What could be better than a day walking the Langdale Pikes; well a number of things to be honest, but they mostly involve either walking or biking, so there you have it. When it comes to walking the Lakes (The Lake District, England, UK) this has got to be one of the best for variety, views and a moderate challenge.
This walk of the Langdale Pikes begins from, and returns to Old Dungeon Ghyll, where there is easy parking (if you get there early and it’s free to National Trust members). The walk begins with a climb up the escarpment to the familiar tops of ‘Pike Of Stickle’ and ‘Harrison Stickle’. Then it’s on to Thunacar Knott, High Raise, Sergeant Man, Tarn Crag and Blea Crag. This is a well trodden classic. Altogether eight of Wainwright’s fells can be completed in this fabulous circuit of the Langdale Fells.
The Langdale Pikes
It begins with a climb that seems daunting at first as you look up, but in hindsight it’s soon over and well worth the effort. If you take in all eight fells, and don’t wander too far of track, the route is about 8.5 miles. It may sound like an afternoon stroll but, with the route being graded as strenuous, this walk is likely to take 5-6 hour to complete. Add to that some time taken to admire the views and the obligatory pint at the end when you return back down to Dungeon Gill.
Once you have climbed the escarpment the walk becomes easier as you walk from pike to pike over the plateau. It is very exposed up on top so dress accordingly and expect some bad weather. Just remember there’s no such thing as bad walking weather, just bad weather gear!
As you wander from Pike to Pike you are presented with different views of the Lake District beyond, as well as views back across the plateau. If you know where to look, and the weather holds, it’s possible to identify peaks such as Scar Fell Pike, Skiddaw, High Rise, and Great Gable.
After a day’s walking the plateau, the descent is made down Stickle Gill. The paths brings you down beside a series of cascades, and some modern hydro-water plants that have been cleverly blended into the landscape. This does get busy here with sightseers here just for the waterfalls.
I was shooting with my Canon 5D mk.III, which is quite a lump to be carrying up these mountains. With the basic 24-104 F4 lens it weighs about 2 kg. When you’re carrying a couple of kilos of water, wet weather gear, lunch etc. that can add up to quite a bit of extra weight. I’ve now purchased a Sony A7 mirrorless camera which is much smaller and saves about half a kilo. I prefer the Canon but sometimes it’s more about the walk than it is about the photography.