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" Pike O'Blisco and keep going . . . "
Date & start time: 26th May 2021. 10.30 am start.
Location of Start : Old Dungeon Ghyll car park, Langdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 286 061 )
Places visited : Pike O'Blisco, Cold Fell, Crinkle Crags then back down The Band.
Walk details : 8.5 mls, 3450 ft of ascent, 8 hours.
Highest point : Crinkle Crags, 2,816ft - 859m.
Walked with : Peter, Jo, Neil, myself and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.
Weather : A meteorological extravaganza . . . but we didn't get wet !
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.
We feel like the famous four, survivors of the Online Fellwalking Club that disappeared into the ether when Yahoo pulled the internet plug.
Today Peter, Jo, Neil and myself met up for a Lakeland walk in Langdale and where better to meet up but the classic The Old Dungeon Ghyll.
Jo and Neil proposed a climb of Pike O'Blisco, a route that was extended twice during the day as the opportunities arose.
Meet today's crew . . . Peter, Jo and Neil.
Many of our friends of the OFC are of course still walking, but we just gathered this four together today, including myself behind the camera.
The route today would start at the hotel, then on towards Pike O'Blisco by walking past Wall End Farm and ascending Redacre Gill.
The cloud is down on the high fells at the head of the Langdale Valley . . . but the forecast hints at nice weather later.
The fell in the picture is The Band which brings people back down to the valley from Bowfell or the Crinkles.
Just over the wall, behind the barn, is sadly one of those farmyards with an industrial litter problem. It's been like that for years which is a real shame.
Our route today will take us up the road towards Little Langdale
but we branch off pretty soon and follow the line of conifers at the start of the Pike O'Blisco climb.
Goat-to it fellas . . . it could be a long day !
" I think the path is this way Peter " . . . but enthusiasm at the start of the walk trumps map reading !
The pipe only crossed a side tributary so Pete ends up on the correct path anyway.
The main crossing of Redacre Gill is a lot more civilised when we do actually reach it.
A good pitched path brings us easily up the slope, give or take a few stops for a breather along the way.
High above Loft Crag (opposite) we get our first glimpse of blue skies . . . spirits lift with the clouds.
We mustn't speak to soon though, as Pike O'Blisco is still hidden in the mist.
Decisions, decisions . . . do we go right or left . . . of the peaty tarn !
Whichever you chose, the summit isn't far away now.
Two hours after leaving the car and we're on the top of Pike O'blisco.
Lo and behold, the cloud has lifted and we get a view from the top.
Neil's photo of me for a change as I check out the view from the cairn.
I can see Peter settling down in the small shelter to grab some lunch . . . he seems to be a popular person.
He pretends to be dead to discourage the dogs from eating his lunch !
Don't worry , I've brought them a few biscuits, so you can enjoy the whole of your sandwich.
However, if you had permanently collapsed they may have gone round an eaten your sandwich anyway !
The real purpose of getting the camera out was to record the view from the top today . . .
After lunch we start to make our way down the other side.
No great plans now but as it is still early and the cloud has lifted we decide to head across to Cold Pike,
seen here as the closer fell in the photo.
A rocky descent from the summit did actually have a defined path.
Red Tarn below as we drop down to the hause.
The brightness on the tarn contrasted beautifully with the deep shadow on Wetherlam, Swirl How and the other Coniston Fells.
The path beyond is clear enough
but there's still a good drop down and an equally large climb up the other side, before we get to Cold Pike's summit.
Red Tarn is probably named after the red haematite rock found adjacent to it.
There's signs of a trial dig for this low grade iron ore in the disturbed ground around the wooden post.
A similar place on the far side of Bowfell is actually known as "Ore Gap".
Light and shade once again as we and Pike O'Stickle in the distance are both bathed in sunshine.
The dark, shaded spur in between is The Band, which would be our descent route later in the day.
The path we are using is the popular ascent route of Crinkle Crags from Oxendale.
Their summits are hidden by the slope of Great Knott, so instead we see Bowfell summit, the highest of the local tops.
Looking back the sun catches a crag called Markeens alongside the rising Oxendale path.
The summits are now fully clear of cloud and the views improve accordingly.
From the recognisable outline of distant Crinkle Crags you can see how they got their name.
However our immediate target is Cold Pike so we leave the main path and head up the fell . . . hardly a track to follow here
as few venture to this top compared to the number that would normally aim directly for the higher fells.
Another recognisable summit close by . . . the triangular shape of Eskdale's Harter Fell.
Summit number two and just a neat hour to reach it from Pike O'Blisco.
A big hand from Neil too, as we cross to the secondary summit on Cold Pike.
From here we get a clearer view down the Duddon Valley
with Caw and Stickle Pike leading the way west towards Black Combe in the far distance.
- - - o o o - - -
As it was still before 1pm the day was yet young, so after a quick estimate of distance and speed (and available energy)
we worked out that we could continue towards Crinkle Crags and still get back down to the valley in good time.
