Langdale, Scafell Pike and the Isle of Man

  1. 13 miles

  2. 1500 metres ascent

  3. 8h 20m

  4. View a route map on

Driving to the lakes from home for a day walk limits your options to the more easily accessible valleys. I figured though that I could get over from Langdale to Eskdale, Wasdale, or Borrowdale. I decided to start with Bowfell and along to Esk Hause then see what time it was and what else I thought I could do.

The forecast was sunny and still but it started off with a heavy overcast over the hills. The mountains often make their own weather. Most of the snow had gone but some small patches remained – small from a distance, anyway. I did wonder about the gully to Bowfell summit next to great slab but this was filled with snow which I thought would give a dangerous ascent without crampons or axe.

I think this is Browney Gill, seen from The Band on the ascent

South west from three tarns, the col between Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.

Bowfell near the summit, you can see the top of Great Slab lower right.

I think this must be the view south west down eskdale from bowfell summit.

It was very cold on top of Bowfell and very grey, which was disappointing, but it was still great to be up there. At Esk Hause I reckoned I still had lots of time and energy, with the contingency that I only needed to get to the bottom of the head of Mickleden in the light, I could do the long track back in the dark if I went more slowly than expected. So I took the path upwards to the saddle between Great End and Ill Crag. This was fairly quick, with a snow patch (now big, close up) to get up, and I carried on towards Scafell Pike, now with the clouds clearing. The neck between Broad Crag and Scafell Pike was really good, with a nice scrambly ascent (with snow patches) to Scafell Pike summit. Plenty of ice and rime around showing how cold it still was. It was now properly sunny.

Esk Hause, looking north/north-west. The summit slopes of Great End are in the middle ground top-left of the picture.

Great Gable, probably taken from the final ascent to Scafell Pike.

Sty Head tarn is in the middle of the picture, the corridor route (my return route) heads towards it. This is looking north, so I think it’s Bassenthwaite lake in the distance.

Looking west from Scafell Pike summit, with Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar.

East from Scafell Pike summit seeing Bowfell (left of centre) and Crinkle Crags (right of centre).

I dropped back down to the neck then leftwards to pick up the corridor route. This was in great surrounding but the scree underfoot was almost fluid. That didn’t last too long and then the corridor route began. A wonderful path, contouring high above wasdale with Great Gable over the valley on one side and incredible rock scenery high on my right and some very impressive gorges, especially Piers Gill.

The scree slope down from the “neck” between Broad Crag and Scafell Pike, down which you need to go to pick up the corridor route. You need to be careful of larger rocks, which go bounding down the slope if you knock them loose.

Looking down the other way from the bottom of the scree slope. The corridor route goes right to the slight col in the middle distance.

Looking along the corridor route, I think Great End is the large summit in the right with, I think, the climbing crag of round how in front of it.

The corridor route with Great Gable in the distance.

The arrows show the route of the corridor route path. It’s a simple, easy and short scramble up.

I turned right at Sty Head to ascend the pass up to Angle Tarn. I could see views northwards but haven’t worked out if it was Buttermere or Keswick. As I ascended I got a text message from my mobile network saying “welcome to the Isle of Man”.

Sprinkling Tarn looking north-east, probably Glaramara in the distance.

North-ish from nearby Sprinkling Tarn, I can’t be certain which lake this is, could be buttermere, derwent water or bassenthwaite.

Great End north face crags. Very popular winter climbing venue.

By Rossett Pike, just before the descent, I had my last bite to eat and watched the shadows creep up the hillside towards Pike o’Stickle summit, which was still in the last sun. I did the knee-wrecker descent down to Mickleden and began the two miles back to the new DG hotel in the failing light. It was properly dark as I got to the old DG hotel but it was then easy to walk along the road to the car, now really starting to feel the miles on my feet.

Highest point on the Sty Head to Rossett Pike path, just before the drop down to Angle Tarn, Pike o’Stickle and Gimmer Crag in the distance.