Friday, 20 February 2009

Bowfell & Esk Pike from Great Langdale July 2006

I started this walk from the car park near the New Dungeon Gill Hotel. As I set off along the path toward the Old Dungeon Ghyll, I looked up to the Langdale Pikes. I remember thinking how interesting this area looked and how I wanted to return to do this walk some other time. My destination today, however, was the magnificent Bowfell. I could see Bowfell in the distance further down the valley. It looked rather spectacular along with Crinkle Crags.

Once I reached the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel I walked past the car park then onto the road before joining a farm track leading to The Band. After walking through the farm yard I came to the junction in the path where I could turn off to The Band, or continue to Oxendale Beck. Taking the turn off for The Band, I started the long ascent up the ridge leading to the col between Bowfell and Crinkle Crags. As the land rose the views across to the Gills running down from The Pike of Blisco and Crinkle Crags, impressive channels cut into the fell side.

The path up Band is predominantly on the southern side of the ridge. There is one point in the ascent, however, where the path rises onto a flat part of the ridge where there are good views over to its northern side overlooking the Langdale Pikes, and the Pike of Stickle in particular. As I continued, though, the wall of the ridge rose on my right hand side as it joined with the southern crags of Bowfell itself. I followed the curve in the path around under these crags as it rose to the col at Three Tarns.

From here I turned right to ascend the main mass of Bowfell up a steep rocky Gully. As the land levelled out onto a plateau, I could see the rugged peak of Bowfell rising over to my left. I followed the short path leading off up to the summit where I sat down on a rock to eat my lunch and observe the view all around. Bowfell summit is 902 meters and gives views into multiple valleys separated by high fells. As I sat there eating my sandwich I found myself looking for the Langdale valley from where I had ascended. There was something quite disorientating about not being able to see this huge valley straight away. The view on to the west was truly outstanding. I could see the whole of the Scafell range unobscured. My attention was drawn to Mickledore and Broad Stand with it's vertical cliffs. Once again I thought how much I would like to visit those fells.

From Bowfell summit I set off across the ridge towards Esk Pike. I passed the northern edge of Bowfell on my right and descended down into a dip in the ridge before making a relatively gentle ascent to the rocky summit of Esk Pike. I continued passed without stopping as the path fell away suddenly on it's far side, descending to Esk Hause. This was a flat plateau between the base of Esk Pike and Great End. In the middle of this area there was a crossroads where five footpaths met. One of these went up onto the Scafell Pike ridge. Although my next destination was back towards Angle Tarn and then down to Great Langdale, I went down the path which is used as a short cut by walkers ascending Scafell Pike from Grains Gill in Borrowdale. When I came to the path going down towards Sprinkling Tarn I got a great view of Great Gable across Sty Head. Turning right, however, I walked up to the shelter below Allen Crags and realised that I had just taken a very long route from Esk Hause, adding on about 20 minutes to my walk. It did, however, provide an inspiring view of Great Gable that was certainly worth seeing.

From here the path descended and then rose over a brow before descending once again to Angle Tarn below the Bowfell to Esk Pike ridge. A very scenic Tarn. The path then rose to the gap between Rossett Pike this ridge. At the top of this rise, the path then dropped sharply down Rossett Gill to the valley floor of Mickleden. I followed the path beside the Mickleden Beck underneath the Pike of Stickle to the Old Dungeon Gill Hotel. It was then just a short distance back to the New Dungeon Gill where I had parked my car.

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