Walking in the Lake District: Day one

Great Langdale, Cumbria LA22 9JU

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The walking opportunities from Great Langdale campsite are endless © Paul Harris

The walking opportunities from Great Langdale campsite are endless

Hard labour from the Fixing the Fells team © Rob Clarke

Hard labour from the Fixing the Fells team

Camping pods at the National Trust campsite at Wasdale Head in Cumbria © Joe Cornish

Camping pods at the National Trust campsite at Wasdale Head in Cumbria

Route overview

This two-day walk, tried and tested by environment and travel journalist, Mark Rowe, takes in the monumental landscape of the western Lakes, as well as a hike to the summit of Scafell Pike. The route is essentially two long linear walks that at times overlap, taking you over the passes from Langdale and Mickleden, often busy with hikers, to Wasdale, more lonely and remote. The first day takes you from Great Langdale across to Wasdale.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the two-day walk from Great Langdale campsite to Wasdale campsite in Cumbria
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Great Langdale National Trust campsite, grid ref: NY287058

  1. From the Great Langdale campsite follow the road to the Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel, turn right and take the path behind the pub.

    Show/HideGreat Langdale

    Dominated by the majestic Langdale Pikes, much of the landscape in this fantastic walking country, as well as the farms and campsite, are owned and run by the National Trust. This walk is entirely on land owned by or leased to us, and outside the months of deep winter, youre likely to see our teams out maintaining the network of paths that allow us all to explore the mountain and countryside.

    The walking opportunities from Great Langdale campsite are endless © Paul Harris
  2. At the bottom of the valley head, bear left, following sign for Rossett Gill (not Snake Pass). At the top of the gill, follow the clear path past Angle Tarn and up to the shelter beyond the ridgeline.

  3. Bear left up to Esk Hause, then bear right up and down Broad Crag, before ascending Scafell Pike.

  4. Return the same way to Esk Hause and shelter before turning left downhill between Great End and Seathwaite Fell.

    Show/HideFixing the Fells

    We have four footpath teams in the Lake District and only at times of extreme weather can they really see where the rain falls, and how it works its way downhill. When they know this, they can then rebuild footpaths that won't disappear under the next heavy rainfall, for example by laying drains to allow water to flow naturally under or by paths. Theyll each lay around 5ft (1.5m) of stone a day. Rather than some of the stone staircases that used to be built, the approach now is to place stones close together in a gentle, raised fashion, allowing for people with different stride patterns to find a stone that suits them.

    Hard labour from the Fixing the Fells team © Rob Clarke
  5. In front of Sty Head bear left and continue downhill to Wasdale. Follow the path behind farms and houses to Wasdale Head Inn. The campsite is a 10-minute walk on the left along the lane.

    Show/HideWasdale Head campsite

    Enjoy a well-earned rest after your day's endeavours, in the beautiful Wasdale campsite, nestled under the Scafell mountain range at the head of Wastwater.

    Camping pods at the National Trust campsite at Wasdale Head in Cumbria © Joe Cornish

End: Wasdale Head National Trust campsite, grid ref: NY183076

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Hard
  • Distance: 9 miles (14.4km)
  • Time: 5 hours to 6 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer OL6; Landranger 89 and 90
  • Terrain:

    Two long steep and stony ascents up Rossett Gill and Scafell Pike, followed by a long stony descent, and a final meander through flat meadows to the campsite. Were assuming youre comfortable with map reading and grid references, and can use a compass to put together your own walk, and ad lib a bit, following a path or feature that looks worth nosing around, rather than sticking rigidly to a route. PLEASE NOTE: the map provided is intended only as a rough guide, please take a map and compass with you and wear sensible walking gear.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: Langdale Rambler 516, from Ambleside (daily, reduced in winter).  See Traveline; 0870 608 2608

    By car: From Ambleside, follow A593. At Skelwith Bridge, turn right onto B5343. Campsite is approx 6 miles (9.6km), on left just before Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel

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