Starting at another classic, the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel this moderate walk passes through the edge of the Great Langdale campsite to use a path which avoids a great deal of hard road walking. Passing Blea Tarn House and climbing up beside the ghyll opposite the cottage to the ridge of Side Pike. Then heading towards the towering face of Side Pike we see gradually getting closer is, unfortunately, no place for walkers. Intimidating from afar and from below the cliffs their sheer scale is finally apparent. A drop in height and re-ascent on the west ridge is not difficult, but the path is intermittent and requires a touch of off-piste sense. Previous walkers' efforts at forging through the bracken might be easier to see in the summer. The climb through the crags using whatever grassy rakes you can find is quite good fun. The west ridge wall will eventually collect you if there is any doubt where to go.
Parking is available at the National Trust pay and display car park next to the hotel.
If you need accommodation we have details of 29 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the car park, return to the road and turn right. Seemingly at the end of the road take the sharp left turn to continue. In 100m (110 yards) cross the bridge, and bear left to the gate at the edge of the National Trust's Great Langdale campsite, signposted "Side Pike Lingmoor Fell". Go through the gate into the campsite. In 50m (55 yards) bear right at the footpath marker to head through a stand of trees.
Continue ahead to the kissing gate, go through and cross the field, bearing slightly right to another kissing gate, and go through into the stand of larch. At the top of the larch go through another gate onto the open fell. The path here zigzags up the fell side in an obviously engineered way although it is quite rough.
Nearing the top bear right to the gate to the road beside the cattle grid.
There is a traverse path which avoids some road walking, but it is rather tedious. Using the road is quick and easy. So at the road turn left and head round to Blea Tarn House, the only building on this road. Just past it bear left to take the grassy path on the right hand side of the ghyll. It is well worn and easy to follow. Go through the gap in the wall and continue climbing. Reaching the small knolls and bracken slopes, the path threads its way through never far from the ghyll. Continue to the wall at the head of the ghyll.
Bear left to drop down to cross the wall at the step stile. The other side of the stile, bear left over a boggy patch and continue climbing through knolls and up grass and bracken rakes, but keep near the fence. Under snow the route was a bit of a free-for-all with no clear consensus.
At the top, bear left and cross the step stile just below the Brown How, Lingmoor Fell summit cairn. The views are stunning and well worth the effort.
Bear left at the summit cairn on the path beside the fence. With excellent views ahead to the Langdale Pikes, this path follows the fence, and wall, all the way to the col below Side Pike. A small number of rocky scrambles and boggy patches in the heather adds further interest. As does a sharp corner in the wall where the path drops down alongside in a short loose gully. Reaching the step stile, bear left to cross, and then bear right to follow the wall now on your right hand side.
At the col below the cliffs of Side Pike there is a fence across the ridge with a kissing gate providing access for climbers. Turn left and descend the zigzags to another step stile.
Cross the step stile and bear right up beside the beck. There is a path of intermittent sorts through bracken covered slopes. Crags hide the easier ridge path you seek, that is over to the left or above you depending on your energy levels at this point. Bear left and cross the stream to ascend an easy rake climbing the fellside from right to left. Continue climbing and threading your way through the crags to the wall and west ridge path. Bear right and continue to the top, beware of false summits. The summit lies a little further on from the brief respite of a small knoll.
Care is required at the top. Precipitous drops lie all around apart from the west ridge of ascent.
Return down the west ridge and continue over the knoll. Follow the path alongside the wall, initially on the left hand side (south) it swaps over to the right and descends through rocky terraces. A little down climbing might be required but it should never be troublesome. Hand and foot holds are well worn and easily spotted in the short sections.
At the bottom of the ridge, bear left and go through the kissing gate with the exceptionally strong springs. Cross the field to the top of the zigzag path back down to the campsite. Drop down through the stand of trees, the field and bear left through the campsite. At the road bear right to return to the Old Dungeon Ghyll.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Crinkle Crags||10m (11 yards) away|
|Bowfell, via Worneyside Force, Hell Gill, and the Great Slab||50m (55 yards) away|
|Rossett Pike, Angle Tarn, Esk Pike and Bowfell||50m (55 yards) away|
|The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Blea Tarn above Langdale||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Cold Pike and Pike of Blisco||3.5km (2.1 miles) away|
|Great Carrs and Grey Friar||3.6km (2.2 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Allan Bank Woodland Walk||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011