John's Top 5 High Level Walks in The Lake District.
A bit about John
Works in Marketing at Langdale
Keen fell runner and landscape photographer
No. 1 - Crinkle Crags
Distance: 8 miles
Time: 5-6 hours
Start at: The Old Dungeon Ghyll
Grid Ref: NY 248 049
Map required: Explorer OL6
Challenging terrain with exposed crags which can be avoided using precise navigation.
If you’re craving epic views from start to finish, then Crinkle Crags will no doubt satisfy. Sitting like a crown at the end of the Langdale valley it bridges from Cold Pike to Bow Fell spanning a mile and a half of heavily impressive, weathered rock and most definitely fills a good portion of the day. With spectacular views of Windermere and Coniston water and an uninterrupted view of the impressive Scafell range it gives a real sense of adventure. Care must be taken to navigate it properly however, especially in bad weather; the infamous ‘bad step’ which is a hands-on, short scrambling section can be avoided on a path which runs around to the West for those who are not comfortable with the brief exposure. Car parking can be found at the end of Langdale valley in front of the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.
No. 2 - Crag Hill
Distance: 9.5 miles
Time: 6 hours
Start at: Braithwaite
Grid Ref: NY 193 204
Map required: Explorer OL4
Main path not exposed yet some care must be taken when descending from the summit to the North.
Crag Hill is the pinnacle of the impressive, yet easily accessible Coledale Horseshoe, situated on the outskirts of Keswick, the route starts from the small village of Braithwaite and parking can be found at the start of the climb up Grizedale Pike. This mountain stands alone in a group of high fells and offers uninterrupted vistas over Keswick towards Skiddaw and Blencathra and a layered viewpoint of the Western fells such as Scafell, the Langdale Pikes and one of Wainwright’s favourite – Haystacks. It is popular all year round and rightly so, because even in the snow, with the correct gear it is not overly exposed and the walk back down to Braithwaite is a true ambler’s delight.
No. 3 - Glaramara
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 4 hours
Start at: Seathwaite
Grid Ref: NY 246 105
Map required: Explorer OL4
The descent from Glaramara back down to the floor of the valley is sometimes quite rough, broken ground and care should be taken when navigating as the path is not always obvious.
One could easily be mistaken by the name into thinking this gem of a fell is situated in the back country of Scotland, however it sits nicely between High Raise and Great Gable at the head of Borrowdale valley near Keswick. Easily accessible from the car park in Seathwaite the best way up is to take the path up Grains Ghyll stopping off at the top to take in the picture postcard sprinkling tarns. Heading back round North to access the summit, the path passes the small, frequently dotted Lincomb tarns leading up to the summit, these are the perfect place to stop off for a spot of lunch and shelter from the wind in the Lake District’s more inclement weather conditions. Safe route down can be found by taking the main path following to the North and dropping back down into the valley before walking a short way down the valley floor back to the car.
No. 4 - Green Gable
Distance: 7.5 miles from Wasdale or 4 miles from Honister
Time: 5 hours from Wasdale / 3 from Honister
Start at: Wasdale/ Honister
Grid Ref: NY 215 107
Map required: Explorer OL4 & OL6
Care must be taken at the summit as the Western aspect is a sheer face and a safe distance from the edge should be maintained.
Great Gable’s slightly smaller sibling, yet equally impressive with a dramatic 360 panorama taking in some of the higher groupings of the western fells. For those who want a full day of it, parking in Wasdale and taking in the Corridor route via Lingmell Ghyll below Scafell Pike is a beautiful way to experience the true ruggedness of the high fells. Those still wanting a good walk but with less climbing to be done can park at Honister slate mine and head up and over Brandreth to reach Green Gable in around 2 hours. On a sunny day, stopping for lunch on the summit is a treat as it’s covered in thick Lakeland grass and heather which offers a comfy cushion for weary bones.
No. 5 - Dow Crag, Duddon
Distance: 5.5 miles each route
Time: 4 hours each route
Start at: The Newfields, Duddon Valley or
Three Shires Stone, Wrynose Pass
Grid Ref: NY 263 978
Map required: Explorer OL6
Dow crags is a popular place for climbers and it has steep aspects, while no scrambling is needed to reach the summit, care must be taken to keep clear of the steep drops on the Eastern side.
A great option if you want a bit of solitude yet still enjoy the majesty of high fells and stunning views. Setting off from the Newfields Inn in Duddon, the route takes in Caw Fell and White Lady, crossing the well-known Walna Scar road, once upon a time the main route over from Coniston to Duddon and access to the quarries on the slopes of White Lady; the distinctive striped slate that comes from the area can still be seen on the floor of the Newfields Inn and was a working quarry until the beginning of the 20th Century . For an alternative walk, parking at the top of Wrynose Pass and walking from the 3 shires stone, one gets to take in Swirl How to get amazing views over the fells of Coniston before summiting and can then return the same way as a nice out and back.
Maps can be purchased from most Tourist Information places or ordered online at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk
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