|Distance:||7.4 km or 4.6 miles|
|Ascent:||678m or 2224ft|
|Descent:||680m or 2231ft|
The weather forecast for Saturday 2nd February had suggested a sunny winter's day. - Although, as things turned out, the morning was mostly very overcast with a bitterly cold wind. However, the afternoon was sunny, and, with the wind dying down, much more pleasant!
Temperature on the fells was pretty much below freezing all day, with icy patches on all paths from valley level upwards. General snowline was at about 1000ft, and snow depth increased significantly from there up to the fell-tops. Walking was quite arduous for much of the time, as the often deep and drifted snow was mostly soft and not yet fully compacted.
I was carrying crampons and ice axe, but with deep soft snow on much of my chosen route, there was no real need to use them. The walking poles definitely came in handy though! - And pull-on micro-spikes were very useful on the mixed icy / rocky terrain of the lower level frozen paths.
I started the walk from the National Trust car park beside the Stickle Barn at New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, and followed the Stickle Ghyll path up to Stickle Tarn. From the dam, I walked around the tarn in front of Pavey Ark, before making my way over to the start of North Rake.
I ascended North Rake to Pavey Ark summit, and then followed the ridgeline around to Harrison Stickle summit. From there I headed westwards, (generally towards Pike O'Stickle), to pick up the Thorn Crag path. Then descending beside Dungeon Ghyll, down to the knoll of Pike Howe, before making the final descent back to valley level and the carpark.
GPX track of the route walked: -
The Langdale Pikes, as seen before sunrise. (From beside the cattlegrid, on the B5343 approach to the hamlet of Elterwater): -
Pavey Ark, as seen before sunrise. (Also from beside the cattlegrid, on the B5343 approach to the hamlet of Elterwater): -
Looking up Stickle Ghyll to Tarn Crag, just after sunrise. (At this stage it looked like it was going to be a beautiful winter's morning!): -
Unfortunately, the early morning sunshine only lasted a few minutes. Dark clouds and a bitterly cold wind quickly came in with a vengeance! Looking back down towards the valley, with Wetherlam etc. in the far distance. - From the upper part of the Stickle Ghyll path: -
By the time I'd reached Stickle Tarn I was only a couple of hundred feet below cloud level, and the fell tops were lost in the clag. - Harrison Stickle, and a partly frozen Stickle Tarn. - (Taken from the dam): -
Looking across Stickle Tarn to Pavey Ark - again with its summit lost in the clag. - (Also taken from the dam): -
Looking back to Stickle Tarn from the lower part of North Rake: -
The view across Blea Rigg from North Rake. A few patches of sunlight now appearing on the Fairfield range of fells: -
Looking towards a distant Windermere, from Pavey Ark's North Rake: -
Looking down North Rake. The ridge of Blea Rigg in mid-ground, and a still cloudy Fairfield range of fells on the horizon: -
More sunshine now. - Looking up the roughly 50° steep slope, towards the top of North Rake:-
Looking across to Harrison Stickle from Pavey Ark summit area: -
Looking down from Pavey Ark summit to Stickle Tarn, with Great Langdale valley and Windermere beyond: -
Helvellyn (left), Nethermost Pike, Dollywaggon Pike, & Seat Sandal, with St. Sunday Crag beyond, from Pavey Ark summit area: -
The view from Pavey Ark across Harrison Stickle ridgeline, to Crinkle Crags beyond: -
Yours truly on Pavey Ark summit plateau, with a glimpse of Loughrigg Fell etc. beyond: -
Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn, with the eastern fells vista beyond. - From Harrison Stickle summit: -
A close-up of Seat Sandal (centre), with Dollywaggon Pike, St. Sunday Crag, & Fairfield beyond. - From Harrison Stickle summit: -
Pavey Ark and Stickle Tarn. - From Harrison Stickle summit: -
Crinkle Crags (left), Bowfell, Esk Pike, & Great End - with Loft Crag & Pike O'Stickle in mid-ground. From Harrison Stickle summit: -
Looking over to the sugar loaf top of Pike O'Stickle, with part of Rossett Pike showing over to the right. - From Harrison Stickle summit: -
Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, with Loft Crag in mid-ground, and part of Pike O'Stickle at far right. - From Harrison Stickle summit: -
Looking across Allen Crags and Glaramara, to Great End, Great Gable and Green Gable on the horizon. - From Harrison Stickle: -
A close-up of Great Gable and Green Gable (Across the Allen Crags / Glaramara ridgeline). - From Harrison Stickle summit area: -
Looking across to Pike O'Stickle. - From the western flanks of Harrison Stickle: -
The Dungeon Ghyll ravine, with Lingmoor Fell beyond. Taken from the Thorn Crag path on the descent to Pike Howe: -
A tighter cropped composition of the Dungeon Ghyll ravine: -
Looking back up to Pike O'Stickle. - From the Thorn Crag / Pike Howe path: -
Looking down to Pike Howe, with Great Langdale valley and Windermere beyond, and the Pennine hills on the far horizon: -
The Great Langdale valley, as seen from Pike Howe: -
Looking back up to Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle, and the route just descended. - From Pike Howe: -
The crags of Harrison Stickle, as seen from Pike Howe: -
A close-up of Pavey Ark's main cragface, as seen from Pike Howe: -
Looking across Side Pike to the Great Intake, with part of Wetherlam over to the right hand side of shot: -
Late afternoon sun on Tarn Crag, with Pavey Ark just showing above the snowline over to the left. - (From Miller Crag area): -
Last shot of the day, and a similar view, (taken from the same location), to the first shot of the day - but with the Langdale Pikes now in bathed in full afternoon sunlight: -
Overall, another fantastic day out on the Lakeland fells!