Friday, 13 April 2012


The Langdale Valley is my favourite area of Lakeland. Who could fail to be impressed by the magnificent Langdale Pikes? This used to be our first view of them as I drove north from Windermere to Ambleside. Near the head of the lake, the trees and shrubs at the side of the road ended, to give us this view across to Langdale.

Driving up the valley , our first stop was usually at Skelwith Bridge where there used to be a very nice tea shop, and also a shop selling local slate items. We used to drool over the beautiful slate fireplaces but alas, not at their prices. Meantime, my daughters and their friends, of course, spent hours playing on the rocks in the river.

From there it was a short walk through the slate works and along a path through the woods to Skelwith Force. In normal weather, the 15 foot waterfall is impressive; in full flood, it is awesome!

Continuing up the valley, the next full view of the Pikes came when we reached Elterwater Common.
Then we were heading into the valley, through the small village of Chapel Stile, and along the  valley road to the foot of the Pikes.

The two Pikes, Harrison Stickle (2,415ft) and Pike O’Stickle (2,326ft) look very different once you reach them. Pike O’Stickle is famous as the site of a New Stone Age axe ‘factory’ as many stone axe heads have been found there. My father was very proud of a stone he once discovered there which he was sure was a stone axe. It looked like any other stone to me!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to the top of Harrison Stickle. The first part of the climb was by the side of a tumbling beck (stream) called Stickle Ghyll. This led up to Stickle Tarn, a small lake beneath the rocky cliff called Pavey Ark.

It’s possible to reach the summit of Harrison Stickle by traversing Pavey Ark via a gully called Jack’s Rake, but that route was too steep for me! Instead we went up the slope to the plateau between the two pikes, and from there it was only a short distance to the summit of either of them. From the summit there was an amazing view, not just of the wide expanse of the Langdale Valley, but of all the other mountains which surround it.

The route back to the valley was a path down the southern side of Harrison Stickle. On one occasion, I took a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up, along with my two daughters and their friends, scrambling down rocks to the point at which I was starting to panic (slight understatement!). When we reached a sheer drop, I was sure we were stranded, unable to get up or down, and I had visions of the mountain rescue helicopter having to rescue us! I can still feel the enormous sense of relief I experienced when the end of a narrow ridge led us back to the main flank of the mountain and from there to the path we should have been using!

Another route into Langdale takes you directly down from Blea Tarn to the head of the valley via a very steep road, with hair pin bends. By the time you get to the bottom (having been in low gear the whole way), a sign warns you to ‘test your brakes’. In the days of drum brakes, you could smell the heat from your brakes as you came down that road!

Beautiful area, and a lot of amazing memories of many, many times in the Langdale Valley.

Oh, and did I mention the pub at the foot of the Langdale Pikes? One of my favourites!


  1. I love the pics--and Langdale does sound like a great place. May I ask is the reddish color in the mountains because the soil is reddish? I have to say it adds a spectacular contrast to the green. Great place for taking photos!!

    Cheers, Jenn

  2. Thanks, Jenn and Claudia - my heart always lifts when I see the Langdale Pikes!

    Jenn, the brown is from the bracken fronds in autumn. In summer, of course, they're green.

  3. What a glorious place - but I can imagine your feelings when you strayed off the path.
    (Visiting from A-Z blogging challenge)

  4. Absolutely gorgeous photos, Paula. And I kid you not about wanting a little collection of all these guides before I go down there again!

  5. Paula, I'm enjoying your Lakeland posts. So many of your pics remind me of Scotland, too.

  6. Thanks you all.

    Jabblog - thanks for visiting, and yes, it was quite a scary time when I thought we were stuck!

    Rosemary - when you go down there again, I'll come and meet you!

    Sherry - agree there are many similarities between the Lakes and Scotland.

  7. I do like the idea of a pub at the foot of the Pikes! What gorgeous pictures, thanks for sharing.

  8. that first image, that expanse has freed up my soul for the day.

  9. I love the photo of the valley road and the last one of the water, too. Beautiful!

  10. The scenery is breathtaking!

  11. Thank you all, it is one my favourite places in the Lake District.

  12. Now MS may indeed be a romance novelist..but HONEY guess what..dang you deliver reality in an awesome way..every place I WANT TO VISIT!!!!!!!!

  13. Thanks, Brenda - you've made my night! Someone once told me (many years ago) I had a 'way with words' - and I have to keep reminding myself of that when I'm struggling with my romance writing - which I've been doing the last 2 or 3 evenings. So now you've given me a new lease of life - thank you!

  14. What a beautiful place, and the names are so evocative! I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My A-Zs are at

  15. It might seem crazy, but I especially loved the photo with the beautiful bridge. I love the angle, I love the peacefulness plus I love love love bridges... period!

    Julie Jordan Scott
    Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
    twitter: @juliejordanscot
    L is for Lydia Huntley Sigourney
    On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

  16. I'd so love to backpack in that country.

    Look forward to your challenge run…can’t believe we’ve had 14 days already!
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  17. Water and mountains...that's all ya need. Beautiful and so well written. I love this tour, too!

  18. I am amazed daily by the beauty that surrounds you. What a lovely corner of the world you live in!


  19. Beautiful pics and I was there with you when you took the wrong turn and began panicking! What beautiful country!

  20. Thanks you all - I really appreciate all your comments and am so pleeased you're enjoying this 'tour'.

  21. What a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing.