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The Britannia Inn

Langdale Pikes - by Bill Birkett

The Langdales Pikes are one of the most popular climbs in the Lakes. "Doing the Pikes" is a favourite amonng many of our visitors.

Langdale Pikes in winter from Elterwater

Caption: Snowwy Langdale

Bill Birkett is a renowed author of walking and climbing guides for the Lakes. A local to the Britannia Inn, his signed guide books are available to view in the guests lounge and to purchase from the bar.

Below is his Guide to the Pikes. Please be sure that you have the relevant experience to do this walk, check the weather forecast (Posted Daily in the hall), and let us know when you are going and what time you will be back.



A justifiably popular and scenic route to ascend the two major tops of The Langdale Pikes; Harrison Stickle and Pike O’Stickle. Stickle Ghyll is ascended to Stickle Tarn Dam followed by the main path to the top of Harrison Stickle. A short descent and traverse leads to the scrambly top of Pike O’Stickle before a good path descends beneath Thorn Crag and on down the shoulder of Mark Gate.

LENGTH: 5.5km
TIME: 4 hours
DIFFICULTY: Very difficult mountain route with strenuous ascent (some 700m) and descent. The ascent of Pike O’Stickle constitutes a mild scramble requiring use of hands as well as feet.
START & FINISH: Large car parks either side of the road near Stickle Barn and The New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (295064)
ALTERNATIVE STARTS: The Old Dungeon Ghyll lies 1km to the west.
MAPS: OS L90 or OL6
HOSTELRIES: The Stickle Barn and New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

Leave the head of the Stickle Barn Car Park by the little path and continue to turn left and follow up the main trod beside the stream of Stickle Ghyll. A footbridge leads right over the ghyll to it’s true left bank. Follow the path, over a stile, and continue to make ascent of the stone paved route. Above the waterfalls the going slackens for a while until a craggy outcrop stands to the right and the way rounds a corner. Beneath a scrambly rock step it is easier to go left across the ghyll by the purposely placed stone slabs to gain it’s true right bank. Continue to make scrambly ascent to reach the end of the stone embankment of Stickle Dam.

A path traverses left above the shore of the lake rising to make steep ascent to the right of the nose of Harrison Stickle. Intercept a horizontal path and go left following the path around to make ascent directly to the summit of Harrison Stickle. Head north from the summit rocks to the grassy shoulder beyond. from where a path falls leftwards into a hollow. Cross the peat bog, by the paving stones, and follow the path rightwards to the distinct rocky cone of Pike O’Stickle. Scrambly paths rise to the left and the right and gain the summit cairn. Make descent by the same route and follow the approach path for only a little way until another well worn path ascends off to the right.

Take the easiest route, which mostly avoids the crest of the ridge and the top of Loft Crag, until the broad top of a gully is reached. The terraced tops to the left are those of Thorn Crag. Follow the path down right until the way slackens. Traverse the grassy shoulder then, just beyond a little cairn, bear right to find the pathway which leads left across the terraces before zigzagging down to gain the long shoulder of Mark Gate. The rift of Dungeon Ghyll lies down to the left. Near the bottom encounter a stone wall and descend by it to gain the stream of Dungeon Ghyll. Cross the ghyll to find a stile and go right over this. Descend the path by the wall until a track is intercepted. Go left through the gate until in a little way a kissing gate on the rights leads to a path descending to the body of the large car park by Stickle Barn.

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