Lake District Walks
Date: 4th March 2006
Distance: 4.5 miles
Ascent: 2578 feet
Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Start Grid Ref: NY295064
A short but icy walk around the famous Langdale Pikes including Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle.
Route Summary: Dungeon Ghyll New Hotel - Stickle Ghyll - Stickle Tarn - Pavey Ark - Harrison Stickle - Pike O'Stickle - Loft Crag - Dungeon Ghyll New Hotel.
1. Stickle Gill
2. Pavey Ark and a frozen Stickle Tarn
3. Harrison Stickle
4. Sergeant Man
5. Lisa climbing up the North Rake of Pavey Ark
6. The Eastern Fells from Pavey Ark
7. The summit of Harrison Stickle
8. Bow Fell
9. Loft Crag
10. Pike O'Stickle from Loft Crag
11. Looking south towards Pike O'Blisco
Walk Detail: This was the main event of our long weekend in Chapel Stile and it was a walk that was both enhanced and made worse by the weather conditions. The heavy fall of snow the previous day had carpeted much of the north of England and I had even been worried we may not even get to our destination.
The climb up Stickle Ghyll was steep but enjoyable but even in the earlier stages the patches of ice and snow made me wonder what conditions would be like at the top. The most difficult section of this stage of the ascent was trying to cross the icy ghyll three quarters of the way up. The arrival at Stickle Tarn backed by Pavey Ark was, as expected, a breathtaking moment and the scenery, with the tarn frozen, was almost surreal.
I had hoped to tackle Pavey Ark via Jack’s Rake but in the conditions this was clearly out of the question so I decided on the North Rake. Before going though there was almost a tragedy when another walker's dog went running out on to the frozen tarn. Fortunately Lisa alerted the owner before any disaster could befall the adventurous canine.
The climb up the North Rake was slippery but enjoyable, more so for Lisa I think, as I was constantly worried about the amount of ice we had to cross. The top of Pavey Ark, when we reached it, was well worth the effort though. The walk round to Harrison Stickle was less pleasant and on one slab of rock me and Lisa managed to slip over at the same time.
The final climb to the top of Harrison Stickle was much easier and from here we briefly enjoyed the best view of the day, of Great Langdale at least. The descent into Harrison Combe was particularly slippery because of the snow. By this time Lisa was getting a bit fed up with the snow underfoot and was getting tired.
I desperately wanted to get up to the top of Pike O’Stickle and made a valliant effortwhile Lisa looked on in consternation from just below Loft Crag. I got to about 10 metres in height from the top when I just had to turn back. Whilst I could have scramble to the top I didn't fancy trying to get back down again. This was one of my biggest fellwalking disappointments to date.
Fortunately the climb up to the nice little summit of Loft Crag was fairly easy however the descent along the flank of Harrison Stickle with the deep ravine on our right was quite worrying in places but matters improved quite quickly to the relatively short drop back into the valley. A walk of great contrasts, the scenery was everything I could hope for and the layer of snow made it look perhaps even more impressive. Unfortunately it was this same snow that took the edge of enjoyment off the walk and meant that I didn’t get to the top of Pike O’Stickle. Hopefully I’ll get a second chance.