Langdale Pikes : The Lake District

by | Jan 29, 2020 | Go Outside, The Lake District, Walking

Route Information

An out-and-return circular walk

Route Difficulty: Hard

Distance: 6.9 km (4.31miles)

Route Elevation: 698 m

Route Ascent: 711 m

Route Time: 4-5 hrs

Start and Finish: National Trust Car Park, Great Langdale, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9JU

Depending on the featured walk and especially in mountainous areas, you may need to Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in to your own pace.


There are toilets on the National Trust Car Park.

Great Langdale is not the cheapest place to eat or drink but there are a few places to try, including Sticklebarn, New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel or a little further down the valley, The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. The latter being the cheaper and more down to earth.


There is a river to cross on the way to Pavey Ark which has stepping stones that are easy to navigate. Easy Gully has loose scree and can be difficult in winter conditions. Standing on the top of Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle & Pike o’ Stickle all have sheer drops which could cause serious injury or death. Treat these summits with respect and do not veer to close to the edges.

The Urban Ranger Website cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent, and to be able to read a map and use a compass. Plan your route properly with the latest advice from the AdventureSmart website

Public Transport

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Weather Forecast

MWIS Lake District Weather


This has to be one of the best walks in the lake district. Panoramic views and the impressive Pavey Ark rising majestically pave way for a Jurassic walk.

Little did i know i would be heading to the Lake District two days after completing Mam Tor, but that is what happened after i was invited on trip by the Walk Club to take on Pavey Ark. The group are planning to do the National Three Peaks in the summer and have been active since September 2017. Pavey Ark is one of the Langdale Pikes, lying to the north of Great Langdale in the heart of the Lake District.

I know a few members of the group and was invited along to Cumbria, which i eagerly accepted but there was only one problem, i had to be up and ready for 6:00am. This was a new challenge for me given the sedative effect of my antidepressant which i have mentioned many times causes problems for me early morning. But i was ready to give it a go and i was up Sunday morning around 5:30am ready and waiting to be picked up.

Now this was a whole new experience for me walking with a group as i normally walking alone and enjoy taking my time and doing my photography. I took my camera along but no tripod due to not wanting to hold the group up, so all my images are hand held.

When we arrived in the lakes it was around 9:00am and we headed for the National Trust car park at Sticklebarn next to the New Dungeon Ghyll. After a swap of footwear and rucksack check we set off and followed the route up through Stickle Ghyll which is right next to the car park. The route up through Stickle Ghyll is very steep with a never-ending flight of stone steps that can take the wind out of your sails. There are parts that require you to use your hands and also there is a stream to cross and it can be tricky under foot. I would rate this walk as more advanced and not for a beginner. 

Pavey Ark is a fell and one of the Langdale Pikes, lying to the north of Great Langdale, in the heart of the Lake District, immediately to the north-east of Harrison Stickle.

Harrison Stickle, one of the three Langdale Pikes stands at 2,415ft and composed of pebbly sandstone and breccia.

Pike o’ Stickle is 2,326ft and is situated on the western edge and its crags fall south from the summit.

Once through Stickle Ghyll you reach the pretty sight of Stickle Tarn with the majestic Pavey Ark, rising out from the fell. Made from Volcanic Sandstone and Breccia. The face is an outcrop of the formation named after the fell, the Pavey Ark Member. Stickle Tarn is used to supply water to the inhabitants of Langdale and was enlarged by the building of a stone dam in 1838.

After a short rest we continued on our journey but due to the weather conditions we decided not to climb Jack’s Rake which is a scramble up the face of Pavey Ark. Instead we climbed the steep snowy gully just behind the face which was testing given the deep snow. Once at the summit of Pavey Ark it was time for lunch and hot drinks and a well-earned rest. Looking across the landscape you could have been mistaken for being in the Alps such was the snow and glorious sunshine.

After our lunch we set off for Harrison Stickle which is a short distance away and to your diagonal left from the summit of Pavey Ark. The sloped path can be tricky in winter weather and there is an alternative option further to the right. Once at the summit of Harrison Stickle, we admired the views of Pavey Ark from a different perspective and also that of Windermere in the distance. After a few images we headed down west towards Pike o’ Stickle which you cannot miss given its rounded elevated shape rising from the fell.

Getting up to the summit of Pike o’ Stickle can be confusing given the path disintegrates half way up. but if you head to your left there is a short scramble to navigate before reaching the top. The views on a clear day are perfect for that 360-panorama shot.

Admire these views because this is the last of the summits on this walk before heading back down to the car park. To do that retrace your steps until you meet the path that crossroads between Harrison Stickle & Pike o’ Stickle. Take the path to your right and head towards Loft Crag and then follow the steep path down to Mark Gate. This part of the walk meanders down the fell and in places it is either boggy or steep and it can be easy to slip on the stone paths or grass. So, take your time and the car park you set off from will soon become visible.

All in all, this was a great day for walking in the Lake District, sun, snow and clear skies and a great bunch of lads of all ages and experience.

A great walk had by all. 

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