Away from the crowds
Arriving at Old Dungeon Ghyll
relatively late on a May bank holiday weekend was not such a bright idea.
Having National Trust membership with associated ‘free’ parking is worthless if the car park is full.
As it was by 10am.
Still, I ‘squooze’ in the overflow provided by the hotel and waited for my companions to arrive.
They’d have to park behind me and strategically block my exit.
Parents, dogs and children flowed around as if penned to the valley floor and it was hard to imagine where they’d all disperse to. Yet amazingly, once away from car park, they disappeared as fast as summer streams.
Crowds on Stickle Ghyll
Ancient ice and winter water have left scars in the side of Langdale of various proportions. The likes of Stickle Ghyll providing relatively easy access up steps to the tarn atop.
Narrow, deep, scree filled gullies in the likes of Raven Crag remain the haunts of climbers and serious scramblers. My own foray up pushed me right to the edge of my comfort zone.
But there is an in-between.
Tracks and trails too steep and long for the many, but with a little effort, take you away from the hoards to quiet places where you may not see another person all day.
Follow the Band and you’ll meet many tracing it to the Crinkles, Bow Fell or even further Scafell. Go round the side to grab a few moments alone, with a hidden waterfall.
Even with the dry spring we’ve had this year Whorneyside Force looked spectacular as it poured over the edge. Plunging in to pools which, had it been a little warmer would have been totally tempting for a swim.
Hell Gill cuts deep into the side of the hill beyond the waterfall, with rowan trees clinging to the sides too steep for even the sheep to venture down.
Looking back to Three Tarns
The track concludes at the Three Tarns but we cut the corner off and joined the Crinkles just beyond Shelter Crags. Back on the well beaten track of hill baggers.
Pike of Blisco from Crinkle Crags
Company didn’t detract from the spectacle of the hills being licked by white wisps of cloud, which, we learned, had covered the more traditional routes up in a clawing mist.
See the Crinkles in snow here