- 13 miles
- 1500 metres ascent
- 8h 20m
- View a route map on plotaroute.com
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.