Cumbria Scenes – 26.5.12

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell

Magnificent mountain scenery.
The skyline of Eskdale includes the highest, most dramatic and enthralling fells in all of England, and, although technically they border the side valley of Lingcove Beck, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags are worthy elements of that skyline. What a walk that would be! Crinkle Crags – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Great End – Ill Crag – Broad Crag – Scafell – but only for supermen, involving as it does 17 miles of walking and a cumulative ascent of 5,815 feet.
If only I’d been in that class when I was at my peak, but on my best day my upper limit for a single walk was 14 miles and 4,500 feet, and if I tried to do more, I very rapidly knew about it!
This photo is taken from the other side of the ridge, where the Crinkles, which dominate this scene, and Bowfell surround the side valley of Oxendale. It’s clear from the photo how the name Crinkle Crags derives: a series of five rocky knobbles on a long, high skyline. The traverse of the five tops, visiting each in turn, makes for a great day out in itself, without the knowledge that Bowfell, and the series of parallel grooves here visible, known as Bowfell Links, lies ahead.
This view is taken from the ascent out of Oxendale (alternately, it can be approached from the top of Wrynose Pass). A long ascent across a broad, tilted moorland, best noted for the ever-improving views behind, leads to the growing glamour of the ridge. The first Crinkle is the longest, a winding path leading to its top, from where the vista shows the Bad Step, a wedged boulder in the gully that is the obvious route to the Second (and highest) Crinkle. Beyond, the Third, Fourth and Fifth lie off the path, between 10 and 50 feet above the summit traverse.
Bowfell offers a sea of stones onto its summit, lying at the head of three valleys: Eskdale, Great Langdale and Langstrath, and the serious walker will have no other thought than crossing Esk Pike and descending to Esk Hause before the long return to Langdale, via Angle Tarn, Rossett Gill (by the old pony route, preferably) and the open expanses of Mickleden. A great day is to be had that way.
But oh for the strength to swing around Esk Hause to follow the highest ridge of all!


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