I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Crinkle Crags

Much too good to be missed . . .  this is a climb deserving of high priority wrote Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. I'd been wanting to walk the Crinkles for ages, and this was finally my chance — my Great Langdale campsite lay on their very doorstep. But would they remain free from cloud? At 10 am last Saturday the weather was clear, but by 11 am the mist had rolled in. This was the view from Pike of Blisco (705 m) towards the Langdale Pikes . . . 

From the delightfully rocky summit of Pike of Blisco I descended a stone staircase to Red Tarn, then climbed up again to Great Knott (696 m). (Ah, 'twas ever thus in the Lake District — up and down, up and down . . . ) I enjoyed this wild panorama from my lunchtime picnic spot by the cairn on Great Knott . . .  

Mist still swirled in the gullies . . .

. . . but by the time I reached the Crinkles' serrated and complicated ridge, it had all but lifted.

The Crinkles' traverse is a highlight of Lake District fell walking. There are five distinct  peaks and depressions (the 'crinkles'), which are much more obvious from the valley below. While you're walking them — or should I say stumbling over them in intense bursts of bouldery ups and downs — they seem to go on for ever. But the experience is unforgettable, and the views are immense. 

How about this elevated prospect over Langdale?

Or this green gully between two towering cliff gates?

Here you can see about half the whole stupendous ridge in one shot . . . 

And here are the first three crinkles with a mountain backdrop behind . . .

Looking west there's the magnificent skyline of Sca Fell (964 m) and Scafell Pike (977 m)  — England's two highest mountains — separated by the notched ridge of Mickledore (the big depression centre left). 

One of the Three Tarns on the col between Crinkle Crags and Bowfell. Here I took the long path of descent over the Band and back down to Great Langdale, where I relished a pint of real ale in the Hikers' Bar at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel . . . The whole circular mountain trip had taken me six hours.  

12 comments:

Sabine said...

Very enjoyable, great pictures, thanks for taking me on such a great walk.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Robert, I agree with Sabine - a great walk from the comfort of one's arm chair.

am said...

The Lake District has got to be one of the most beautiful places I've never been to, although something in me feels as if I have walked there, too. A wonderful walk.

Ruth said...

Thank you for sharing your ups and downs! :D

dritanje said...

An incredible walk - so very beautiful. I think it would take me days, rather than hours! And I do like the Wordsworth quote you have at the beginning.

Nick said...

Hmm, it's many years now since I last did that walk; thank you for the reminder.

sackerson said...

That Tarn looks familiar... It's close to where, on my last visit to the Crinkles (I blogged about it ages ago), I dropped off the ridge into Mosedale/Eskdale. I'd started from that side, intending to do an ambitious Mosedale/Eskdale round. However, a combination of rain, cloud and the wind led me to abort mission. It was a soaking wet day and I was continually walking into the wind. My progress was alarmingly slow. The most frustrating thing was that I'd started in Eskdale and given myself an ambitious "walk in" over Hardknott Pass to get to the Crinkles. Highlights were the bad step and the walk down upper Mosedale into Eskdale. Possible deforestation and grazing by domesticated animals apart, there was hardly any visible sign of human presence. I found myself thinking of the walks Wordsorth and his mates went on. I wss possibly walking in their footsteps - after all, I wasn't that far from Coleridge's crazy descent of Broad Stand.

Thaks for posting photos of what I would have seen, had there been any visibility that day!

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks so much for all your comments. This fell walk is strenuous but FANTASTIC!

Dominic — I remember well the comments you made to me in person about your experience — plus the blog post. I nearly rang you up to see if you could by any chance accompany me!

Jean said...

Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos - I feel as though I'd been there without the effort!

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your comment, Jean — and welcome to my blog!

sackerson said...

" I nearly rang you up to see if you could by any chance accompany me!" If you I had I would have gone like a shot: I keep looking at the Pikes and thinking I'll have to walk over them sometime. Never got round to it!

The Solitary Walker said...

Next time, Dominic..!