I know in present circumstances it is impossible to get out and about. The time will come when we will be able to freely spread our wings. At least travel a little further from the homestead than we have in the last year. One thing that the lockdown has brought our dogs is plenty of local walks. At times there hasn’t been a lot else to do. So they should at least be fit, ready and excited for those longer walks away from home.
I’m going to write a short series of walks. Some of our favourite walks and spots in the UK. Some of these we have done on regular occasions, others have been a one off but stand out in the memory banks.
Some difficult, some easy. Some you may know, so feel free to comment and add your suggestions and variations.
First up. Steep, rocky terrain and long. Supposedly one of Wainwright’s favorites.
Crinkle Crags, The Langdales. Lake District. Cumbria
3-4 hrs Difficult
This is a long one and if you don’t like the hills, then skip this. It’s steep in places, though very well marked out. The Langdale valley is worth a visit. It includes plenty of walks in the valley for those who want a Lakeland view without the exertion.
Crinkle Crags is a good walk with a pub at the end. Actually it’s a circular walk so the pub is also there at the beginning, though as I said the walk is steep.
I’ve done this a couple of times with the pooches. The last, a few days before Christmas in 2016 in deep snow. We had a crampon and axe adventure that day.
Bring plenty of change. As the National trust car parking at Old Dungeon Ghyll in the foot of the Langdales will need it. £8 for a day parking, free to National Trust members. Though most are now equipped with the PayByPhone app. Bring change anyway. In peak season arrive early, the car park isn’t huge. If you’re a Trust member, don’t forget to display your badge. A depressing sight seeing your car ticketed 300m below you.
Head out of the car park, over the stone bridge and turn right through the gate. You will see a flat straight pathway alongside the sheep fields. Take this and carry on toward the farm, Stool End, ahead.
You will need to keep your dog on a lead through this area. If you have a dog that isn’t particularly good with sheep it may be necessary for you to keep the lead on at times throughout the walk. There are a lot of sheep. Though further up there are less.
Carry on through the farm and take the path to the left. A brief descent to the river and across the bridge, and here you will start to go up. You will keep going up from here for some time.
The path is well maintained and marked, but cross the river and bear to the left. You will see the staircase like ribbon stretching out in front and up to the left.
The slog is worth it. Eventually you’ll reach a ’t-junction on a plateau, with a path going to the right. This is the one you want to head up towards Crinkle Crags. If you fancy a break, carry straight on a little further to Red Tarn. This is a lovely spot for a break to catch your breath. The Pike of Blisco to the left and the crags up and to your right make for a great vista.
Go back to where the path went to the right and and continue up towards the crags over Great Knott. This path will take you up and over their tops and on towards Crinkle Crags. This is the most tricky area of the walk. There are a couple of options of path to take. One that continues over the ‘Bad Step’ and directly along the tops. The easier, stays to the base of the tops to their back. Both paths continue in the same direction.
On a clear day there isn’t a better view in the lakes. Stop for a bite here, gives the dogs a treat. It’s unlikely you’ll be alone. This is a popular spot for climbers and walkers but you’ll be able to find a quiet spot on the tops. The path doesn’t go extremely close to the edge but on a foggy day watch where you’re going. There are some sheer drops off the top of the crag. Again if you have a lively, excited dog, leash up for the next 20 minutes or so.
Off season and in particular in the snow, you’ll be lucky if you see anyone. Make sure to be well equipped for you and dogs.
Carry along the tops. You may lose the path a little here. Just continue with the crags to your right. This is the hardest part of the walk but doesn’t last for long. Eventually you will see the Three Tarns ahead of you.
Bowfell is just ahead of you here. If you feel that you have made good time and want a short steep extension to the walk you can take this. Otherwise join the path to your right which winds down the other side of the valley. This will take you back to the farm where the ups started.
A well deserved drink awaits at the Old Dungeon Ghyll. It’s a bit of a climbers pub and dog friendly. Rough around the edges but full of atmosphere. Hot food and drink is available here. Warning though…your personal sandwiches are not welcome 😂. Anyway, you’ll be warm, dry and hydrated with a dose of a sense of achievement. The dog will be warn out and very satisfied too!