Harrison Stickle

Published 29 August 2013

Quite how many Langdale Pikes there are, is a matter of debate. And one I can’t really be bothered having. I’m going with five and that’s the end of the matter. But it doesn’t matter how many you do, it’s still a classic walk. After starting with Loft Crag, and Pike O’Stickle, I carried on to visit fell three, Harrison Stickle.

On paper the ridge route between Pike O’Stickle and Harrison Stickle – the two lynch-pins of the Langdale Pikes – is amazingly simple. Just go directly due east. Walk half a mile. Reach summit refreshed and ready to take in the view from a point which is 736m above sea level.

In practise I couldn’t help but notice that I seemed to be the only person walking the well cairned, extremely obvious and very rocky path. As I scrambled slowly over one particularly awkward rock formation, I glanced to my side and noted that there seemed to be a steady stream of people walking along what appeared to be a simple, easy and very grassy path nearby.

Whilst I gingerly and tentatively moved forward to avoid slipping, small children were busy skipping happily without a care in the world. I didn’t understand how anyone could have ended up there, when I’d ended up on a path with so many cairns that it shouted “why would you walk anywhere else?” very loudly.

Another blasted cairn photograph

The main route to ascend Harrison Stickle from the valley floor is the same one that also offers access to Pike O’Stickle and Loft Crag. But whilst the top of Loft Crag had been deserted, and Pike O’Stickle had been pretty quiet, everyone and their aunt seemed to be there, from family groups, small collections of teenagers and, of course, middle aged men with big beards.

The attraction of Harrison Stickle is not that surprising. It is the highest of the Langdale Pikes; the main event. With a height of 736 metres, it’s also the most prominent from the valley floor. For the casual visitor wanting to say they’d done some walking in Langdale, it’s an obvious target. Big, bold and brassy. You can stand on the main road below, look up at that big pile of rock and say “I’ve got there. And in my trainers and plastic pacamac too!”

Harrison Stickle's summit

I meandered over the rocky summit, feeling slightly out of place as a ten year old boy started rustling in his dad’s rucksack before pulling out a massive camera tripod. Part of me wanted to linger, enjoy the views however there were so many people there that I simply didn’t want to hang around. Perhaps it’s a fell best served on a quiet day, I thought, before looking round and realising that this was a pretty dull day and yet the place was still heaving.

I took a final look around before my restless feet moved me on once more. It was time to go somewhere quieter. It was time to go to Pavey Ark.

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