Crinkle Crags

Walk date – 27th July 2022

Distance – 8.2 miles

Weather – fair weather cloud, sunny spells, warm, occasional slight breeze


We drove over to Great Langdale today to make a long overdue visit to Crinkle Crags. Our last visit was in 2016 and before that it was 2007 so several years just seem to slip by before we get around to it again. The weather forecast for today was agreeable so we made the longish drive over to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and made use of the public car park there. When we parked there in 2016 the charge for a full day parking was £6.50, today it was £7.50, a £1 increase over six years doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. We had a slightly later start than planned but our concerns about the car park being full were groundless and, although a few cars were already there, we parked up easily enough. It was chock full when we returned to it though.


Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel – Stool End – The Band – Three Tarns – Shelter Crags – Crinkle Crags – Great Knott – Browney Gill – Brown Howe – Oxendale – Stool End – Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel

This shot was taken as we walked the short distance from the hotel to the road through Great Langdale, and it shows almost all of the route we’ll be taking today. Over on the right is The Band which leads up to the Three Tarns col between Bowfell and Crinkle Crags. Once at the col we will turn left and walk across Shelter Crags and Crinkle Crags, on the centre skyline, and return via the Brown Howe path, over towards the left.

First of all we have to reach the start of the path up The Band which involved a longer walk than we remembered over to Stool End farm. The Band is taking up the central area of the shot with Bowfell, in shadow, to the right, and the rather sunnier Crinkle Crags to the left.

A view of Rossett Pike from the walk over to Stool End farm.

Still walking towards the farm with Pike O’Blisco on the left and Great Knott on the right.

Mickleden from the farm road.

We eventually reach the farm, make our way through the farm buildings and round to the beginning of the path up The Band. Pike O’Stickle and some of the other Langdale Pikes are generally in view as we make our way along.

Pike O’Blisco, Cold Pike and Great Knott over on our left as we sweat our way up The Band. The clouds began thinning out and the temperature began to rise so our faces, and those of everyone  else on the climb, needed frequent mopping.

A look back to Lingmoor Fell and Side Pike from one of the face mop stops. Stool End farm is some distance below us by now.

Moving the camera a little to my left for this view along Great Langdale.

A closer look at Crinkle Crags as we continue climbing up The Band. J calls it The ‘elastic’ Band because it just keeps stretching on and on and on!

We reach a gentler gradient and a slightly less rough path from where the Three Tarns col can be clearly seen although the ‘elastic’ band still has a lot of stretch left in it.

A look back along the slightly gentler graded path to the crest of the rise up The Band. A group of five walkers diverted from this path over to the Climber’s Traverse path but we were to see them again up at the col.

Arriving at the Three Tarns col with a view of one of the tarns, the Bowfell Links and the Scafells. Of course our arrival at the col coincided with the arrival of a large cloud and a cool breeze, we could have done with those when we were sweating our way up here!

A grand, and mostly sunny, view of the Scafells from the col. Lovely to see them free from cloud today.

We had a little wander around the tarns area and I think the high point on the right of the shot is what AW described as a ‘prominent rock tower’ (Crinkle Crags 13, The Southern Fells)

The Bowfell Links and the path up to the summit from our refreshment break vantage point. While we were taking a break we noticed the afore-mentioned group of five walkers arrive at the col from the same path that we had used. How could that be when they left it earlier for the Climber’s Traverse route? Did they find that route not to their liking and decided to return to their original path, or did they just lose their way? They certainly didn’t arrive at the col down the path from the summit.

After our break we began climbing again to make our way towards Shelter Crags. On the way we have a grand view of the Scafells.

I took a few views as we walked along Shelter Crags – Windermere in the distance and Pike O’Blisco over on the right …..

…. The Langdales below which is the long path over The Band …..

….. Pike O’Blisco on the left, Wetherlam and Black Sails on the right with Cold Pike just below them …..

….. and another view of the very sunny Scafells.

Rounding the corner of Shelter Crags now and the Crinkles come into view. Over on the left the greyish mounds of rock are Crinkles 1,2 and 3, and on the centre horizon Crinkle 4 (Long Top) seen from our point of view given that we are approaching them from the north. Walking from the southern end Long Top would be Crinkle 2, and the others being 3,4 and 5 respectively. In an attempt to make things clear I’ve probably only succeeded in adding to the confusion though. Added to that is the fact that it looks as though there are only two Crinkles on the left thanks to the rocky nature of all of them. AW’s illustration on Crinkle Crags 14 is very helpful with regard to this. Moving swiftly on …..

….. its those sunny Scafells again, with the bonus additions of Great End, Esk Pike and Bowfell

Marvellous views in all directions from the Crinkles.

