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Best Walks from Great Langdale in the Lake District

By Dave Roberts   

on May 2, 2018    5/5 (3)

Best Walks from Great Langdale in the Lake District

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Location Map

Great Langdale is a very popular Lake District valley amongst walkers, fell-runners and climbers alike. It is also known as simply Langdale, though the Great is to distinguish it from it’s smaller neighbour Little Langdale.

Upon entering the valley via the typically picturesque Lakeland village of Skelwith Bridge you can see why it’s well regarded, with stunning valley views and rising surrounding crags such as the Langdale Pikes – Pavey Ark, Pike Of Stickle and Harrison Stickle, as well as boasting fells such as Crinkle Crags, Pike O’Blisco, Bow Fell and Lingmoor Fell. That’s all before even mentioning it’s famous waterfall Dungeon Ghyll Force, and the valley itself which can offer a more relaxed lower level walking option.

What’s In Great Langdale? There’s a National Trust camp site aptly named Great Langdale Campsite which commands an incredible location in the valley. There is another National Trust site in the form of a previous Victorian mansion High Close, which is now a Youth Hostel. The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, or ODG for short, has been welcoming walkers and fell-runners for over 300 years. Or those looking for luxury can stay at the 4star spa hotel The Langdale.

How Can I Get To Great Langdale? Arriving by train your nearest station stop would be at Windermere, which is a good 12.8km drive away. Arriving by road take junction 40 off the M6 and follow the A66, or from the south you can take junction 36 and follow A591 which takes you to Ambleside, then simply follow the A593, and then signs for Langdale on the B5343. There are good public transport links between Great Langdale and Ambleside, with the  516 Bus Route between Dungeon Ghyll – Kendal / Ambleside running six buses daily.

What Pubs and eateries are there in Great Langdale? The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel has the lively Hikers Bar, which has been popular with walkers for years as is the Walker’s Bar at the New Dungeon Ghyll. The National Trust campsite mentioned above has it’s own bistro, the Sticklebarn, but no longer a pub.  Or you can visit the Wainwrights’ Inn at the Langdale Hotel in Chapel Stile. There are also pubs in Elterwater, The Brittania, and the Skelwith Bridge Hotel in, you’ve guessed it, Skelwith Bridge.

Walk up The Langdale Pikes

Here are the best walks from Great Langdale on Mud and Routes.

Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge

Height Gained – 50 metres ,  Distance – 4 km, Time –1 hour

Starting off with one of the easier walks on this list, a steady riverside ramble between Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge. Some sections are accessible to all, and the track is good for the entire distance.  There are also enticing views over to the Langdale Pikes, which are visible from virtually all the walks on this list!

Great & Little Langdale Circular Walk

Height Gained – 500 metres ,  Distance –15 km, Time –5 hours

This lower level walk is too good to be a rainy day plan b, with sections of the Cumbrian Way, Blea Tarn and ever changing views providing sustained interest. There are also a few pubs on the way, which might prove too tempting for some! Make sure you have time to divert to the Cathedral Cave in Little Landale for some goldfish spotting.

Chapel Stile And Great Langdale Low Level Walk

Height Gained – 100 metres ,  Distance – 5 km, Time –1 hour 30 min

This short walk from Chapel Stile takes you on an easy loop on the Cumbrian Way and back through easy woodland.

High Close and Red Bank Grasmere and Langdale Walk

Height Gained – 200 metres ,  Distance – 4.3 km, Time –1hr 30min

The first of our two walks from Langdale that take you over to Grasmere. This walk just takes you over for a tantalising glimpse of the lake, and ideal when you’ve only got a couple of hours to spare.

Silver How Langdale to Grasmere Walk

Height Gained – 450 metres ,  Distance – 8.3 km, Time –3 hours

This walk from Chapel Stile takes you across to Grasmere Village over the Wainwright of Silver How which provides an excellent viewpoint over the lake. Returning via the village and quiet woodland back to the start.

 Scafell Pike from Langdale

Height Gained – 1700 metres ,  Distance – 22 km, Time –7 hours

From easy, to epic! This is a challenging walking route to the highest mountain in England – Scafell Pike. It’s not often ascended from this side, with most people climbing Scafell Pike from Wasdale or the Corridor Route from Borrowdale/Seathwaite.

The Langdale Pikes and Pavey Ark

Height Gained – 730  metres ,  Distance – 12 km, Time –5 hours

The Langdale Pikes form the unmistakable skyline of Langdale and a walk along the Wainwrights of Pavey ArkHarrison StickleThorn CragLoft Crag and Pike of Stickle is a must do excursion for any fell walker visiting this valley.

Great Langdale Round

Height Gained – 1400 metres ,  Distance – 19.5 km, Time –6 hours

The other must-do summits are Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags, but why choose between them when you can walk these and the Langdale Pikes in one epic circuit of Great Langdale. You also get a bouns summit in Pike of Blisco (see the final route if you just want to climb this summit)

A Great Langdale Round

Bowfell via the Climbers Traverse

Height Gained – 1050 metres ,  Distance – 16 km, Time –6 hours

The Climber’s Traverse up Bowfell is a straightforward scrambling route via The Band and the Great Slab that avoids the busier Three Tarns route. This circular walk also includes Crinkle Crags.

Bowfell via Three Tarns –  Esk Pike, Allen Crags and Rossett Pike

Height Gained – 1100 metres ,  Distance – 20 km, Time –7 hours

For those looking for something a bit more straightforward than the Climber’s Traverse, there’s always the Three Tarns approach. This is the ‘easier’ and most popular walk up Bowfell from Great Langdale, but it’s still challenging and a worthy outing.

Walk up Bowfell via The Climbers Traverse from ODG
Three Tarns

Lingmoor Fell and Blea Tarn

Height Gained – 450 metres ,  Distance – 7.5 km, Time –3 hours

Lingmoor Fell sits in a central position between Great and Little Langdales, and as such is an excellent viewpoint. Normally that would be enough for any walk, but there are also the views across Blea Tarn to the Langdale Pikes that makes this a walk that punches above its weight.

Loughrigg Fell

Height Gained – 400 metres ,  Distance – 9.4 km, Time –3.5 hours 

Anyone who’s read our Walks from Ambleside and Grasmere articles will start to think we’ve got something for Loughrigg Fell as it does seem to creep onto a lot of our articles recently! While there’s no doubting its quality, with views over Windermere, Grasmere and Rydal Water, it’s also rather conveniently positioned so it can be walked from Ambleside, Grasmere or either of Elterwater or Skelwith Bridge.

Pike Of Blisco from Great Langdale

Height Gained – 600 metres ,  Distance – 7 km, Time –3 hours

If you’re looking for a quicker hill walk from Great Langdale, then the Pike of Blisco is an excellent option. The route above is the Great Langdale Round, but includes an ascent of Pike of Blisco which can be enjoyed as a quick up and down of an evening.

Local Information and Recommended Maps and Guidebooks

Recommended Maps


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Dave Roberts

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