I first went to The Lake District back in 2007 with Tom – it was our first ever mini-break! Back then, as the penny-watching students we were, we stayed in the YHA in Ambleside. Since our first trip we've been lucky enough to visit a number of times. Last week, we stayed at The New Dungeon Ghyll in the Langdale Valley.
The Langdale valley is over twelve thousand acres in size and stretches from Ambleside through Clappersgate, Skelwith bridge, Elterwater, Chapel Stile, to the valley of Mickleden, where our hotel was situated. Surrounding us, the fells included Pike O’Blisco, Crinkle Crags, Rossett Pike, and the Langdale Pikes – Pike O’Stickle, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark. So there were plenty of walks to do, right on our doorstep. We had five nights (four full days) and rambled just short of forty miles. It was wonderful!
Lingmoor loop -
- Length: 7 miles (8.5 miles with "fat man's agony" detour and scramble up and down Side Pike)
- Summit: Brown Howe (known locally as Lingmoor)
- Turn left out of the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel. Turn right then left onto a farm track at Side House.
- Walk along a farm track, over a bridge, through a gate until the farm buildings. Go through a kissing gate on the left and over a wooden bridge. Turn left and follow the Cumbria Way as it climbs the fells towards Elterwater.
- This path joins a narrow, stone lane with walls each side. Follow this to a barn at Oak Howe.
- Turn right just before the barn, signed "Ambleside and Chapel Stile", and walk towards Hags Wood.
- Walk through the wood, through Baysbrown Farm yard and along the metalled track through Baysbrown Wood.
- When you reach a house on your left, turn right up a bridleway signed "Little Langdale".
- Turn right onto a wider track. Follow it up through the woods to an area where discarded slate from the old quarry workings has been deposited. The view across the Langdale Fells is great here! Below is the current quarry.
- Go through the gate and follow the track diagonally up the side of the fell. Continue across stream, bearing right.
- After 1/4 mile, turn sharp left to a footpath that climbs the fells steeply for 300yards. Walk to a green, metal gate and stile, crossing a wall.
- Cross the stile and turn right. Climb towards the summit, keeping the wall on your right.
- Just before the summit, scramble up the hillside to the top. The steepest bit of the walk so far.
- At the top, climb over the wooden stile to reach the rocky summit. The views are fantastic from this point!
- Leave the summit by continuing on, keeping the wall on your left. The path is steep and rocky.
- Go over the wall via a stile and continue left of the wall towards Side Pike. Continue on until the outcrop of Side Pike. Cross over the stile and follow a narrow path to the rock face. Bear left. Pass between the narrow gap in the rock (known as "fat man's agony"). Follow round to the top of Side Pike. Retrace your steps back through "fat man's agony" and to the base of Side Pike (or follow the path down from the top and rejoin the original instruction at point 16).
- When you reach the road at the bottom of the hill, turn right on to it.
- Go through a kissing gate, turn left and follow the path downhill.
- Near the bottom, take a narrow path forking to the right through the bracken.
- If you missed the narrow path above, go to the bottom of the fields and turn right. Walk across the field with Great Langdale Campsite over the wall on the left.
- Go through a kissing gate and follow the path. Bear left and go down a slope.
- Go over the wall, across the fields and across a ladder-stile in the wall.
- Cross a second ladder-stile and the stream beyond, and follow the path to a bridge at Side House.
- Go over the bridge and turn left. Go through a kissing gate and onto the driveway. Walk to the main road, turn right and return to the hotel.
I LOVED our walking holiday in The Lakes, and I really hope to visit again soon. It was great to spend the time in the fresh air with Tom, and I really enjoyed exploring the fells together. I also really enjoyed getting back to our hotel room after being out all day, warming up with a hot shower and spending time sketching each evening, before heading downstairs for dinner. I drew lots and lots of Herdwick Sheep!
Have you got a favourite walk? I'd love to hear about it!
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[Map and walking route adapted from 'Walk 4' in 'Walks in the Langdale Valley', by Eric Worsley.]