Harrison Stickle via Stickle Tarn

The Langdale Pikes

A short but steep circular route cutting short the usual and popular Langdale Pikes bagging route. This route is useful when you only have a few day light hours during winter days. The walk will get you up high among the central and southern Lakeland fells without too much effort. The walk starts from the warm and welcoming Stickle Barn Tavern in the heart of the popular Langdale Valley. It is a very popular walk during summer months. The ascent follows the tumbling waters of Stickle Ghyll to the stunning Stickle Tarn and its incredible back drop of Pavey Ark's huge cliff face. Then another steep climb takes you up on to the bowl shaped Langdale Pikes summit plateau and on to Harrison Stickle summit with incredible views over the Langdale Valley. Despite being short in length there is still a fair bit of ascent. The Stickle Barn Tavern provides a great place to eat, drink and stay.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts at the National Trust owned Stickle Ghyll car park by the Stickle Barn Tavern in the Langdale Valley at grid reference NY 294 064..
  2. From the car park take the path heading north to north west that passes the toilet block on the side of the Stickle Barn Tavern.
  3. Follow the path as it ascends the left side of the Stickle Ghyll so that the Ghyll and its small waterfalls are on your right hands side as you ascend.
  4. Half way up the ascent of Stickle Ghyll cross the wooden foot bridge, then turn directly left and ascend the right or eastern side of the Ghyll, crossing the stile over the stone wall.
  5. The ascent eventually turns right with the Ghyll heading behind Tarn Crag and the path crosses the boulder strewn Ghyll before eventually reaching the dam at Stickle Tarn.
  6. After taking in the stunning tarn and its impressive backdrop head left or clock wise round the tarn to reach the bottom of the ascent to the col between Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark.
  7. From the south western corner of Stickle Tarn ascend the steep slope to the col.
  8. Once you reach the top of the col the terrain flattens out and you end up on the eastern edge of a huge bowl shaped plateau.
  9. Turn left and head south towards the obvious summit peaks of Harrison Stickle. The summit has fantastic panoramic views to the southern and central fells and down in to the beautiful Langdale Valley with its fascinating flat bottom patterned with farmers fields and flanked by wild fellsides.
  10. From Harrison Stickle summit you will need to head back north on yourself for a hundred metres then head left down into the centre of the plateau in a west then south westerly direction until you reach a junction of paths.
  11. From this junction of paths in the centre of the plateau head south east towards Thorn Crag. The path now skirts quite precariously in places along the southern side of Harrison Stickle above the deep Dungeon Ghyll gorge to the right. Take care along here as the gorge is quite a drop.
  12. The path eventually rounds Thorn Crag and then gets a little easier as it ascends a grassy slope on a much easier gradient towards the obvious rocky pike of Pike Howe.
  13. Pike Howe is a fantastic view point on which to sit and admire the Langdale Valley. After enjoying the view from Pike Howe head back down to the path and turn left or south west and descend the rocky and winding path.
  14. This rocky and winding path will turn left and head down through farmers fields towards Stickle Ghyll. Passing left through a kissing gate and over a field will find you back at the starting point above the Stickle Barn Tavern. Head to the Stickle Barn Tavern and enjoy great food and local real ales sat by the wood burning stove looking out at the surrounding fells.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL6 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 90 Map Click to buy Harvey Super Walker Lakeland Central Map Click to buy Harvey Lake District Mountain Map

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.