Rossett Pike

ONE Wainwright walk: Rossett Pike

Walk Rating:⭐⭐

Time: 3 - 4 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.

Rossett Pike in March, as seen from Mickleden

Rossett Pike is the fell that stands over the western end of Langdale, looking down over the valley of Mickleden. Its summit stands over Rossett Pass, a col that thousands of walkers cross every year on their way to and from Scafell Pike and other high fells beyond the pass. 

If your time in Langdale is limited then, instead of using the route to go beyond the pass, a walk up the Rossett Gill path to the top of Rossett Pike alone is a good outing in itself.  This is especially true on a clear winter's day, when the snow is lying on the top of the fells. Then this lower peak provides a safe but beautiful excursion. 

Strava estimates a total walking distance of 11km

1. The walk starts at Old Dungeon Ghyll. Take the short path between Middle Fell Farm and the Hotel to join the main track heading west towards the valley of Mickleden. Walk along the track as it continues up the wide valley at the foot of the Langdale Fell. The peaks of the Langdale Pikes will be above you, to the right. (This is the same route as described to visit those Pikes elsewhere in this blog).

The track runs alongside the wall on the left. Rossett Pike is behind.

2. Walk beyond both Loft Crag and Pike o'Stickle and continue along the track all the way to the end of Mickleden. Rossett Pike will be ahead of you all the way.

Continue along the track to the end of Mickleden

3. The track reaches a flat footbridge over the Stake Gill just above a prominent stone sheepfold. 

Cross the gill on the bridge above the sheepfold

4. Cross over the bridge to the large cairn where a stone sign directs your way onwards towards "Esk Hause" (a col beyond Rossett Pass).

Follow the sign towards Esk Hause

5. As long as you haven't turned right, up to the Stake Pass, the onward route up the valley of the Rossett Gill should now be easy to follow. The path is generally well paved, climbing alongside the gill at first, then ascending the higher ground underneath the pass on a couple of wide zig-zags.

The path follows the gill then zig-zags up to the pass

Climbing alongside Rossett Gill in wintertime

6. At one point the path seems to be heading directly up the steep ravine carved out by the upper reaches of the gill as it flows down from the col above. Don't be worried! The path then bends left, first on a smaller 'zig-zag', that brings you back towards the ravine, and then on a larger one that takes the path left, in the direction of Bowfell, before turning sharply right to climb through a rocky section up towards the pass itself.

The path heads towards the ravine, then bends left

On the bend of the second, largest, 'zig-zag' (in March)

7. With the summit of Rossett Pike above you, the gradient levels out and the path climbs to the top of the col.

Looking back to Pike o'Stickle as you near the top of the pass

8. From the top of the pass, Angle Tarn appears below you, with Esk Hause and Allen Crags above it, on the horizon.

Angle Tarn with Esk Hause behind

9. From the pass, it's a simple walk up the grassy slope at the back of the Rossett Pike to its summit (2106').

Walk up the grassy slope to the top of Rossett Pike

Langstrath, curving away to the north

10. The highest point stands above a small ridge pointing into the valley below. At the end of the ridge, a further cairn stands high over Mickleden. The views from here down into the valley, and across the Langdale Pikes, are excellent, particularly when snow is lying on the tops of the fells.

On the summit of Rossett Pike

11. The return route is exactly the same as on the way up. Return to the col and then back down the zig-zagging path into Mickleden.

Descend back down the Rossett Gill path to Mickleden

12. Cross back over the footbridge and return down the long track to Dungeon Ghyll, once again walking underneath the summits of the Langdale Pikes.

Return along the track, passing below the Langdale Pikes

Worth knowing: The stone sign at the end of Mickleden gives a second option to walkers, and that's to turn right, on the eastern side of Rossett Pike, up to "Stake Pass".

Looking up to Stake Pass from the end of Mickleden

The path winding up to Stake Pass connects Langdale with Langstrath, allowing hikers to walk to Borrowdale by a much shorter route than a car would have to take via Ambleside and Keswick. 

Looking into Mickleden from Stake Pass

It's also possible to climb Rossett Pike by taking a route that leaves the Stake Pass path to the left, traversing the ridge of the fell, across to its summit. An alternative path connects the top of Stake Pass with Angle Tarn, passing underneath the summit ridge to its north and west.

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