clear path. Turn left and follow it towards Sergeant Man.

8 (NY 286 089)
Sergeant ManTechnically we don't need to climb Sergeant Man, but the view from the top is well worth the very minor effort required to climb the last few feet, so follow the path as it heads up onto the top of the crag. From the top there is a super view down towards Stickle Tarn, and across to Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle. Our route on is also visible to the left. We are going to follow the ridge line that leads down to Blea Rigg. From the top of Sergeant Man retrace your steps north. At the base of the saddle linking Sergeant Man to the bulk of High Raise, turn right and join the obvious path that heads east to the top of the ridge, then turns towards the right and follows the ridge down.
9 (NY 295 079) (approximately)

This path tends to follow the left hand side of the ridge, with views down towards Easedale Tarn. The path does not follow the route of the right of way marked on the OS maps. The right of way is marked as turning to the right just past a small tarn, at the point where the path emerges from the main crags. Instead, it continues on along the top of the ridge, still generally tending to the left for much further than is marked.

Eventually, after skirting around a very wet patch, our path reaches a t-junction. Turn right onto the path heading down towards Stickle Tarn. The tarn itself soon comes into the view. The path itself is clear underfoot, if not always visible from a distance.

10 (NY 288 074)
At the edge of the tarn, turn left, and follow the path to the dam. At the dam paths follow both sides of Stickle Ghyll as it drops back to the valley bottom. The best path follows the left (east) bank of the Ghyll. Follow it all the way back to the car park.