Crinkle Crags

Crinkle Crags by name and nature, a rugged jumble of shattered rocky towers on a ridge set across the head of Oxendale at the far end of the Langdale valley. Direct approaches are rebuffed by steep rock buttresses and the horrors of scree. Yet a crossing of this amazing piece of natural architecture is easily within the capabilities of any reasonably fit walker.

A feature known as the "Bad Step" on the highest crinkle is surmountable with care and a little knowledge, or a bypass to the left ascended with ease. It is here that the intimidated turn back with the mission unaccomplished. The only reason should be the weather which can turn quickly and unexpectedly from pleasant spring day back into mid-winter and so catching out the unprepared. A modest walk in distance terms, but one not to be underestimated. Even today the path across the crinkles is intermittent at times, little more than crampon scratches and smoothed rock from the passage of boots over rough edges to give the game away. There is not one route but many options as people fan out to try different lines. Steep drops abound to catch out the unwary. Take a full, unhurried, day at least for the first visit.

Once past Great Knott and until the great col of Three Tarns there is no escape eastwards from the ridge back to Langdale. Attempting an inviting scree gully to descend from bad weather is not recommended. To the west lies a wide expanse of still high boggy ground, Eskdale is a long way from the ridge and even further from Langdale. No, the only sensible thing is to complete the ridge, or retrace your steps.

A note about the Bad Step. As you drop down the first crinkle heading for the second and highest you cannot help but notice the gully containing two chockstones with a path leading directly into it. This is the Bad Step. There are two approaches: tackle it, or bypass. The bypass we describe in the the walk instructions is the recommended route for walkers. Those of a modest climbing persuasion could enter the gully to below the chockstones and look to the right. Hand and footholds should then leap out at you and a plan can be hatched.

Dog walkers should always take the bypass.

Park at the National Trust car park beside the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel at the far western end of the B5343. Stagecoach run a bus service through the valley from Ambleside.