There is nothing better than a few nights in a tent to improve inner calm. So I was grateful to be able to escape to the Lake District for a couple of days this week, and made sure it was in a quiet valley so I could properly relax. I love the Lakes at any time of year, but summer fills the hills and makes it difficult to spend the day alone. So when I turned up at the Three Shires Stones on the Wrynose Pass at lunch time and had to abandon my car not quite off the road, I did think I’d struggle to find peace and quiet whilst out walking.
I headed up to Red Tarn but away from the crowds on the main track and headed for a circuit of Little Stand and Cold Pike. Being just away from the main path up towards the Crinkle Crags and away from the main circuit of the Langdale Valley (the popular route for walkers on these fells) Little Stand and Cold Pike have the joy of being both quiet and also being pathless fells, which allow you to fell like your truly away from it all.
From Red Tarn the fell of Cold Pike rises up, but is dwarfed by the adjacent Langdale Valley fells and so is often quiet.
By continuing up the track towards the Crinkle Crags but then heading south you reach Little Stand, from where you can see back down into the Wrynose and Hardknott valleys and out towards the Irish Sea. And best of all you get to enjoy it in peace and quiet. Little Stand may only be 740m high, but it is worth it for the view. From here I then doubled back and dropped down to Gaitscale Gill to ascent Cold Pike. For the peak bagger in me this is a great walk for little effort as Cold Pike has 3 tops to bag. Frankly, it feels like cheating as they are only rocky outcrops from the main fell.
The circuit back to Red Tarn only took me 2 hours in total, including a lunch stop. Since Wrynose Pass starts you at 393m this certainly felt like cheating as I hadn’t broke a sweat, so I headed up Pike of Blisco too since it was right there (that’s whey we climb mountains right? Because they are there.) Last time I was up Blisco there was thick fog and it felt much more like a slog from the Langdale Valley, but in good visibility this time it was much more enjoyable.
I could see rain approaching once I got to the summit so I headed promptly off the top, heading south via long scar crag directly back to the car on the Wrynose Pass. An easy dash down across grass and rock, and definitely shorter than the path back. And I just made it before the rain.
If you don’t fancy the walk the Wrynose Pass is a great area of the Lakes to visit as its an amazing drive (though extremely narrow and steep!) and the views down the valley are breathtaking. At the head of the pass is the Three Shire Stones, the old boundary marker of the three former counties of Cumbria – Westmoreland, Cumberland and Lancashire. If you do just drive through keep your eye out for the marker.
- Ravenglass, Hardknott and on past Wrynose (ejkayblog.wordpress.com)