Seen from the surrounding hills Pike of Stickle is an instantly identifiable lump on the high ground above Langdale. Up close it's impressive. Jack's Rake on Pavey Ark is avoided by using an excellent path up the gully on the east ridge. Which paradoxically Wainwright called the North Rake. He also didn't think much of it! Its a good long clamber well within the capabilities of any walker.
A circuit of the Langdale Pikes has to be high on any walker's agenda.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Thunacar Knott, Thorn Crag, Pike of Stickle, Pavey Ark, Loft Crag, and Harrison Stickle; and includes 5 Wainwrights, 6 Birketts, 5 Nuttalls, and 2 Hewitts.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Starting in Langdale from the New Dungeon Ghyll National Trust car park alongside Sticklebarn Tavern, head up to the back of the car park past the information boards and shelter. Turn right through the gate, then left through the next. Cross the grass to the bottom of the Stickle Ghyll path. Now the climbing begins. Continue on the path, it's a mixture of stone pitched path, and rough boulders. Climb the stile, there is a lift up dog gate here. Shortly after the stile is a footbridge, cross it to the other bank.
Continue now on the east bank. The west bank is not such an easy path, and has a stile without a dog bypass. Follow the pitched path, occasionally there are some lumps of rock that require a bit of clambering over. Allow yourself to be guided by the path to cross the ghyll again back to the east bank by way of some very large stepping stones. It's a good idea to note this crossing as it's not so obvious on the return journey. Turn right and continue climbing, it's not far now to the tarn.
At the tarn turn right and cross the outfall. Follow the path round the bank, bear left at the junction of paths to Blea Rigg, and cross the peaty boggy patch by the stream? Now leave the tarn shore and bear right alongside Bright Beck. Cross the beck on a path climbing to the bottom of Pavey Ark's east ridge. Wainwright calls this route North Rake. The path is steep and rough, but there are no difficulties. Rounding a rocky outcrop bear left and continue climbing on the obvious path.
Cross a short plateau and continue climbing the gully ahead. Lots of cairns mark the way although not so many are needed really. It looks much worse than it is. At the top of the gully bear left to find the summit on the other side of the broken down wall.
There is an intermittent path to Thunacar Knott that starts just off the summit of Pavey Ark, bear left towards Harrison Stickle for approx 50m (55 yards), then bear right. In fine weather it is not problematic, in mist the only way is to take a bearing from the map, roughly WNW. Along the way are a few boggy bits. The summit cairn is the northern most.
With Pike of Stickle now in view across Harrison Combe another intermittent path may be found from near the southern cairn heading initially to just right of the Pike. Care will be required for the combe is a morass of soft squidgy bog as is typical of such high gently sloping ground.
There are some inviting looking ramps on the Pike when viewed from afar, but beware as it may end with a precarious move required. Most straight forward ascent seems to be to bear left just above the base and climb alongside a gully to the summit of Pike of Stickle.
Drop down from the Pike by the route of ascent. Turn right, across the head of the gully, and keep right on the path. Bear up right to climb onto the ridge to Loft Crag. The last bit to the rocky knoll is an easy scramble with many variations.
Between Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle lies the small top of Thorn Crag. Continue over the summit of Loft Crag, towards a subsidiary cairn further along the ridge, before reaching it turn left down an easy but otherwise loose scree path. Bear right and climb to the small cairn of Thorn Crag summit.
Continuing over the summit down the other side a little to another cairn has some good views of Dungeon Ghyll and a path to Pike How. Bear left off Loft Crag, to cross the head of Dungeon Ghyll, keep left to the cairn at the foot of the steep slopes up to Harrison Stickle and the junction of paths. Turn right onto the rough path. It soon becomes stone pitched, though breaks in places. An occasional cairn confirms the way ahead. A few rocky steps will need to be scaled, some quite energetic, but more of a delightful clamber than a scramble. Bear left to the summit cairn of Harrison Stickle, which is the most northerly of the pair.
From the Harrison Stickle summit, return to the col between the two summit knolls and drop right initially on grass overlooking Stickle Tarn. Bear left onto the rough path taking a descending traverse. At the large cairn bear right and drop down firstly on rough terraces of rock marked with cairns, and then pitch path. Follow this to the Tarn.
Cross the dam, but not the outfall, and bear right to drop down the path on the west bank. After 200m (220 yards) bear left and cross the ghyll by the large stepping stones. Continue down on the east bank. Reaching the stile cross it to continue down to the footbridge again.
Cross the footbridge and bear left to return to the car park, or the Sticklebarn Tavern!
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||30m (33 yards) away|
|Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick||60m (66 yards) away|
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||80m (88 yards) away|
|Crinkle Crags||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Bowfell, via Worneyside Force, Hell Gill, and the Great Slab||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Rossett Pike, Angle Tarn, Esk Pike and Bowfell||0.8km (0.5 miles) away|
|Blea Tarn above Langdale||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Cold Pike and Pike of Blisco||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Great Carrs and Grey Friar||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Allan Bank Woodland Walk||4.2km (2.6 miles) away|
|Silver How||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|Alcock Tarn||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|Helm Crag||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Easedale Tarn||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Easedale Tarn, Codale Tarn, and Tarn Crag||4.6km (2.8 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