We've been up Cold Pike and Pike of Blisco many times, but this must have been the first where it didn't rain, throw a blizzard at us, or chuck us off the fells with a gale. It's one of the finest routes too with excellent views and a great feeling of remoteness.
Red Tarn, which you pass in the latter stage of the walk, gets its
name from the colour of the surrounding rocks: a less common form of
copper oxide weathers to red. Once it was mined from the slopes above
the tarn's shores. For such a large tarn it is quite shallow just
Starting high at the top of Wrynose Pass, at Three Shires Stone, there are a few small parking spots. You will have to get there early to bag a space at holiday times. The stone marks the spot where the old counties of Lancaster, Cumberland, and Westmorland met.
The name of the pass: Wrynose, apparently is from "pass of the stallion" on account of it needing a good strong horse to climb it! Signs of the original Roman road can still be found along Wrynose Bottom.
If you need accommodation we have details of 19 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From Three Shire stone take the path around the boggy patch behind the stone and head generally north west on the path beyond. There are some more boggy patches and just after a set of stepping stones as the path turns right, bear left beside a small pile of stones and below the large boulder onto a faintly marked path little more than a sheep trod. This sounds worse than it is as there is little overall difficulty following it but you may have to 'keep the faith' and look a little further out to pick it up across the more indistinct sections.
Traverse round the head of the rivers above Duddon Grains, it gets a little boggy at times and you'll need to cross some small streams. Bear left and tackle the grass slopes ahead to gain what looks like the ridge. Cross the small plateau, and bear right up onto the ridge proper. Follow the crest to the shattered summit of Cold Pike. If you worry about which of the three bits of rock is the actual summit, visit all of them, just to be sure!
From the summit area head due north towards Great Knott to pick up another faint path winding its way down to the major path from Red Tarn to the Crinkles, which it joins just before the river. If you miss the path and stray too far left towards the col it gets very wet and boggy. Too far right leads to steep rough ground. Join the major path and turn right. Drop down engineered steps to the junction of paths at the head of Red Tarn. The path here is really rather red.
Continue across the col and where the path turns right, go straight ahead on the rough path which immediately starts to zigzag and climbs. Watch for cairns ahead as the path crosses patches of shattered rocks and could be easily lost. The summit area is cloven in two, the path reaches the higher on the left first. Use the rock ramps to clamber up to the cairns.
The easiest way down is to retrace your steps to the head of Red Tarn. Again watch for the cairns to keep on the path. Back at the junction, turn sharp left and follow the path above Red Tarn. Cross a number of streams and more boggy patches. You might hear the climbers calling to each other on Long Scar - it's a popular venue. Eventually, not far above Three Shire Stone you 'close the circle', continue on the main path back to the parking area.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Great Carrs and Grey Friar||130m (143 yards) away|
|Blea Tarn above Langdale||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Bowfell, via Worneyside Force, Hell Gill, and the Great Slab||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Rossett Pike, Angle Tarn, Esk Pike and Bowfell||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|A visit to Cathedral Cavern from Tilberthwaite||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Steel Edge and Wetherlam Edge, from Tilberthwaite||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike||3.5km (2.1 miles) away|
|Crinkle Crags||3.5km (2.1 miles) away|
|The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|A very short walk to Hard Knott and Border End||4.7km (2.9 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