It was early October in the north-west of England and our weather expectations were low … but the isobars were working in our favour and there was one day in a blustery and showery week when the sun shone, the sunglasses were dusted off and the short trousers had one last airing … and on this splendid day we were lucky enough to be in the Lake District!
We were staying at the National Trust Great Langdale campsite. This campsite has some shortcomings; it isn’t the place for you if you are looking for somewhere with luxurious heated facilities [despite the sunshine it was chilly in the evenings and mornings]; or a site with spacious campervan pitches [the pitches work best for smaller campervans] or even if you want somewhere cheap and cheerful [it costs £25/night in September/October but varies between £21 and £30 for two adults with EHU]. What this campsite does offer is stunning views of the wonderful Langdale Valley, peace and quiet, the Old Dungeon Ghyll just five minutes away [where you can get a pint of Old Peculier, my favourite beer] and access to superb walking.
We enjoyed one of those days when the hills are so magnificent you don’t want to stop hiking and we were having so much fun we ended up following a route somewhat longer than we originally planned. It was so glorious on the hills we just kept adding another hill and the sun had left the valley by the time we descended back to our cosy Blue Bus.
We climbed upwards from the valley and emerged from the crags above Langdale onto Loft Crag, a superb viewpoint. The panorama down the steep hillside into the valley and across to the summit of Bow Fell were magnificent and further away we spotted Great Gable among the multitude of fells. We moved on to Pike of Stickle, skipping Harrison Stickle that we have climbed before and took in Thunacar Knott before deliberating over our lunch about where to head for next. High Raise was beckoning and we set off across the slightly boggy land dotted with small tarns to this hill with views into Borrowdale and across Derwent Water to Skiddaw. Sergeant Man is easily recognisable from almost any direction except from High Raise it seems but we hiked on and navigated to this little peak.
Our final objective became Blea Rigg, a Wainwright neither of us had knowingly climbed before and the top of which isn’t really clear on the map or the ground. We had searched for Blea Rigg on an earlier occasion this year during a walk from Grasmere to Silver How and failed to find it. This time, in the continuing sunshine, we climbed up every pimple and nobble between Sergeant Man and Silver How, examining Wainwright’s drawings on each one, determined to be sure we had stood on top of Blea Rigg. Comparing my photographs with those of others on the internet later we are confident we did get there!
We descended on sheep tracks below the crags, eventually joining Stickle Ghyll and the well-made path into Langdale. We had walked about 15 km but most importantly had experienced a truly memorable Lake District day.
5 thoughts on “The last glorious day of summer in Langdale, the Lake District”
How lovely to see Langdale, one of my favourite parts of the Lake District in all its glory.
It is always special to see the Lakes in sunshine, but a particular bonus to have such a beautiful day so late in the year. A real treat.
Great Gable has a special place in my heart. I was fortunate to spend most holidays during my youth in a remote cottage in Ennerdale. The two iconic peaks of Pillar and Great Gable were my view. Since it was the quickest way to get ice cream, I often used to ride a local Fell pony over to the next valley, Buttermere, via Scarth Gap, near Haystacks – Wainwright’s favourite peak.
Enjoy and thanks for sharing.
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What a lovely story. Thank you. I used to work at Buttermere Youth Hostel and would have been amazed to look out and see a fell pony with a passenger coming over from Ennerdale!
How lovely! When was that? My Ennerdale days were when Margot was the YHA warden at Gillerthwaite and Jim Strickland at Black Sail. Bob Orrell used to have the cottage at Gillerthwaite – it was his Fell pony, Thor, that I used to borrow for the ice-cream run!
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I was at Buttermere for a season as an assistant warden in 1996. No TV reception even then. On wet days I would sit in the lounge with the other two assistant wardens watching videos on the TV we had there. On sunny days of course, it was glorious 🙂
I am sure. Buttermere is one of the most stunningly beautiful valleys. You were there some time after my Ennerdale days. The cottage at Gillerthwaite had no electricity – we had gas lights or oil lamps and a wood fire. I can still remember the sound and smell of them. Bob installed a generator later, but even as kids, we didn’t miss the TV and video didn’t even exist then. Wet days meant either Radio 2 or RTE Ireland, reading, wood carving or a game. Or waterproofs…!
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