Langdale Pikes

Although the Langdale Pikes are not the highest peaks in the Lake District, they have a distinctive profile characterised by rugged slopes, and three Craggy summits in close proximity. These are Harrison Stickle, Pike of Stickle, and Loft Crag. As Wainwright states "No mountain profile in Lakeland arrests and excites the attention more than that of the Langdale Pikes ..." (Wainwright 1958, Harrison Stickle 2). Part of the reason for this is the way they gain their height. Wainwright goes on to say "The difference in altitude between top and base is little more than 2000 feet, yet because it occurs in a distance latterly of three quarters of a mile, it is enough to convey a remarkable impression of remoteness, of inaccessibility, to the craggy summit surmounting the rugged slopes" (Wainwright 1958, Harrison Stickle 2).

Harrison Stickle


View of Harrison Stickle, taken from Pike O' Stickle. Photograph by Ann Bowker

At 2,415 feet (736 m), Harrison Stickle is the highest of the Langdale Pikes, and is also the most dominant visually. Writing about this fell, Wainwright gives this description "the ridged summit is liberally buttressed by crags, as is a curious shoulder running down to the hanging valley occupied by Stickle Tarn ..." (Wainwright 1958, Harrison Stickle 3). There are direct walking routes to Harrison Stickle from the New Dungeon Gill Hotel in the Langdale valley. These either follow Stickle/Mill Gill to Stickle Tarn where the final ascent to the summit is made (north of the above mentioned curious rock shoulder), or by taking the path that traverses Thorn Crag South of the Summit.

Pike O' Stickle

The next highest peak is Pike o' Stickle which is 2,326 feet (709 m), and has the unique feature of rising in a continuously sharp gradient from the valley floor at Mickleden to its summit peak. Wainwright states "the smoothly-soaring pyramid of Pike o' Stickle, rising to a tapering thimble of rock without interruption or halt between valley and summit, is an imposing and impressive feature that contributes much to the head of Great Langdale" ( Wainwright 1958, Pike o' Stickle 2). There are routes going to this summit from the New Dungeon Gill Hotel via Thorn Crag, or by taking a route via Stake Gill from the head of Mickleden valley. Wainwright also mentions two direct routes from Mickleden. Whichever route is taken, the final ascent onto the summit has to be made from the north, where there is a short scramble accessible to walkers.

Loft Crag

loft crag

Loft Crag from the Pike of Stickle. Photograph by Mick Knapton

The smallest of the Langdale Pikes is Loft Crag at 2,238 feet (682 m). This fell is located between its higher neighbours. Wainwright notes that "It lies between Pike o' Stickle and Harrison Stickle but south of them, having a small abrupt summit ... directly below which is the magnificent buttress of Gimmer Crag, most popular of all climbing-grounds" (Wainwright 1958, Loft Crag 1). The most direct route to Loft Crag is the path from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel to Thorn Crag, which is actually one of its subsidiary summits. From the top of this path it is just a short ascent to Loft Crags main summit.

Generally people visit the Langdale Pikes from Great Langdale. There are, however, some less direct routes from Grasmere, and Stonethwaite in Borrowdale. These are longer routes which involve walking some distance before the Pikes are reached. These routes may also involve ascending some summits of other fells in the area. This is particularly the case from Grasmere where Blea Rigg, Sergeant Man, or High Raise may be passed en route. Walkers from Langdale may also choose to take in other summits such as Pavey Ark and those mentioned above due to their reasonably close proximity to the Pikes. This website's Virtual Tour of Langdale Pikes maps some of these possible routes.

Lakeland Fells
Blencathra Coniston Old Man Easedale Fells Helvellyn Langdale Pikes Pavey Ark Scafell Pike Skiddaw