Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale

Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale

By Emma Knipe   

on January 5, 2021   4/5 (1)

Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale

Further Details

Route Summary:

Starting at the edge of the Langdale valley, the scramble over Crinkle Crags is by far the best way to approach Bowfell.

Start and Finish: National Trust Stickle Ghyll car park by the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel.

Distance: 15.6 km

Ascent: 902 m

Time: 5 hours plus stops

Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.


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

Public Transport:

516 Bus Route between Dungeon Ghyll – Kendal / Ambleside. Six buses daily.

Traveline for UK Public Transport


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.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path,  Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.

Scafell Pike Guidebooks:

Recommended Scafell Pike Maps

Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Classic Lake District Walks – Bowfell via Crinkle Crags from Great Langdale

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 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.


Please rate this

Emma Knipe

Based in the Lake District and with frequent trips to Snowdonia, Emma spends most days in the mountains. She splits her time between leading group hikes, volunteering with the National Trust, mountain biking, hiking with the dog and planning the next adventure.

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Welcome to Walk up Scafell Pike

Walk up Scafell Pike is the dedicated on-line guidebook for walking routes up Scafell Pike in the English Lake District, with free walking maps and full guides to all the routes to the summit of England’s highest mountain.

Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England at 978m high and is one of the mountains climbed on the Three Peaks Challenge walk. It’s a formidable mountain that needs respect, with no such thing as an easy route up  the mountain to be had. All the walks and hikes are a challenge, and well worth the effort to reach the roof of England.

The Routes to the Top of Scafell Pike page has an interactive map that shows all the walking routes to the summit of Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head, Scafell Pike from Borrowdale and Scafell Pike from Langdale as well as hotels, campsites and pubs near Scafell Pike (add your Lake District business for free), and there’s a page for each walk that shows the route, parking postcode,  a downloadable file for your GPS device as well as details on the weather for the mountain.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page for more Scafell Pike facts such as how long will it take to climb Scafell Pike, where can i start the walk from and other questions.

Main Walking Routes up Scafell Pike

Route Name Starting Point Parking Post Code Distance Ascent Walking Time
Scafell Pike from Wasdale or Wasdale Head Wasdale or Wasdale Head  CA20 1EX (Wasdale Head)  4.2km*  900m*  3-4 hours**
Scafell Pike from Seathwaite, Borrowdale (Corridor Route) Borrowdale  CA12 5XJ  15km (round trip)  1000m  6 hours+
Scafell Pike from Langdale Langdale  LA22 9JY 9km  1130m 4 hours**
Scafell Pike from Hardknott (southern approach) Eskdale Hardknott CA19 1TG – for Boot – then continue up Hardkott Pass to GR NY211 011  17km  1000m  6 hours
Scafell Pike Corridor Route from Wasdale Wasdale or Wasdale Head CA20 1EX (Wasdale Head)  7.8km*  970m*  3-4 hours **

*Distance/Ascent noted is for one way only.

**Time is for one way only, and variable. Very fit walkers can walk up and down in 3-4 hours(depending on the route)and will know their own timings and speed. If in doubt, assume the longest duration for your ascent and add the longest for your descent, depending on route. Add a good half hour or more for the summit stop as well.

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