Bowfell, Esk Pike & Great End
THREE Wainwright circular walk: Bowfell, Esk Pike, Great End
Time: 7 - 8 hours
Parking: At either Old or New Dungeon Ghyll car parks or, if you arrive early enough, there are some free roadside places by Rossett Bridge. Alternatively, take the 516 bus from Ambleside (although the timings may be tight).
|Bowfell from Middle Fell Bridge, Old Dungeon Ghyll
|Strava estimates a walking distance of 17km with around 1100m of elevation
|"The Band" rises up to Bowfell on the left of Mickleden
|The Langdale Pikes on the other side of Mickleden
4. Follow a clear path all the way up the ridge. For most of the way up, the route mainly offers views out over Oxendale, to your left. However, there are also places where there are excellent views out to your right, over Mickleden, to the Langdale Pikes.
|The path levels out onto a grassy plateau
|On the path climbing up to the 'Climber's Traverse'
6. The path up the fellside is not always entirely clear but there are also remains of some old paved steps in places, indicating that perhaps this was once a more frequently used route. However, when you reach the top of the little ridge above, the Climber's Traverse path stretches clearly ahead of you, below the eastern crags of Bowfell.
|The 'Climber's Traverse' path will be clearly visible ahead of you
|Looking down towards Rossett Pike and Glaramara
|Continue ahead on the clear path
|The view back down Mickleden to the Langdale Pikes
|The path climbs a small rise
|Walking below Flat Crags
|The water trickling from the bottom of Cambridge Crag
|At the top of the 'Great Slab'
|The Scafells and Mickledore from Bowfell
|Crinkle Crags beyond the Three Tarns col
|Looking down the gully into Mickleden
|The Scafells from Esk Pike
23. Wainwright notes in his Walking Guide to the Southern Fells that the rocks on the top of Esk Pike differ from those on neighbouring peaks, being flakier and coloured with "brown or coppery hues with generous splashes of white". Some of those rocks have been used to make a tall cairn just below the summit rocks (in 2021 at least!)
|Walking down to Esk Hause
|Sprinkling Tarn, beneath the northern cliffs of Great End
|Great End from Sprinkling Tarn (on another day!)
|Looking down into Calf Cove with Esk Pike behind
|A raven on the cliffs of Great End
|On Esk Hause, with Great End behind
31. From the higher col, now walk downhill a few hundred metres, north-east in the direction of the ridge formed by Allen Crags and Glaramara. You will pass the cruciform wall shelter that lies just above the lower, 'alternative' Esk Hause. This pass carries the well-trodden path that goes underneath the cliffs of Great End, from Wasdale to Langdale.
|Looking from the higher Esk Hause to the lower col below
32. Turn right onto this lower main path and head downhill, south-east towards Angle Tarn. There will be good views on your left down into the top of the Langstrath valley and over some small tarns as you walk over Tongue Head.
|Follow the track down the valley alongside Mickleden Beck
|Take in some final views of the Langdale Pikes
Worth knowing: When you started the walk by heading through a gate, where the main road turned left in front of a postbox, you could have instead turned right over an arched stone bridge leading to a field next to Middle Fell Farm.
This is Middle Fell Bridge, which was chosen as the location for filming a famous scene in the classic 1945 film 'Brief Encounter'.
|Modern trains and old memorabilia on Platform One
|Watch 'Brief Encounter' in the Heritage Centre