Featured post

Snowdonia Peaks

Sunday, 27 March 2016

A Not Too Bad Good Friday 25-3-2016

Having not been out in the hills since January it was looking more likely that this coming Easter would be a good time to get out there again and with Friday looking like being the best day weather wise a date was set, but where to go?? A couple of places in Snowdonia were calling me again but also a place I last visited a couple of years back was also on the cards, THE LANGDALE VALLEY up in the Lake District. The route I chose was one that I had wanted to revisit after being up there about 7 years ago and missed out going up and over all of the Crinkles of the named CRINKLE CRAGS. That particular day was a long and tiring one and I had always wanted a revisit so this time seemed a perfect time to go. The forecast was for good sunny clear spells, with no rain but clouds rolling in towards the end of the day, brilliant, but this is the high fells of the Lake District so fingers crossed..................
A good early start saw me get parked and ready to go about 8.30am in what can only be described as excellent spring weather. Sun, blue skies, birds singing, happy campers cooking breakfast, the sound of babbling streams and my route all laid out in front of me looking just perfect, a really Good Friday to be out :-) A straight forward walk down the lane to Stool End Farm leads you onto the path that goes up 'The Band' towards the mighty BOWFELL but I skirted off this and onto the path that leads along the valley floor before heading up Brown Howe towards Red Tarn. Now as I don't often get up to the Lakes, with my car usually being in automatic mode and turning right on the motorway most of the time :-) I can't get used to every rock, blade of grass and bit of water being given a name, This crag, That beck, Sucha Pike, Knott & Fell, (all said tongue in cheek before anyone gets angry, it's an in joke :-) )
My route for the day
The Crinkels and Bowfell laid out in front like a picture post card
Bridge over Oxendale Beck
Looking back down the valley from the bridge
After crossing Oxendale Beck it was time for a quick pit stop before I headed upwards and into the shadow of PIKE OF BLISCO, where there was a bit of a drop in temperature as I was now out of the sunlight. The path up here is a good laid out one and easy to follow before it levels off a bit as it becomes more of a rough path up to the col and junction of paths just short of Red Tarn.
The well laid out part of the path
Looking back down on my route so far
My route forward with my first summit of the day, Cold Pike, in the distance
Looking acros to Crinkle Crags & Bowfell with the cloud moving in
Red Tarn
 From Red Tarn, it was a good flat stretch of path and cutting across the soft damp ground taking me onto the first summit of the day, COLD PIKE. Like the name suggests, it was a bit cooler up here and quite windy and not much in the way of views as the cloud had rolled in and made it quite eerie as the sound of the ravens echoed around the rocky summit. I found a place out of the wind for 15 minutes or so and waited for a break in the mist to get a clear view that I was on the right track and headed back down towards the main path on to the Crinkles. Hat, gloves and warm coat were now a firm fixture.
Looking back on Red Tarn
Red Tarn below Pike of Blisco
Pile of stones on a misty Cold Pike
View down to the main path from Cold Pike
Looking back up to a now clear Cold Pike
The mist had now taken over and all views had almost disappeared apart from a few glimpses here and there and the gusts of wind were now more frequent and strong. Thankfully it was still dry and I was quite warm despite the conditions. The path was still quite easy to follow as I made my way steadily up towards the Crinkles. Now this was where I first encountered another walker that had missed a path as she was making her way towards the Three Tarns. As I was heading that way I told her she was going in the wrong direction as she had come from that way. A quick look at the map and she couldn't understand where she went wrong, a sign of things to come maybe!! I started what I wanted to do and get my hands on rock for a bit of mild scrambling as I started on the Crinkles. Despite the wind and mist the route was a good one and all was going well............
The last of the views down to the valley floor
Shadows in the mist
Starting my way up the Crinkles
Misty view downwards
Not much to see here.......
or here..........
or here......
or down there
