Walk Report: Esk Pike & Bow Fell

Date: 23rd Aug 2008
Stats: 10 miles, 3400 feet
Weather: Mostly clear and warm, scattered cloud and cold on tops
Trig Points: 0
Wainwrights: 3: Rossett Pike, Esk Pike, Bow Fell
Other Info: Ample parking (£5.50 all day) at Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel with toilets
Summary: Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Mickleden, Rossett Gill, Esk Hause, Esk Pike, Bow Fell, Three Tarns, The Band, Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel


Key to symbols:
= Wainwright Summit

The fine weather finally coincided with a weekend and Tex and I set off for the Lakes and a wander in the Southern Fells. We didn’t leave as early as usual as Tex had been to a party the night before and wanted a lie in. We were on site at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel for just before 09:00 though and the car park was already beginning to fill up (at least so we thought). It actually turned out that people don’t care how they park in here. With no white lines to guide them folk park wherever they wish, with no regard to how other cars are going to be able to reverse out of a space when they want to leave. When we returned to the car at the end of the walk it was clear that several visitors would not be able to leave as they were blocked in by people who had arrived later, found nowhere sensible to park and just double-parked anywhere.

The sky was mostly clear and although it wasn’t particularly warm for the time of year it was still shirt-sleeve weather. We took the Cumbria Way path from the Old Hotel and walked into Mickleden with views ahead to Bow Fell and Rossett Pike. It was nice to have a flat walk-in, especially as this was my first outing in several weeks and I was unsure as to how well I was going to be able to cope with the demands of the day after being ill most of the week with Mumps.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Looking along the Cumbria Way to Bow Fell, The Band on the left

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Looking far ahead to Rossett Pike and Bow Fell

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Pike of Stickle

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Mickleden

I made a quick diversion from the path to try and get an arty picture of the fells with Mickleden Beck in the foreground. We had both agreed to take it easy today and it was little stops like this that helped us do that.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Rossett Pike and Black Crags above Mickleden Beck

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
The path works beside Rossett Gill

Bloke in gaiters!

As we climbed the path we met a couple coming down, which seemed a bit early, but the oddest thing about the bloke was his selection of clothing. I’ve mentioned elsewhere on many occasions, the often fanatical use of gaiters by some people, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone using short shorts and gaiters. Not knee length shorts like most folk wear, but the sort of shorts that runners wear.

I know the hills are no place for the fashion conscious, but there are limits! Why he couldn’t have just used long socks I don’t know. It wasn’t wet and there’s not much heather or bracken on these fells, unless you go seriously off track, so I’m not sure why there would be the need for gaiters.

Another growing trend we both noticed is the way couples tend to dress the same. Maybe this is convenience; both going to the outdoor shop for a new jacket and buying the same one – but get different colours!

Okay, this rant has gone on long enough now – but pay attention people!

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Looking down in to Mickleden

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Bow Fell Great Slab and Buttress

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Tex, looking to Bow Fell with Mickleden behind

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Great End from Rossett Pike

As we approached the top of Rossett Gill I took the opportunity to divert to Rossett Pike. It’s only a 10 minute walk to the summit cairn and back again, but Tex decided to wander down to Angle Tarn and wait for me there. We’d visited this Wainwright earlier in the year, but it was just too close to the path to not visit again, for me at least.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Tex at Angle Tarn

I found Tex musing by the tarn and what a splendid location it was too. Completely quiet with no-one else around and surrounded by big hills.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Angle Tarn and Bow Fell

We were both in a jocular, light-hearted mood today and we were discussing bird life as we approached two slow moving backpackers on the path up to Esk Hause. Once within ear-shot of the two I described to Tex, a recent scientific study conducted on Blue Tits in sea-side resorts on the south coast that found than their traditional food sources of cream out of the tops of milk bottles and nuts from bird feeders were becoming so scarce that they were being forced to breed with seagulls in order to survive. The resulting birds were much larger, still looked like Blue Tits, but with black heads and were now feeding on the much more plentiful supply of chips, hot dogs and ice cream. It took Tex a little while to realise I was making it all up, but his incredulous mutterings seemed to add a sense of realism to the event and the two backpackers gave us open-mouth stares as we went past.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell =”450″ />
Path works on the way up to Esk Hause

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
The shelter at Esk Hause

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
On approach to Esk Pike

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Esk Hause, Allen Crags and The Gables behin

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Langstrath Dale

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Esk Pike

It was cold and quite windy at the top of Esk Pike. We stopped and had some lunch and I changed out of my wet base layer and wet shirt and donned a dry base layer from my pack and put my fleece on over the top of it. This was soon supplemented by hat and gloves as it was quite chilly once you were in the wind. I took a wind reading from the summit and as with previous walks the numbers were less than I had expected; gusts to 25mph.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Ore Gap with Bow Fell beyond

From Esk Pike, Bow Fell had been pretty much invisible due to the cloud that had enveloped it. As we descended to Ore Gap the clouds parted though and we could see the path ahead and behind clearly now.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Esk Pike from Bow Fell path

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
The Scafells clear of cloud now

The Scafells also managed to shed their cloud for a short while and although mostly in shadow, they were a fine sight.

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Descending to Three Tarns from Bow Fell

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Crinkle Crags and Three Tarns

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Pike of Stickle and the Langdale Pikes

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Langdale Valley

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Pike of Blisco

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Pike of Stickle

Esk Pike and Bow Fell
A sheep trap

An excellent day’s walking in mostly great weather; it was good to be back in the hills after a few weeks away.


The busy summit of Bow Fell

lonewalker

Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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