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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Friday, 8 November 2019

Wainwright's Way - Langdale to Rosthwaite

Wednesday 6th November 2019
Wainwright's Way - Langdale (Old Dungeon Ghyll) to Rosthwaite -about 7.5miles 

BC suggests in his post, Click Here , that I enjoy arising early - not sure where he got that from. I was up at 4:30 determined to have breakfast to provide energy for the 120 mile round driving trip and a fairly strenuous Lake District walking day.


Arnside to Rosthwaite, (end of Borrowdale)
Rosthwaite to ODG Langdale
Rosthwaite to ODG Langdale (BC driving)
Langdale to Arnside

I am not  keen nowadays on driving in the dark and it only became light as I was driving down Borrowdale.

We departed from the ODG at 8:30 in gloomy weather with clouds drifting above, on top of and below the fells. All was pure nostalgia from the many times camping next to the ODG, climbing and carousing back in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Tales from the ODG are now mythical and get better for the telling every time when I remind Pete on our Thursday walks - last Thursday - from Pete:

"I remember one weekend in the ODG there were rumours that the Craigh Dhu* were in the area. About six of them  all over six feet came into the bar. The tallest one had a big black beard, he drew a huge knife from a sheath on his belt, stuck the knife in a wooden beam and hung his coat."

I don't know what time we set off on an epic day I had with Gimmer back then. We ascended to Pavey Ark, climbed Little or Great Gully (can't remember which), walked over High Raise down into Langstrath from where we scrambled Cam Crag Ridge.We then dropped down into Combe Gill and climbed up to Raven Crag to climb Corvus, then summited Glaramara and returned back to Langdale via Stake Pass - what a day.

As we trudged up Mickleden towards Stake Pass we passed the place where along with BC and Tony's wife Veronica and other friends we had scattered most of Tony's ashes back in 2003 (BC had known Tony much longer than me but I had climbed with Tony for about six years.) With the remainder of the ashes BC took Robert, Tony's son, and me up to Gimmer Crag where we did a scary climb (for Robert and me) so we could scatter the remaining ashes on Gimmer's summit.

Stake Pass brought back more memories of a blistering hot day walking the Cumbria Way with my springer Barney. Today the path, now largely improved and the cooler weather made for an easier ascent - we did that with only one brief stop of about a minute to take photos - not bad for a couple of well over seventy year olds.

My memory failed to recall a half mile section through a hidden plateau valley of hunps and bumps before starting the descent to Langstrath. We were on the lookout for a small unnamed tarn mentioned by Nick Burton in his guide attaching importance to keeping to its right. We only found it by chance by ascending a few feet from the well worn path from where it was not visible and in any case was of no use as a landmark and guide, but pretty enough for all that.

The continuing descent was on a completely uncharacteristic for Lakeland path descending with many tightly engineered zig-zags. Steeply down to our right the wild Stake Beck cascades and rushes over a bed of solid rock with  almost horizontal waterfalls  with proper vertical plunges every now and then all on a bed of solid rock - as impressive a beck as you would see anywhere. 

Langstrath must be one of the longest valleys in The Lakes and the trudge out was mostly on an uncomfortable rocky path - there was s feeling of remoteness with all the ambience of wilder and more remote terrain than one might expect in Lakeland - one doesn't necessarily have to climb several three thousand footers to have a true mountain day.

* Creagh Dhu - A notorious Glasgow based climbing club with a reputation for overall HARDNESS and a legendary uncompromising attitude to most other climbers.

N.B.  I have followed Ordnance Survey with the spelling of "ghyll" - I prefer this version. 


In view of the dingy light these photos are much much better if you click to enlarge.

Old Dungeon Ghyll - thankfully unchanged.
Early morning with poor light as per many of following photos 

The Band leading up to Bowfell annd Crinkles behind

Harrison Stickle and Gimmer Crag - note the sheep posing on the boulder

Zoom to Rossett Gill

Mickleden - Rossett Ghyll left, Stake Pass right

On the way up Stake Pass

The little tarn that Nick Burton attaches importance to

Down into Langstrath

The strictly zig-zagged path with Stake Beck down to the right

Stake Beck speeding over solid rock

Langstrath - you could be in one of the wilder Scottish glens?
I'm fairly certain the red dots identify Cam Crag Ridge

Looking back up Greenup Gill where our path joined Wainwright's Coast to Coast

The green line: Nick Burton's optional route


  1. I'm sure that was Cam Crag Ridge, everywhere we tried to identify seemed wrong. Must get a wider map view before our next stage.

  2. As you imply, those last few stages do more or less encapsulate the first half of our lives - although you, of course, have done so much more than me since then.
    I only walked Langstrath once - the other way round - quite delightful in hot sunshine, with inviting, sparkling pools all the way along the flat bit: I think the zigzags are pony/mule track 'stages' (hence the ramping) when it was a major trade route from north to south.
    I do think the nicer way is to stay 'high ' after Silver Howe and go over and down Greenup Gill (that spelling is for the stream, I'm told), but needs longer days and, maybe, younger limbs, although one realises that your logistics and programme precluded that option. I once did it alone on a pitch dark wet moonless night in the middle of winter, returning to RLH from a week on Lochnagar - the way down to the ODG between Pike O'Stickle and Gimmer is 'challenging' at the best of times, but this was wholly unprepared - without map, compass or torch: the arrogance of youth. But we lived.
    I assume that the next stage is the last of this fine route: even the lowland bits sound surprisingly interesting and good walking.
    and hope you have fine weather as the 'scenes' from that final top are some of the widest and grandest in the whole district - odd you had such dull conditions as it was a glorious sunny day 'down by the seaside'.
    Another on my fantasy list (maybe I'll semi-retire in a few years - DV of course).

  3. BC - you may (or may not) be glad to hear that my iPhone with Memory Map is back in action - no wide vows of surrounding valleys I'm afraid.


    Gimmer - have you still got four father's Alpine rope, circa1930 that we used on that memorable day? I was trying to remember the story about the warden at Red Bank YHA - csn you refresh for me?

  4. Both - Sorry about typos above - "views" and "your'" I was doing it in very bad light and size of type on iPhone is minute.

  5. Tap the AA in the top left of the search box and increase the font size. You need the latest iOS.

  6. afoot - thanks, I'd forgotten about that.

  7. No, that was training for the Cullin ridge so must have been my first and only laid full weight nylon - we used the paternal manila on grit but not by the sixties - that provided winter food for generations of moths.
    High Close (Red Bank) YH - you must be referring to his comment about the ragged arsed mountaineers (as in 'ragged trousered philanthropists' maybe - knew nothing about that then - apropos of which i will email an obit. on a similar theme i read the other day): I think that was one of the best YH I ever stayed in - despite the warden.

  8. gimmer - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist is one of the very few books I have given up on after reading partway.

    I reckon you probably rate our stay at YHA Torridon pretty highly. There you had great fun when our duty task was to clean the kitchen and you spent a bout an hour dismantling the kitchen tap into its component pieces to make all shiny again.

  9. gimmer - on second thoughts I think it was a an elaborate wall mounted tin-opener. Otherwise I don't remember turning off the water supply!