Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale
Post Code for Sat Nav: LA22 9JX
National Trust Stickle Ghyll car park, just below Sticklebarn pub.
516 Bus Route between Dungeon Ghyll – Kendal / Ambleside. Six buses daily.
Starting at the edge of the Langdale valley, the scramble over Crinkle Crags is by far the best way to approach Bowfell.
Distance: 15.6 km
Ascent: 902 m
Time: 5 hours plus stops
Start and Finish: National Trust Stickle Ghyll car park by the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel.
Sticklebarn pub and free toilets next to the car park. Old Dungeon Ghyll pub is on route. See the full guide to Great Langdale on Mud and Routes for more details
There are a few short sections where you will need to use your hands to scramble up. Cattle can often be found alongside Oxendale river.
Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale Details
One of the best routes up Bowfell from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Great Langdale is via Crinkle Crags. While most will ascend Bowfell via Three Tarns, this route takes a more interesting and slightly more challenging route over the multiple crinkles on Crinkle Crags – South Top First Crinkle, the second crinkle is the main summit and the only Wainwright – Crinkle Crags – Long Top before descending over the Third Crinkle of Gunson Knott, the Fourth Crinkle and finally Gunson Knott – the Fifth Crinkle (not to be confused with the fifth Beatle.)
Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale Route Map and GPX Download
Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale Route Details
Despite looking slightly ominous from a distance, hiking across Crinkle Crags is fairly straight-forward. The five distinctive ‘crinkles’ form a wide ridge and any challenging scrambles can be avoided by using a by-pass footpath. The final push up the loose, rocky path to Bowfell is more than rewarded with spectacular views of the Langdale valley, coastline and surrounding fells.
1. Head to the National Trust notice board at the far end of the car park, just left of the toilets. Follow the footpath through the wooden gate and take the first left hand path.
2. The footpath runs alongside a stone wall to reach a wooden swing gate. Go through the gate and keep left at the fork. Follow the path to cross the bridge, with great views of Crinkle Crags and the route ahead.
3. Continue straight on, towards the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub.
4. Turn left to go through the gate and follow the path to join the road behind the Old Dungeon Ghyll pub. The road bears right before reaching a junction. Go through the wooden swing gate directly ahead, which is marked with a public footpath sign for The Band and Oxendale.
5. Cross the field, go through the gate and across the stone bridge. Turn right through the gate and follow the road alongside farming fields.
6. The path continues between farm buildings and bears left to join a gravel track. Ignore the right-hand fork (this is the path you’ll use to return on later) and follow the track to go through a wooden gate in a stone wall.
7. Turn left to cross the footbridge and then immediately turn right. The faint grassy path soon becomes more defined as it climbs the hillside.
8. The path levels out before reaching a few short sections of scrambling and then continues to a junction. Turn right at the junction and follow the well-defined rocky path past Great Knott to eventually reach the start of Crinkle Crags.
9. After a short climb, the path becomes clearer and bears right before dropping down to reach a fork. Take the left-hand path to use the by-pass to avoid a tougher climbing section.
10. The by-pass pathway traverses the left-hand side of the rocks and then bears right to re-join the main path, which is marked with a few low-lying cairns.
11. Turn left to continue across the crags. The faint, rocky path descends across boulders (there’s an easier path to the left of the rocks if you prefer).
12. Continue straight ahead, ignoring the paths forking off to the sides and follow the steep, rocky path to climb Bowfell.
13. As the path approaches the summit, it becomes slightly less clear but there are low cairns to help you find the way. The summit is on the left and there is a faint pathway through the rocks.
14. The views are definitely worth the climb!
15. From the summit, retrace your steps back to the main path and turn right, again retracing your steps to descend Bowfell.
16. When the path levels out, take the first left hand turn and keep left at the fork, heading towards Earing Crag and The Band.
17. The very clear pathway continues for just under two miles before reaching a wooden swing gate. Go through the gate and continue straight ahead to the junction. Turn left, re-joining the earlier path.
18. Follow the footpath signs through the farm buildings to join the road. Continue straight on to eventually reach a gate. Go through the gate and turn left to cross the bridge. Bear right through the field and go through the gate ahead. Simply for a little variety, rather than following the road behind the pub to return to the car park, cross the road and go through the gate marked with a public footpath sign for Stickle Ghyll car park.
19. Follow the path through farming fields and bear right across the footbridge. Turn immediately left to climb across the stile. Continue on the farming track for a few metres and then, when the track merges with another path and bears right, continue straight ahead across the grass to return to the car park.
Here are some further Images of the walk Images credited to Dave Chick on Mud and Routes, our sister site.