|Distance:||9.754 km or 6.1 miles|
|Ascent:||646m or 2119ft|
|Descent:||647m or 2123ft|
The Lake District weather forecast for Monday 20th January looked quite promising: - "Sunny periods with frost and possible fog in valleys during the morning".
So, on that basis, I decided to have a look on Gladstone Knott near Crinkle Crags, to try to find "Gladstone's Finger", a rock pinnacle mentioned in Alfred Wainwright's "Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells". (Book 4, Southern Fells Crinkle Crags 5). As things turned out, the forecast got it decidedly wrong for the area I was interested in! The valley was clear, as was the entire skyline around the Langdale Pikes, but the higher parts of all the fells around Crinkle Crags were shrouded in low lying cloud, which despite extremely strong and blustery winds, hung there all day.
I set off from the National Trust car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, and walked through Stool End Farm into Oxendale. Following Oxendale Beck as far as the second footbridge near the confluence below Whorneyside Force waterfall, I crossed the bridge and then within a few yards crossed Crinkle Gill, (via boulders as stepping stones), to begin the fellside ascent, (with Crinkle Gill now on my right, and Isaac Gill on my left), up towards Gladstone Knott.
Initially, a vague grassy path, (more of a sheep trod), could be followed. But that soon disappeared, and it was then a case of picking the best looking route over various grassy and slightly boggy areas as I headed upwards towards the crags. I became enveloped in thick mist just as I reached the level of the lower rocky outcrops, so just had to take the most likely looking route, as each outcrop appeared through the mist. I had to make a slight northwesterly diversion to skirt one particularly steep looking crag, but when I traversed back across its top I saw what must surely be my target about 50 yards higher up, just on the limit of vision. Getting up to the pinnacle, (and continuing beyond it), involved ascending a very steep, and extremely loose scree slope.
I'd intended carrying on up to Crinkle Crags after photographing the pinnacle, but what with the mist, and the extremely strong and gusty wind, I decided to abandon that thought! Instead, I traversed across the plateau above Great Knott, until I came to the main Red Tarn to Crinkle Crags path. I followed that path down to the Red Tarn "crossroads", and turned northwards for the final descent via Brown Howe, back to valley level. Eventually retracing my earlier route through Stool End Farm and back to the car.
Not a great day weatherwise, and so the pinnacle will need a revisit, when the weather is being more amenable!
GPX track of the route walked: -
Walk Elevation Profile: -
Just after starting the walk, and a shot looking towards Crinkle Crags. (Pike O'Blisco at left, The Band at right). Taken from the road in front of the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel: -
A snowy looking Bow Fell, viewed from Stool End Farm: -
The Langdale Pikes, with the morning sunshine just catching the top of Harrison Stickle over at right hand side: -
The Langdale Pikes from just beyond Stool End Farm. A little more sunshine now reaching these particular tops: -
The route ahead. Looking towards the head of Oxendale, and the spur to be ascended. - Isaac Gill to left, and a stony looking Crinkle Gill over to the right: -
A zoomed in shot of the upper part of Whorneyside Force waterfall. (The full waterfall can't be seen on the route I was taking): -
The footbridge at the head of Oxendale. Crinkle Gill is in the dip beyond: -
Looking up towards a just about visible Whorneyside Force. Taken from the footbridge at head of Oxendale: -
The view back down Oxendale, towards Great Langdale: -
Slightly higher up the fellside, and looking towards the Langdale Pikes and the Great Langdale valley: -
A closer view of the Langdale Pikes from the same point: -
Now up in the mist, and a first glimpse of (a not very obvious from this angle!) Gladstone's Finger: -
Having finally managed to climb up the horrendously loose scree, a shot of Gladstone's Finger from above: -
A few seconds later, and a brief thinning of the mist gives just a little more perspective down below the pinnacle: -
A closer view of Gladstone's Finger: -
Approaching Red Tarn, on the descent from the plateau above Great Knott: -
Now on the path beside Brown Howe, with Markeens in mid ground, and the Langdale Pikes on the horizon over to the right: -
A closer view of the area known as Markeens: -
Now back in the valley, and a shot of the Oxendale sheepfold, with the stubborn mist still hanging over where I'd been earlier: -
A final shot, showing how different the weather can be just one valley away. - (Langdale Pikes in afternoon light)!: -
All in all, a wild and woolly day on the fells.
I found what I'd set out for, but will have to go back to re-photograph Gladstone's Finger on a day when the weather is a tad more amenable!