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From Ambleside to Todd Crags

From Ambleside to Todd Crags

A week at Ambleside, at the head of Lake Windermere and among some of the best scenery in the world. Can’t go wrong really can you? We drove up on Saturday and headed for our first hills Sunday Morning, the Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell. For me I am getting ready for a trip later in the year to Austria, and getting out to see how I could climb some hills was part of the weeks target for me. I’ve had a knee problem, which seemed OK but you never know until it is stressed, in the end it was only a problem when descending on steps, which was good to know. The week was also a good indicator for me about how my fitness is coming on, don’t want to run out of steam in the Alps.

Old Dungeon Ghyll Pub.  Looking along Langdale towards the Crags.  Low cloud to start.

Old Dungeon Ghyll Pub. Looking along Langdale towards the Crags. Low cloud to start.

It’s always good when you know you’ll finish at a pub and the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel has a walkers bar ready to welcome you back to your car after a visit to the Langdale valley. Head out anywhere here and you will meet others, the Lake District is so popular, hence in a lot of places there are well made stone paths and steps, but head off the normal routes, a bit early, a bit longer route and perhaps you can avoid the worst of the crowds.

Heading into the valley.

Heading into the valley.

Crinkle Crags, just right of centre.

Crinkle Crags, just right of centre.

Nearing the first climb of the day. Up left towards the nearer black lump on the horizon.

Nearing the first climb of the day. Up left towards the nearer black lump on the horizon.

Towards Bow Fell, head in the clouds.

Towards Bow Fell, head in the clouds.

Walking into and climbing through here is wonderful, the scenery as the valley folds itself around you, then the changes as you gain height. All the while the light and shadow change the colours so scenes change before your eyes. Water is often heard before it is seen and the birds are a constant chattering background.

We climbed out of Oxendale, up to Brown Howe and then to pause by Red Tarn after finding the secret gully that is Browney Gill. A side visit to Cold Pike and then on towards the Crinkle Crags, the main ridge for today. Alfred Wainwright described the Crinkles as “the finest mile in the lakes” and walking them you can see why. Five Crinkles in a line dropping then to Three Tarns.

Take the time to look back, you get to see a lot you otherwise miss.

Take the time to look back, you get to see a lot you otherwise miss.

Brown Howe. Still going up.

Brown Howe. Still going up.

Underneath Pike of Blisco.

Underneath Pike of Blisco.

Looking into Browneys Gill.

Looking into Browneys Gill.

Coffee break at Red Tarn, looking back at the views.

Coffee break at Red Tarn, looking back at the views.

From Cold Pike before you strike out across a greensward to the Crinkles and Bow Fell, stand and admire what is to come.

From Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell.

From Cold Pike, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell.

And then of course there are the views from the crags, your timekeeping needs to allow gawping time, the moment needed to stand lost in thought, take a picture and try to drag everything inside your head.

Looking down the Valley from the first Crinkle.

Looking down the Valley from the first Crinkle.

This is where the real life of the mountain starts, grass gives way to rock and you know that after this the ‘Bad Step’ waits. The crags drop steeply into the valley, and various tracks meander among cairns, and the summits line up ahead of you, masking the dips between each of the Crags.

Rocks take over.

Rocks take over.

The start of the best mile in the lakes.

The start of the best mile in the lakes.

Long Top. high point of Crinkle Crags.  The Bad Step is just left of centre where the scree runs out from the gully.

Long Top. high point of Crinkle Crags. The Bad Step is just left of centre where the scree runs out from the gully.

There is a way around the bad step, but we’ve come for the adventure and it’s into the gut of the hill for us. Coming out from the gully you get to the edge of Long top, as you climb around to the summit, a confusing scrabble of rocks and cairns.

Looking into the bad step.

Looking into the bad step.

Climbing out.

Climbing out.

Look Back, see where you've been.

Look Back, see where you’ve been.

Long Top.

Long Top.

From here, views are open all around, But the three that hold your view are Scafell, Scafell Pike and Bow Fell ahead.

Search and Rescue near Mickledore between Scafell and Scafell Pike.

Search and Rescue near Mickledore between Scafell and Scafell Pike.

For scale, you can see people to the right on the ridge line.

Views.

Views.

Bow Fell.

Bow Fell.

Route finding, I’m glad the weather is clear.

A Cairn.

A Cairn.

Views.

Views.

Three Tarns, the pit between Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell. A fine place for coffee and lunch, a chance to watch the crowds passing through this meeting place of paths.

Three Tarns. I know, you can only see one here but trust me.

Three Tarns. I know, you can only see one here but trust me.

Scafell, and Scafell Pike.

Scafell, and Scafell Pike.

Bow Fell.  No we didn't go this way.  Look carefully at the left, someone is going up one of those gullies.

Bow Fell. No we didn’t go this way. Look carefully at the left, someone is going up one of those gullies.

Crinkle Crags.

Crinkle Crags.

On Bow Fell summit.

On Bow Fell summit.

The summit of Bow Fell has one of the most outstanding views in the lakes. Standing alone it has all round views of the lakes and beyond.

Views.

Views.

Views.

Views.

The return to the valley is an easy stretch down the Band to Stool End Farm.

Looking back to Pike of Blisco.

Looking back to Pike of Blisco.

Back in the warm sun of the valley.   View provided by nature.

Back in the warm sun of the valley. View provided by nature.

Back at the Pub.

Back at the Pub.

And of course, at a pub you will find a nice pint, the perfect end to the day.

A Good Pint.

A Good Pint.

A Good Pub.

A Good Pub.

A fine walk with excellent weather, good friends to walk with and the prospect of more to come. It’s a great way to start a week in the Lake District.

This has been, considering how little has been posted recently, quite a big hit in one go, sorry. Hope you enjoy the pictures though. The sun has come out here in England, to make up for the World Cup, every cloud has a silver lining. Get out and climb a hill, the view is better than 3D.

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