A look back along the route so far which wasn’t excessively busy with walkers today. Having said that there were enough people out enjoying the weather and the views although they probably weren’t enjoying the rough nature of the terrain quite as much.

Long Top summit cairn, where once again we arrived under a cloud and an accompanying coolish breeze, cool enough to have us put on a lightweight long sleeved layer.

Windermere and Pike O”Blisco from Long Top, the summit of Crinkle Crags.

The pretty little tarn just below the summit on Long Top, we’re still under the cloud so no blue sky reflections in it today. Gun metal grey is the colour de jour.

We took the very rough path below Long Top to avoid the ‘Bad Step’ and meet up with Crinkle 5, for us that is. It would be Crinkle 1 if approached from the south. Oh don’t start all that again please!

The ‘Bad Step’ on Long Top as we look back from the path to our final Crinkle. Long legs and the agility of a mountain goat would be very helpful attributes here. Everyone was using the diversion path around the left hand side, although as we made our way up the final Crinkle we did notice a couple of people approach it, try for a descent and then turn around again. The same two came by us as we were descending the final Crinkle. They turned out to be fell runners who displayed an abundance of agility as they descended the last Crinkle, it obviously wasn’t enough to deal with the ‘Bad Step’ though.

The view down to Oxendale and then along Great Langdale as we make our way over the last Crinkle.

Looking back at Long Top before we begin our descent. The diversionary path can be seen on the left of the shot.

A selection of tarns below on the flatter area above Stonesty Pike. The skies have clouded over now and the light is poor, we’re still in the cool breeze too so its all rather dull at the moment.

Passing by the tarn on the flattish area of Great Knott behind which is Pike O’Blisco. When you look at Great Knott from the Browney Gill side its hard to believe that such a gentle view lies behind that tough exterior.  The long distance views have now turned into grey-blue smudges.

J leads the way as we drop down towards Red Tarn. We’re out of the cool breeze now so the long sleeved layer has been removed. Its still pleasantly warm but the sunny spells are becoming fewer as the good weather drifts away southwards.

Pike O’Blisco again as we pass over the upper reaches of Browney Gill.

Below the lower end of Pike O”Blisco, on the right, is the path we will be using to descend into Oxendale.

We’re almost down to the junction of paths at Red Tarn at this point and we’re planning to take a short break at the junction before our last descent back down to Oxendale. As we got closer to the junction we could see a walker also taking a break and just before we reached it he hoisted his pack and began making his way up Pike O’Blisco. It was the same person who we saw coming down Bowfell while we had a break at the col, and who we kept seeing and exchanging bits of information with as we crossed over Crinkle Crags. At this point we didn’t feel like following him up because there’s a long steep walk back down to Oxendale ahead of us.

Great Knott, a couple of Crinkles and Bowfell from our stop just below Red Tarn. The sky is still hazy and there’s no sunshine as such but it was quite warm down here. The outflow from Red Tarn can be seen in the bottom left hand corner of the shot. Its on its way to join up with Browney Gill just a little lower down.

The outflow from Red Tarn runs close to the path is some places and the rocky and steep slopes give rise to some pretty waterfalls along the way.

A glimmer of sunlight lands on Great Knott as we make our way down.

The descent path above Browney Gill is stone pitched for most of the route but it is very steep in places with a few awkward rocky bits thrown in along the way. Its not as forbidding as it looks though, we wouldn’t be on it if it was. The large green mass across the middle of the shot is The Band, our route up to the col earlier.

The Langdale Pikes come back into view as the path turns away from the gill and leads us over Brown Howe. The dull skies seem to have gone somewhere else and while they aren’t totally clear they are allowing some sunlight to get through which made for a much pleasanter walk back down.

Bowfell and The Band.

Oxendale far below us and there’s a lot of steep and occasionally very rough path to descend before we reach it. Brakes need to be kept firmly on all the way down. We noticed a solo walker some distance below us who didn’t have any walking poles and he was having a lot of difficulty maintaining his balance.

There’s still some way to go and the legs are getting fed up with having to keep the brakes on. Ah well, the scenery makes up for it.

At last we’re down in Oxendale, the brakes come off and we can walk normally again as we make our way over to the bridge …..

….. from where I take a look back towards Crinkle Crags and listen to the ‘water music’ which Oxendale Beck plays as it splashes over the stones. After crossing the bridge a very pleasant stroll through Oxendale eventually brought us back to Stool End farm …..

….. and the final part of today’s walk along the farm road back to the car park at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. It was a joy to be back on terra which was firma after all the rough stuff we’ve been walking on today. All we have to do now is keep the legs going until we get back to the hotel because J is very much looking forward to that glass of beer he’s been talking about ever since we started descending Crinkle Crags! As for me I’m just looking forward to sitting down for a while because my back is definitely complaining about all the rough treatment its been putting up with today.