[ An hour to the first Crinkle, plus quarter of an hour each subsequent top, plus an hour and a half down the Band equals the pubs will be open.]
Crossing the moorland from Cold Pike to re-join the main path.
Peter had taken the dogs on a route more to Jo's left and was just ahead and out of picture.
Back on the yellow brick road . . . behind us now the Langdale Valley is significantly further away.
The bright sun sadly left us as the early afternoon progressed but the whole of the sky was overcast, not just our bit.
Ahead the summits of The Crinkles seemed to be attracting the odd cloud.
There are generally accepted to be five summits that make up the ridge, these are the first three.
That cloud we saw over the summits has been pushing west, up out of the Eskdale Valley.
As we watched, a bank of cloud and starts to obscure Swirl How.
Jo climbing the first summit is on the borderline of the weather.
Crinkle number one successfully reached.
Jo and Neil deep in conversation over something.
Ahead, summit number two and the highest point of Crinkle Crags.
To reach it we have the option of climbing "The Bad Step" which is in the region of the chock stone in the diagonal fault line opposite.
For those not into scrambling the main path skirts left and climbs to the summit via a more gradual route.
There is also a rough option slightly to the right.
Dylan and Dougal had been shown the simpler grassy rake around to the right and were on top ahead of me.
Summiting out on the bad step.
Peter on Crinkle number two, the highest point of the ridge.
Looking back at Crinkle number one that we had just climbed.
The darkness had gone and the intermittent cloud was producing that lovely moving shadow effect on High Raise and the Langdale fells below.
This was the view from just off the summit, looking ahead to Crinkles three, four and five.
You should be able to see Peter on number three.
A short while later we joined him on the top.
The weather was changing by the minute and here we are, back into brilliant sunshine.
Dougal and Dylan and Pike O'Blisco from the summit cairn of Crinkle number three.
A brief view of the highest point in England . . . Scafell through the mist that was sweeping up the western slopes.
Looking down the Langdale Valley from above Shelter Crags , somewhere between tops four and five.
The view to the east is all sunshine and light.
The view west however is very different, obscured by the mist blowing up from the western valleys.
We'll class this as Crinkle five though the complex nature of the ground at this end makes everything look like a fifth summit.
The path twists and turns so no wander it is notorious for difficult navigation in thick mist or snow.
Peter grabs the high ground again as Neil passes below.
Also below, a very short time later, the monster from the bog appears.
The end of the ridge is marked by our arrival at the Three Tarns.
Peter throws pebbles for Dougal as there aren't any sticks to chase this high on the fell.
Fortunately the light mist doesn't hinder us finding our descent route.
This is the pitched path that has climbed The Band, a well used route for those heading directly for Bowfell.
A look back at where the Crinkle Crags should be and a photo of our group as we descend out of the mist.
We're slowly closing the circle on our walk today as we look across to Pike O'Blisco and Red Tarn.
A fine rock alongside the path gives me a foreground for the picture.
More rocks and therefore more to climb . . . this one they almost climbed without asking.
To the north of us the clouds are building behind the Pikes.
There's a squall heading over the mountains, but fortunately it seems to be hitting Easedale and the Grasmere valleys not us.
The dogs follow Pete once again as he ventures over to see the view down into Mickleden.
It's a long walk down The Band to Stool End Farm at the bottom.
Our estimate of an hour and a half on this section, wasn't far from the time it actually took on the day.
A brief spot of relaxation near the foot of the descent
Time to ease any aching knees by taking time out on the seat built into the wall.
Another open barn, this time with a sheep rather than a goat in the middle of the Stool End farm complex.
To make it up to him I take another photo.
An old mangle in the yard still works and has been recently used to break the beet crop into smaller, bite-size pieces for the animals.
Looking back at the farm, The Band and the cloud now shrouding the high fells
that we had successfully negotiated on our walk today.
Beautiful afternoon light on the rugged Langdale Pikes as we strolled across the valley.
This is where started our walk some eight hours ago.
The sheep have been moved and the gate to Stool End is now stood open.
Just a short walk back to the car park at The Old Dungeon Ghyll.
- - - o o o - - -
Having parked adjacent to the hotel we walked across to the hotel garden with the intension of quenching our thirst and assuaging our hunger.
Sadly, despite talking to the limited staff on duty about where to order, they managed to studiously ignore us
and so after some twenty minutes or more we got fed up of waiting and adjourned to an alternative venue.
Immediate service at the outside tables of Stickle Barn, adjacent to the New Dungeon Ghyll.
A beer was quickly followed by a menu and a food order.
In the brief interlude between us ordering and the food arriving, the dogs were recognised
and two web site viewers introduced themselves to us.
Paula, Anna and Ben who were up on holiday were sitting at the next table. Thanks for saying hello.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures generally taken with Neil's phone or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . the satisfaction of a descent walk, well completed.
Previous walks - 23rd May - 6th June Local Days - End of May
A previous time up here - 10th March 2014 - Bowfell for our third 214
Next walk - 29th / 30th May Haystacks and a Swim