I have spent many wonderful weeks over the years, walking in the Lake District with my son, Paul, and I cannot believe that until this year, we had never walked Lingmoor Fell! We always used to camp in Great Langdale and we have walked all around that valley but somehow, we had always missed this amazing fell that sits at its south west flank.
This year, one of our first walks was the Langdale Pikes via Stickle Gill. We love that walk but because of ‘staycationing’, it was like a walking motorway with queues of people making their way up to Stickle Tarn and beyond. That walk was still lovely but we resolved from that time that we would spend the rest of the week keeping away from the main routes which we knew would be busy. And it was a good decision because we found some awesome, and much less busy, routes and this was one of the best!
We started from Elterwater and climbed up the southeastern flank via many quarry and mine workings. From that side, there were amazing views across Elterwater and Lake Windermere. The Flowers on the fell top were mind-blowing and the word ‘WOW’ was never far from our lips. There was heather, cotton grass, wavy hair grass, hare bells, yellow bog asphodel, and so much more, intermingled with rocks and areas of peat. It was indescribably beautiful! And all the while there were 360 degree views of mountains and valleys.
Every walk I do is amazing, but every now and then, there is one that is just special in a deeper sense. Have you ever experienced that? This one was special! It was a combination of things, the flowers, the views, the companionship, the weather, plus something else intangible and almost spiritual. As we walked across the fell top, we talked about how it should be possible to bottle our feelings to ‘drink’ later. The photographs are a reminder but they don’t do it justice, words written in my journal bring back memories but they are inadequate. Neither touch the soul as that present moment in that place did on that day!
We took our time crossing the top as it was too good to rush, but eventually we dropped down off the northwestern end to reach the shadowy shape of Side Pike. Here we had an interesting experience as we had to negotiate ‘Fat Man’s Agony’, a squeeze point between the Pike itself and a huge rock – we were literally between a rock and a hard place and needed to remove our rucksacks in order to get through the very narrow gap before descending to the valley.
The views this side were equally spectacular with a heather clad hillside, Blea Tarn, and in the distance, Wetherlam. The last mentioned, we would experience close up on another ‘less popular route’ day 🙂 !
The now sinking sun threw strong shadows in the Langdale Valley below us. Looking down on that view was like looking at a oo gauge railway layout where everything is in miniature. And in that valley we could see the campsite that we stayed in year after year in our little tent that we affectionately called ‘the blob’. Ah, happy memories of bacon cooked on a stove, restless nights sleeping on the ground, early mornings, walking to the Stickle Barn Inn in the evening, walking back at 11 o’clock with still enough light to see our way, and one particular memory when we returned from a day in the mountains to find the campsite packed with tents, some of them literally one foot from ours – the universities were out! We loved all of it!
We had intended to renew some of those memories as we dropped to the valley floor and passed our old campsite on our way to the Stickle Barn where we were going to get a meal. Unfortunately though, it was already full and there was a queue of waiting hungry walkers ahead of us so we continued on our way along the valley bottom to reach Chapel Stile and the appropriately named Wainwright Inn where we stopped for a late dinner.
I could put up so many more pictures from our 10 mile walk on Lingmoor Fell but hopefully these will give you a flavour and who knows, might inspire you to experience a great, and less trod, fell for yourself.
Stay safe, and thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler
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