|Sunrise over Windermere from Ambleside|
As I was busy around Christmas I wouldn't be able to stay over so it was an early start so I could get up there early and we could all enjoy as much of the short winter sunlight hours as possible. As I approached Windermere on the A597, the moon was just setting behind the Coniston Fells on the other side of Windermere and it was absolutely huge. I didn't bother stopping to take a photo as photos of the moon never seem to work out and always make you look like a liar. As I rounded Windermere near Holme Crag I had to stop to take a photo though as the sunrise was stunning. You just know you are going to have a great day on the hills when it starts like that. I arrived at the quaint self catering cottage they were staying in at Ambleside and we all sat and had a chat about the plans for the day whilst I met Rob's beautiful new family and caught up with the lads who had each grown about two foot since the last time I saw them in person.
|Sunny Raven Crag above the Old Dungeon Ghyll|
We made the decision to head towards the Old Dungeon Ghyll in the Langdale Valley. We know the surrounding fells well and its only a short journey from Ambleside saving us from wasting precious daylight hours in the car. Despite the recent flooding the roads were okay. The sun had now risen above the fells and it was turning out to be the best weather day for weeks. The recent floods were crippling local businesses financially with losses due to a lack of visitors put off by stories of impassible roads and dangerous conditions. We parked for free which was an incentive for visitors. An excellent idea and we made sure we visited the pub when we returned and supported the local business by consuming the local ale and flapjack of course.
|Langdale Valley fields, Lake District National Park|
|Heading into Mickleden with Pike of Stickle above|
|Rossett Pike reflected in Mickleden track puddle|
|Rob & Conor following the Cumbria Way route through Mickleden|
At the Stake Pass and Esk Hause sign posted cairn we went left and crossed the wooden footbridge towards the Rossett Gill ascent in the direction of Esk Hause. I love this ascent as it gives head on views of the alpine like north east face of Bowfell. As the cloud line was around 750m the cloud was hanging over the cliffs and buttresses adding to the atmosphere as we ascended. There was as always much conversation about the word gash as we approached the gash at the top of Rossett Gill.
|Rob and Callum crossing Stake Gill, Mickleden, Lake District|
|Stake Pass and Esk Hause junction split, Mickleden, Lake District|
|Rob and Callum ascending Rossett Gill, Lake District|
|Looking down Mickleden from Rossett Gill, Lake District|
|Angle Tarn, Lake District National Park|
|Conor, Callum and Rob having lunch on Rossett Pike, Lake District|
|Cloud creeping into Mickleden from Rossett Pike, Lake District|
|Rob leading us into a cloudy and boggy Stake Pass, Lake District|
|Conor admiring the contrasting view towards Langstrath, Lake District|
We helped a couple with directions at Stake Pass then started the ascent of Martcrag Moor. The views behind us looking north over Langstrath towards the Northern Fells was completely clear and in complete contrast with the cloud that had now shrouded the fells we were walking. We took slightly different routes up Martcrag Moor and Conor and myself who were falling behind were suddenly the victims of verbal abuse from Rob and Callum. "Path Wanker" became the term of the day and was used extensively for the next few hours.
|Callum admiring Pike of Stickle from Martcrag Moor, Lake District|
|Rob heading towards Pike of Stickle, Lake District|
|Atmospheric scenes as we approach Pike of Stickle, Lake District|
|Looking down into Mickleden from Pike of Stickle, Lake District|
The summit of Pike of Stickle is a lot bigger than it would appear from a distance and has a fun scramble to reach its top. When we reached the top we didn't stay too long as there was now a chill in the air. We descended the fun scramble then turned right and followed the path over the hollow to Harrison Pike which we also ascended then quickly descended as it was chilly and there were no views just cloud. We allowed Callum to navigate the way down. As he almost led us off a cliff on the south side of Harrison Stickle it became apparent he had inherited his fathers navigational skills.
|Callum and Rob taking in the atmosphere on Pike of Stickle summit|
|Head of the Langdale Valley from Pike of Stickle, Lake District|
|Loft Crag from Pike of Stickle, Lake District National Park|
|Langdale Valley from Loft Crag gully, Lake District National Park|
|Ascending Dungeon Ghyll path under Thorn Crag, Lake District National Park|
|Callum and Rob rounding Pike Howe, Windermere beyond, Lake District|
The path eventually turns from rocky steps to steep grass, which was lethally wet and slippery. We all took turns at falling on our backsides and each time our compassionate fellow hill walkers sympathetically shouted "Path Wanker". Rob took more abuse than anyone as he had stiff soled boots which don't grip too well on wet grassy slopes.
|Callum mocking his dad for falling over... again!|