Lake District Walks
Bow Fell & Esk Pike
Date: 21st April 2007
Distance: 10.1 miles
Ascent: 3494 feet
Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY285060
A climb, on an overcast and cloudy day, to the top of Bow Fell - one of the Lake District's finest mountains.
Route Summary: Old Dungeon Ghyll - Stool End - The Band - Three Tarns - Bow Fell - Bow Fell North Top - Esk Pike - Esk Hause - Angle Tarn - Rossett Pike - Black Crags - Stake Pass - Stake Gill - Mickleden - Old Dungeon Ghyll.
1. It was a gloomy start to the day in Mickleden
2. The cloud lifts above the Langdale Pikes
3. A brief glimpse of Bow Fell's North Top and Esk Pike
4. Looking back at the top of Bow Fell
5. Esk Pike from the north top of Bow Fell
6. Bow Fell from Esk Pike
7. The top of Esk Pike
8. Ill Crag
9. A glimpse of Eskdale
10. Allen Crags and the more distant Glaramara
11. Great End
12. Esk Pike from Esk Hause
13. Rossett Pike
14. Bow Fell from Rossett Pike
15. Black Crags
16. Zooming in on the top of Pike O'Stickle
18. Looking back at Rossett Pike
Walk Detail: The National Park's Weatherline predicted well broken cloud with a base at 900-1000m so thought I’d be okay to climb another of the major fells. Unfortunately the mountain forecast was, at least at first, quite wrong and I arrived early in Langdale to be greeted by a dreary scene with a lot of hill fog.
So it was that I began climbing The Band in a rather dispirited mood. Around White Stones I stopped for a while to assess the situation. As the cloud had begun to lift off the top of the Langdale Pikes I decided to continue onwards.
Shortly after I was enveloped in the mist and things got quite confusing when I got into the vicinity of Three Tarns. By taking regular bearings I managed to locate the path up to the top of Bow Fell where I promptly overshot the summit but once again by taking a bearing using my watch I was able to locate the summit which was attained by a scramble. I had the summit to myself which is probably a rare occurrence; presumably nobody else could actually find it in the thick fog because I heard a lot of voices close by.
As I began descending northwards the cloud began to clear a little and I was able to identify the Nuttall’s north top which is probably something I would not have been able to do if the cloud hadn’t lifted. Taking advantage of being able to see where I was going I was able to strike out across the pathless terrain to the north top and from there down to Ore Gap.
The climb up Esk Pike was fairly straightforward and upon reaching the top I made sure I stood on both the twin rocky mounds. It was quite windy on the top of Esk Pike. The wind was quite strange all day, the majority of time it was completely still but every so often it would suddenly gust up from nowhere.
The first real highlight of the walk was the descent from Esk Pike to Esk Hause. With the cloud lifting I was able to look back at Bow Fell, look down the upper reaches of Esk Dale as well as appreciate Ill Crag and Great End. From Esk Hause I descended to Angle Tarn and then after a brief stop at the top of Rossett Gill climbed Rossett Pike.
Though completely overtopped by Bow Fell I rather enjoyed Rossett Pike as well as the 'away from the crowds' amble along the ridge to Black Crags where I stopped for a bit again before descending Stake Pass and walking back along the valley to Old Dungeon Ghyll.
While the weather was very disappointing, especially for trialling the new camera I had with me, the scenery was very impressive once the cloud lifted. I should also count myself a bit fortunate that the cloud lifted at just the right point for me to identify the north top of Bow Fell as it could have been quite difficult (not to mention dangerous) to find in mist. Bow Fell was a fantastic mountain and I must definitely go again. I rather liked Esk Pike as well and Esk Hause was a fascinating place.