Where is this walk?

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell

July 3, 2019

The circuit of Crinkle Crags and Bowfell is one of the Lake District classics. The walking on the ridge is definitely rough but the views are wonderful and Langdale makes a good base.

The Walk

Walkers head for Langdale for its richly deserved reputation as the centre of tough fell walking. Approaching the fells certainly confirms the reputation. The valley has only a few farms, two hotels and a campsite with the valley floor ringed by a spectacular set of steep sided mountains. The “Band” splits the head of the valley creating the most straightforward ascent in to the heart of the Langdale mountains. I like this route, even though it is hard work, with the changing views offering every opportunity to stop and stare. There is also straightforward access to the impressive Climbers Traverse under Bowfell and offers an aesthetically satisfying direct route.

The Climbers Travers path took me under the Great Slab of Bowfell. For geologists it is a masterpiece, for non geologists imposing but exciting. Try not to imagine the consequences of a fall.

Crinkle Crags has always been one of my favourite fells in the Lake District. It is a two mile highway of rocky outcrops on a wide ridge. It may be difficult to follow in the mist but great fun in all conditions. I always enjoy scrambling as much as possible on a walk, this offers every opportunity. I have visited the Crinkles in the snow, high winds and most recently in glorious sunshine and enjoyed them all. I have suggested carrying on to the rocky peak of Pike O’ Blisco on this walk. It seems a shame to leave it out and it is ‘almost’ on the return journey. The climb does look daunting to the tired body but it does offer fabulous views back over Crinkle Crags and Bowfell and across the valley to the Langdale Pikes.


Take time and explore the Crinkles. There are some perfect little places to stop and admire the wonderful views.

Crinkle Crags and Bowfell is one of my favourite 25 walks in the Lake District.

Navigation Tips Crinkle Crags and Bowfell

The ridge is rough and in places it is easy to leave the path whether deliberately or less so. Off the final Crinkle Crag it is tempting to head along the Langdale side. This is a proper scramble.

  • Sadie and Michele says:

    We didn’t do this exact walk as we omitted Bow Fell. We did however do all of Crinkle Crags including an unexpected scramble down which even Mist could negotiate. Weather was overcast and with gusty winds but the views were good as always making the effort worth while. A thoroughly enjoyable walk in dry conditions with great views and spectacular scenery.

  • Mountain Mike Wilson says:

    Hi todays target is Bowfell via Crinkle Crags,today its me Gav,Tony C,Steve Fear and Skiddaw Steve.Weather is atrocious but we set out from The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel with a strong step.As we make our way past Stool End Farm the visibility drops to around 100ft we are alone.The wind is blowing down from Mickle Door and its hard moving forward as the stones on the path are soaked,a good few trips on my part and I’m a few hundred yards behind not a problem at this time.After a hard trek we are at the top of the path below the rear of Pike Of Blisco,visibility 50 yards wind speed around 40 mph.This is not what we were promised lots of laughs.A break is taken and we set off for Great Knott,we reach the top of Crinkle One and press on,next one is Crinkle Two and the bad step,we arrive at the foot of B/S and as the wind is now around 50 mph a decision is made to take the left path,this is treacherous ground as the wind is whipping us against the rocks big drop to the left.We reach the top after a quick pit stop and within 400 metres it was decided that we had come off the path.We make our way back upto Crinkle Two visibility now at 30 yards.We make our way back down the original left path this in these conditions is no mean feat,after the lead group go off the path again I suggest that we retreat as the light is now fading although it was only 1.30pm.As we drop down we meet up with three guys going over The Crags we tell them to take care at this we head back down the correct path,the path down is as said previously dangerous and care must be taken.We all had a good few slips but no serious injuries,some gulleys need cutting across this path as it is just a stream really and all the stones are highly polished it makes like walking on ice.We all make it back to the cars in one piece egos bruised as well as a few bones,we will be back another day to finish what we started.

  • mountain mike says:

    Hi everyone its Mountain Mike and todays target is Bowfell in the Langdale Pikes,weather conditions not as forecast windy and rain starting,I leave The Old Dungeon Gyhll National Trust car park and head for Stool End Farm.When I arrive there I find there is an Orienteering Competion going on in the area,there are hundreds of cars,vans and caravans parked in the farm grounds.After leaving Stool End Farm I’m off up The Band my route to Bowfell,the rain has started so I buckle up.On reflection I find this route a nice trek although hard work,it does seem to go on forever but it gets you to where you want to go,as I near the top I see loads of competitors seemingly lost,after a few directions given I send them on their way.The rain is now getting hard but its not cold,visibility is worsening and I carry on towards my target,I meet with more lost souls and give more assistance again I’m on my way.Im now at the base of Bowfell heading up towards The Three Tarns,I turn of for Bowfell and meet up with some guys who are safety guides for the OMM Meeting,they suggest not to go any further as the wind is around 40mph on the top.I press on and thank them for their advice.Its a steeper track than on The Band and again I’m meeting more competitors who trudge past me with a quick hi,I reach the top and the wind is horrendous no time to stop I need to get off here fast I have a quick look at the Great Slab and I’m back down to where I came lots of people around a quick chat and I’m back on The Band heading down,a guy goes past me on the grass and slips ten foot down the path he gets up nice soft landing I ask where he is going he tells me Bowfell I tell him he needs to go back up and take the right track lol another soul saved.Im on my way and immediately trip on the steep path head first into a hard gravel path lol I’m ok its all on the Go PRO,the stones are so wet they are like ice,but I can see Stool End Farm now I take my time and before long I’m back at The Old Dungeon Gyhll Car Park and all this in four and a half hours whooppee another Wainwright bagged bring it on next time its Crinkle Crags.Unfortunately not many photographs as the visibility was terrible.

  • dan says:

    Hi on your “map” you have labelled pike o blisco as “pike o stickle”

  • Claire says:

    We did this walk today – Good Friday 2013. Superb alpine conditions – a good deal of thick snow beneath moody sunny / cloudy skies.
    It’s very slow going so took us 8 hours ( but 3 food stops and a million photos).
    With the cold wind very strong in places, I’d say it would be tough but even if you just got up to Red Tarn or onto the first Crinkle it would be awesome. Some brilliant snowfields where you sink to your knees in the stuff. Very cold- our bivvy shelter for two was amust as it’s an Easteyn facing ridge so in theeye of those cold winds.
    Another option just to go straight up the Band to Bow Fell – a bit easier going, safer and still masses of snow.

  • Michelle says:

    We are thinking about going up bowfell over Easter with 2 children, 8 and 5. The hardest they have done so far is the pike of blisco a few weeks back in snowy conditions. Is bowfell suitable for them?

    • Jonathan says:

      Very much depends on the weather and how well the children walk. I would walk up the Band to the col between the Crinkles and Bowfell (not taking the Climbers traverse)and then decide. It is easy to just do Bowfell and retreat back down the band or, my preference, would be to turn left and just do the Crinkles, great fun for the kids!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *