BB1328 : It's Langdale, John, But Not As We Know It

Thursday 22nd August 2013

Tony is in training for Scafell Pike.  John wants to do all the Langdales and has so far done about half of them..  What could be more obvious than to knock off a few more of them?

In the middle of August?
Aren't those narrow roads going to be congested and the paths full of trippers?

Not at all,  We were visiting Langdale but, as Mr Spock might have said, not as we know it, John.

This Langdale is in the north end of the Howgills, an area not exactly known for its visitors. A much quieter area to tackle in school holiday time.

Initially we thought of doing the full Langdale round but that would be around 11 miles and 4,240 feet of climbing.  It's further and higher than Scafell Pike!  It would also include what sounded like a hairy drop and climb between two peaks.

Consequently, we resorted, for the first time in ages, to Wainwright and his Walks in the Howgills. A more modest 9 miles and 2,000 feet of climbing if you follow his route.

Although the valley in question is undoubtedly called Langdale, the hamlet is shown on the OS map as Longdale.  It would not be the first time that the OS had things wrong and AW insists that "Long" is incorrect but seemingly the villagers do not agree.

His route descriptions are in such tiny print that despite his simple handwriting, they are very difficult to read, even when enlarged.  There is a market for someone to produce scalable typed versions!  You heard it here first.  No fee.

Burned out farmhouse

Bridge over Langdale Beck

We set off following his scanner-enlarged instructions but after passing a burned out farmhouse we ran into some difficulties.  Things on the ground are not quite how they were 40 years ago and some reinterpretation was needed.  Once resolved, we climbed up the west side of Langdale beck and along an old track till we reached the open moor.  Here I lost my wager.  I had told BetFred that we would meet no one on those fells and was given good odds.  Lo and behold, two men were walking up the track to cause me to lose a fortune.  Do you think they were ringers?

Anyway, we continued along the fell path but it became increasingly a traverse over uncomfortably steep ground.  A democratic decision was made to climb directly up to the ridge.  This meant a few added feet but, after a stiff climb, eased the burden on the legs.

Langdale, Churchdale and Uldale

Rispa Pike provided a coffee stop and Uldale Head lunch, both afflicted by pesky wasps, but the latter providing views not dissimilar to last week of the distant Lakeland fells, the M6 and a new one of Carling Gill and its side valleys.

Distant Lakeland fells


Black Force and Small Gill

Docker Knott (low centre) and Simon's Seat, left

After the steep descent to Blakethwaite Bottom, we looked for the Blakethwaite Stone where each participant had a decision to make regarding the Comitibus picture.  The stone itself is unremarkable other than the fact that it divides what was Yorkshire from what was Westmorland.  Each had to choose which side of the line they wanted to stand.  Martin, John, Tony and I chose Westmorland.  Philip opted, Vicar of Bray-like, to have a foot in each camp.  What a good job that none of Bryan, John PL and Pete were with us. Fisticuffs or worse might have ensued!

Comitibus :  Boundary Stone

The hand of God?

It was a steep climb up to Docker Knott and a similarly steep descent to Great Blea Gill. Here we crossed the stream and climbed up towards Simon's Seat.  More traversing and more steepness to overcome.

From Simon's Seat onwards it was a gentle descent of Middleton down to the ancient bridge over Langdale Beck.

Top of lower Langdale

Looking downstream.....

Hereon, the path was in much kinder countryside, gently leading along the beck through light woodland then fields, hampered only by gates that were not intended of the likes of us to pass through.

Eventually we emerged at the hamlet where we had left the cars.

So that was Langdale, John.
As we now know it.

..... and upstream

lower Langdale

And, to Tony's delight, it will be a while before we return.  The trouble with the Howgills is that whilst the area has its charms, the hills all look more or less the same with their featureless, energy sapping tufty tops, steep sides and stream gullies.

Two lots in two week is enough for the time being.

Don, 22nd August 2013

We Come In Peace- Shoot To Kill

Just in case you are puzzled by the "not as we know it" reference above, it is a misquote from a Star Trek episode in which Mr Spock says to Captain James T Kirk:

No life as we know it

"It's Life, Jim, but not as we know it." stems from the song "Star Trekkin Across The Universe" (as does the heading of this section); a 1987 hit single by The Firm.

If you don't remember it (or even if you do but want a laugh) click on the play button below:

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it

It is brilliant! But be warned, you will have this going round your head all day long!

If you see an advert, you might then want to click on the tiny x at its top right hand corner in order to remove it.

Pressing the full screen button at the bottom right of the picture is highly recommended.



Caption Competition

Philip likes to have his photo taken pointing at something and inviting suggestions for its caption. Here we see him looking down the Langdale valley.  
But at what is he pointing and what is he telling us?  
I am sure that Philip will stump up a modest award for the best entry!





Thursday 22nd August 2013

Distance in miles:

9.5 (Garmin GPS)

Height climbed in feet:

2,176 (Anquet / Harvey's)


La/ongdale, Rispa Pike, Uldale Head, Blakethwaite Stone, Docker Knott, Simon's Seat, Middleton


Don, John Hn, Martin, Philip, Tony


 BOOTboys routes are put online in gpx format which should work with most mapping software. You can follow our route in detail by downloading bb1328 .

To discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing - although it may not be quite up to date - see: Which Wainwright When?

For the latest totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see: BB Log.


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