It was at this point where I came upto Long Top, or at least that is where I thought I was, as this big wall of rock appeared out of the mist and looked quite intimidating. I stopped for a few minutes and looked at the options of either going straight over the top or following the path around it. Normally I'd just go straight over but with the wind and mist I opted for the safe and easy way of the path. If I'd been over it before and knew what to expect I'd of been fine in these conditions but the one and only other time I was here it was by the path but in the opposite direction so a bit of caution was taken. It was also where I had another encounter with someone but this time we were both heading in the right direction as she was going towards Red Tarn. This is where it got a bit of a mystery as I got my head down following a path and a few cairns but something didn't feel right when I came upon a gully and a bit of a pathless area that didn't quite feel right. I also came across the first woman I saw earlier with another two people who were still looking for the Three Tarns, despite having a map and GPS. A quick chat and looking at the maps they decided to head back over Long Top and take a path off there. As it turned out I should of followed them as I saw them later on but as they took a wrong turn before...........
The wall of rock of which I went round the base
Enjoying it despite the lack of views
I hung around for a bit weighing up the options. looking at the map and wondering where I went wrong when two other walkers came out of the mist after taking the same route as me. As we were chatting and trying to map read :-) looking down the gully  thinking it wasn't the right way another couple appeared out of the gully also looking for the way towards the Three Tarns!! They too had done the same thing but decided to have a look down the gully that led to a steep scrambling section. As he had been here before a few times, in clear weather, he wasn't sure where that was going so we all hung about for another fifteen minutes whild checking maps and devices and decided we should head off down a faint path along the grassy bank that took us off to the right, under Long Top that eventually lead us back on the main path just as the clouds were beginning to break up and all was revealed. As it happened we weren't the only ones that took the off piste route as there was a few others behind us. Easily done in the conditions and was quite glad that a few more were there as 5 heads is better than one and no panic just a bit of friendly banter and a good excuse to go back again one day :-)
Come to the Lakes they said, enjoy the good sunny conditions they said!!!! :-)
Making our way across the grassy slopes
It's all becoming clear now as we follow a faint path
Looking back on the slight detour
The views of Langdale I should of had for most of this walk
On the right path again
On the right path again
And Bowfell reveals it's self
As we approached the three tarns I decided to take another break while the others went there separate ways, two went up to Bowfell while two headed back down the band. By this time the mist had gone and the Crinkles appeared to show where we and others went wrong. Head down following a bit of a path with a few cairns knocking about may not be the best option but knowing that you went wrong somewhere helps a little and all ended well with the help of others.
It was a pull up Bowfell but one that I had to do to make it worthwhile even though the old legs were starting to feel it but hey, no pain no gain and all that :-)
On the approach to the summit
A clear summit view of my route. If only it was like that a couple of hours ago
Summit view down Langdale to a distant Windermere
Summit view across to the cloudy Sca Fells
Where we all went wrong. Ended on the flat section on the right and crossing the snow in the small gully centre,  instead of following the rocky ridge across the top
After about half an hour I made my way back down as the mist started to roll in again and also the wind was picking up all the time so not much point in hanging about although the old legs were telling me to stay putt for a bit longer. Not the best of ascents especially down the band but at least the views were there to stay the lower I got and the tops were begining to break free again. the wind picked up quite a bit going down the Band to the extent I had to take shelter sitting down a few times as I was nearly knocked off my feet at one point!! All in a days walk I suppose
On the approach to the three Tarns
view over to the Crinkle Crags from the Band
View over to my ascent path to Red Tarn and Cold Pike with Pike of Blisco on the left
From left to right, Pike o Blisco, Crinckle Crags Bowfell
All clear down the Langdale Valley
All clear down the Langdale Valley
Clear view over to Pike of Stickle and the Langdale Pikes
On the approach to Stool End Farm
National trust memorial bench to S.H.Hamer with the inscription" Rest and remember the work of S H Hamer, Secretary of the National Trust, 1911 - 1934."
Stool End Farm and at last flat ground :-)
Not as clear as this morning but a good view back of todays walk. If only it could of been as clear all day
All in all another great day in the mountains. Started off a very good spring morning that got gradually worse but thankfully kept dry. Started to clear but the wind got quite strong at times. Would of preferred the views and scrambling up and over the Crinkles but enjoyed it all the same. Had a good rest and refuel in the Walkers Bar of the NEW DUNGEON GHYLL before setting off home. A long Good Friday, great :-)

Video of Bowfell & Crinckle Crags