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Snowdonia Peaks

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Crinkle Crags & Bowfell 4-3-17

Well what another great day on these iconic Lakeland Fells. Another last minute decision as I was torn between this and another visit to the Carneddau in Snowdonia but the weather seemed to make the decision for me as it seemed more settle up here. It was also the chance to get to know a few folk off one of the walking groups connected to Facebook that I'm a member of and to put names to faces. The other walk in Snowdonia was also connected to the same group so that would of been another opportunity to get to know fellow walkers. As it happened, I knew one of the group I was with which always seems a good way of breaking ice to gel with the other members and as it happened we all got on like a house on fire, good stuff :-)
This was a near repeat of the walk I did in March last year but with different weather. Last year a mixture of blue sky, sun and strong wind while this year was more of a snowy walk with little wind and a bit warmer. We also did a different and longer (killer) descent route that felt like it was never going to end!!    CLICK HERE
An early start of about 8am in the car park of the Old Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale, saw us start walking about 8.20 through Stool farm and along the track that should of took us to the wooden bridge over a quite swollen Oxendale Beck, only the bridge wasn't where it should of been, i.e, fixed over the water!!. For some reason it was lying on it's side with on end in the beck and looking a bit precarious to get over, but where there's a will, there's a way :-) and with a little bit of thought and carefulness we all made it across all in one piece and dry :-)
Our route for the day
Collapsed Bridge
Easy does it
Once we all got safely over it was the start of the steep ascent that takes you up past Browney Gill between tHE two lumps of Pike O' Plisco and Great knott and on towards Red Tarn. We swung round and headed on to Great Knott just before Red Tarn, and this is where we encountered the first bits of any lying snow. The snow here didn't look much but it did prove a bit difficult to walk on as it was lying in the path and was a good few inches deep in places, in fact one or two deep pockets that were like traps as you lost balance now and again.
Taking a breather @ Browney Gill
Great Knott and the Crinkles
Pike O Plisco
Snow covered path
Snow getting deeper over Great Knott
The depth of snow in places made for very tough going as there was times when you'd sink to you knees unexpectedly. With the rocks and tuffts of grass poking out of the snow it looked straight forward enough but then you'd get caught out by the unseen sink holes, fun in the snow :-) The weather was quite unexpected as the forecast said it would start to deteriorate as the afternoon went on, where in fact it actually got better and reasonably warm despite the alpine look. Although hats and gloves were on at rest points, mine were in the bag for most of the day as the wind also stayed away. A little breeze on the tops but nothing more and once the low cloud started to disperse it made for an excellent day with some great views all the way to the coast.
A frozen plateau
Sink holes in the snow
Small cornice forming between the Crinkles
Low cloud starting to lift
Pit stop view on the Crinkles

There's a fair amount of up and down on the Crinkles as you make you way over them and judging by the tracks in the snow there hadn't been a great amount of folk up here in the past few days. There were a few tracks that made the going a bit easier to follow and it showed where folk had been caught out by the sink holes and with the cloud lifting it made route finding a bit easier which is always on the helpful side. Between us though, we did have an assortment of maps and gps's to help us out along the way. By the time we had reached the three tarns the sun had made an appearance and all tops were clear of any cloud. In fact it had a warming effect as we stopped to take a layer off where we should of been adding a layer, but no complaints as we headed upto the highest summit of the day, Bow Fell.
Easy does it

Low cloud moving away to reveal our route so far
Langdale Valley coming into view
Sun hitting the Scafells with Bowfell all clear
Langdale Valley with a distant Windermere
One way to get down
Frozen tarn with the Scafells as the backdrop
Blue sky and sun over Bowfell as the layers come off :-)
The ascent of Bowfell
Bowfell Summit group photo
Summit view towards Mossdale/Eskdale
Summit views over to the Scafel range
Summit view down to Langstrath and beyond
Summit view back along Crinkle Crags and beyond

Summit views video
The initial plan of descent from Bow Fell, was to head over to Esk Pike, follow the path round and down past Angle Tarn before heading up to Rossett Pike and down the path following Rossett Gill, joining the main Cumbrian Way path back down to the car park. Because of the time it had taken us, because of the conditions, it was decided to bypass Esk Pike and Rossett Pike and just head straight for Angle Tarn and keeping to the descent path from there. A little disappointing as I would of liked to of ticked those two off but a sensible one as time was getting on. It just means another excuse to come back again but I'll not be looking forward to this descent path as I found it to be a bit off a killer after a tough long day. As we headed under Esk Pike the ground conditions were changing as the snow was turning more soft and slushy and therefore a bit more slippery. Again we all made it in one piece and it was good fun in parts :-)
Coming off Bow Fell
Keep away from the cornice
Blue sky & snow wasn't in the forecast
This is where it started to get a bit on the slushy side
On the slushy slippery descent

Angle Tarn with Rossett Pike
The descent path skirting under Rossett Pike
Heading into the Langdale Valley
Looking back up to the Crinkles and Bow Fell
 We got back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a debrief about 4.30pm so about 8 hours spent in this great area. A big thanks for Tony for organizing the walk and also the great company of Sharon, Nicci, Jay, Johnathon & Peter.

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