Pike O’Stickle

Published 27 August 2013

Has this look that someone’s simply thrown a lump of clay on the mountain side, and then covered it in rock.

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, I headed to my second – and favourite – Langdale Pike, Pike o’Stickle.

Pike O’Stickle is a funny looking thing. It’s a tall rock, with steep sides and has a rather unusual shape. From afar it looks like some giant has thrown a ball of clay down on the hill side, and then covered it in lots of rock. Even close up, it still gives some part of that impression.

With a mere third of a mile distance between it and Loft Crag, the ridge route between to Pike O’Stickle was hardly going to take a significant amount of time or effort, and sure enough I’d soon covered the undulating path between the two fells, and found myself at the start of the path up to the summit.

“Have you had lunch? We’ve got some spare!” asked an American lady as I walked up.

I’d passed her and three others in her group whilst climbing up the hill earlier in the day. Well I say, passed. We’d done the uphill climb shuffle. A few times they’d overtaken me whilst I was resting, then not long after I’d said a cheery hi whilst they’d pause to take in a view. Whilst I’d gone to Loft Crag, they’d headed straight to Pike O’Stickle, where they now sat eating their lunch – clearly with more than they needed.

Harrison Stickle and Loft Crag

They were a motley looking bunch, appearing to be a family group, and obviously not ones who were regular walkers if their attire was anything to go by. Dad had a large white beard with a faded red pacamac, and who had at one point, had been seen crouching on a sloped rock face, taking a very close up photo of a flower or something. Mum obviously had bought too much food and was wearing an anorak perhaps best suited for wandering round the shops, coupled with a pair of jeans.

Meanwhile, the son looked like he’d just stepped out of an American prep school, wearing beige chinos and a long sleeve shirt. He was the only one not to be wearing trousers, preferring instead a smart pair of brown lace-up shoes.

Only the fourth member of the group – a young lady who appeared to be English, perhaps the son’s girlfriend – seemed to be anywhere near close to being rightly equipped for a day in the Langdale Fells, decked out in a North Face jacket, but even then it was close.

As I’d just eaten my lunch – two muffins crammed with cheese – on the top of Loft Crag, I politely declined their offer, and set about working out how to get to the summit.

Many fells require a scramble to get to the top, but Pike O’Stickle is close to being a climb in my book, even if it is only a small one. I’m not a huge scrambling fan. It’s something to do with being a fifteen stone man with size ten feet and next to no poise or daintiness. When scrambling I am always rather paranoid that I’m going to lose my foothold, slip, and end up tumbling down on some hard pointy rock.

Yet despite Pike O’Stickle being one of those more challenging scrambles – a steep side requiring pushing up of the legs and hauling of the arms – it didn’t take me long to reach the Pike’s round top and be able to take in the view of Langdale that it presented.

A pleasant green top, quite in contrast with the rocky sides, greeted me, with a fine view of nearby fells including Bow Fell from the summit’s cairn which, fittingly, seemed to have its own scree-run. And as I stood there admiring it all, my mind kept pondering one important question. Just how on earth was I going to get back down again?

Next fell: Harrison Stickle

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