Cold Pike

Published 21 March 2021

Cold Pike, seen from the side of Pike O’Blisco

It’s September 2020 and after a year full of lockdowns, cancelled holidays and just general chaos, I unexpectedly found myself in the Lake District for a week. Day one was spent near Borrowdale, the second in the wonderful Newlands. The third was a splendid day around Grasmoor, and day four was a soggy visit to Tarn Crags. Now though, I was in Langdale, ready to explore some fells I’d long meant to visit. After starting with Pike O’Blisco, I wandered over to nearby Cold Pike.

Whereas Pike O’Blisco can be seen from the Langdale Valley, its neighbour, Cold Pike, is set back and hidden. In fact, when he wrote his guide to the Southern Fells, Wainwright didn’t even provide an ascent route to it from Langdale. There is one. But for whatever reason, he didn’t bother about it. Instead he only gave a route up from Wrynose on the other side; a part of the Lakes I knew nothing about due to never having been there.

But what Wainwright does provide a ridge route from Pike O’Blisco to Cold Pike, and that was good enough for me.

Cold Pike and Red Tarn

A sedate path led down from Pike O’Blisco to Red Tarn. It was here that the path, and all the nearby rocks, ceased to be their normal grey and became a deep rusty ocre. Could this be why this small tarn was so named? Well if you can think of a better reason, do drop me a postcard to let me know.

By the time I got there, the cloud that had hugged the fell-tops so heavily had started to lift. Cold Pike had been hidden. Now it was being revealed right in front of me.

There was no obvious path to the summit. One did go along the side of the fell, and I followed that in the assumption there would be a turn off at some point or other. As I walked, I pondered – as I often do – the subject of fell naming. Pike O’Blisco? What on earth was all that about?

Anyone seen the top of Cold Pike?

Cold Pike though. Well as I walked there was a very cold wind that was blowing strongly at me. Was that an feature of this fell? Did people come up here and shiver a lot?

Finding a narrow but clear path that turned off the one I was one, I started concentrating on something more important. There was a summit top to find. It wasn’t far off the main path, and was strewn with rocks. Like a load of boulders had been thrown up in the air, and left to land in random locations.

I picked my way through them, clambering over multiple clumps of rock. And then there it was. Sat on a grand, rocky platform, stood the big dude. The main cairn. The one from which all others are judged. Yep, that was the summit of Cold Pike all right.

The cairn was dead impressed to see me.

I sat down to admire the view. On a good day you can see to the Pennines and the Irish Sea. Shame then that this wasn’t a good day, for all I could see was never ending cloud. Not even that cold wind could shift it, it transpired.

Oh well. Maybe there would be more success in my next stop. For I was heading somewhere that looked pretty exciting. No, not the pub. No. Instead I was heading to Crinkle Crags.

Next time: Err, to Crinkle Crags?

The summit of Cold Pike

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