Trip to Dungeon Ghyll and hike to Stickle Tarn en route to the Langdale Pikes
Langdale Travel Blog› entry 5 of 18 › view all entries
Mark this day as one to remember. Seriously! Also mark it as a day of unpreparedness.
Got up early - it was dark and wet and I was thinking "ok the dream's over, 3 days of no rain in England in October is as good as it'll get", and we did know it would rain the previous night anyway. I spoke to the people @ YHA about things we can do, and they all suggested Langdale Pikes. The very helpful YHA staff helped me with a route map as well. Breakfast at the YHA is dull - lots of people so get in the queue early - kind of reminded me of the long queues and long waits I've had at the Holland Park YHA before. It was typical fare - cereal, tasteless yogurt, tasteless cheese and baked beans.
We finished b'fast and headed to Langdale. It being a weekend, the bus frequency wasn't all that but we caught the bus and the ride was sensational. Sure it was raining but it was reminiscent of our train ride to the Lake District. The whole place was so green, and so wild that it's untouched. Everything that passed by my eyes was like a colourful collage - hills, lots of red, rather dark orange, lots of sheep, lots of green, the same thing keeps repeating as a theme through all the roads. It was very cold, and as the bus was headed towards Langdale, I could see more and more professional hikers getting on board. Prashanth and I looked at each other with a "why haven't we prepared much better".
We reached the final stop - Langdale and well... you'd hardly call it a bus stop. The little stone fenced road ends, and the bus takes a U-turn and drops you off. Absolutely no bus stop or anything! The "bus stop" was right across a hotel so we walked there hoping to get a map to the area. As Prashanth was busy talking to the hotel reception, I met a Russian couple who were going to hike to Langdale Pikes, and got a look @ the map. It looked daring and I was up for the challenge. Prashanth returned from the reception with our copy of the map, and we headed towards the hike.
As the first 2 photos reveal, the entry into hiking territory was beautiful.
If we were to play a "favourite moment of each day", then the one moment that strikes out (even if not my favourite) was when we were entering a compound, and as we started walking up, we saw tons of sheep waiting. By tons, I mean tons. Tons of sheep, just standing there. This was the 1st time I was interacting with sheep @ such close level, the last being in NZ back in '05, and it was a bit eerie in a way. I couldn't help but think of the scene in "The Ring 2", when Naomi Watts is driving through the jungle and suddenly she slames the brakes and she's surrounded by deer, lots of deer, just standing and staring at her.
The hike by itself was magnificent, totally magnificent. Rain kept swooshing in and out, the wind got windier and the sky got darker. And then you'd have those few moments of sunshine, few moments of brightness, and again back to the so-called gloom. But I kept thinking, rain is so essential to make England look so beautiful. The only down part about this trip is that I wished I'd worn overpants as the hikes are very messy, and it is essential to get waterproof overpants. My trousers got all muddy, and at times the hike was a bit steep.
But the crownining moment was when we finished 1 stage and reached the to the top of Stickle Tarn. This is totally breathtaking - it's a still lake, as in STILL, on top of a hill. I'd love to rabbit on and on about this, but I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. The idea unfortunately was to continue on to reach Langdale Pikes, but it was already around 2pm and we weren't so sure we'd make it back in time for the final bus back to Ambleside (530pm). So we decided to just walk around, take some pictures and walk back down. The journey back down wasn't that momentous, a lot easier but I must say though that hiking ttrails in the UK are so much harder (in a good nature-ish kind of way) over the ones in the US.
We reached back around 4pm, and had lunch at a nearby pub. It had stopped raining so we ate outside. We then walked back to the "Old Hotel" (where the bus comes and picks us up) and the walk back was quite picturesque. Another thing I noticed here (I don't know if it's an England thing or a Lake District thing) is the various colour of sheep! I've so far seen tons of white sheep in England, a sight that I love. And apparently is a very popular thing with others as well, as its pictures are used in tourist books as well. But I noticed in the Lake District at least, you had black and red coloured sheep. I've never red coloured sheep (unless they're a different animal).
We caught the bus and got back to Ambleside. And we had decided that the first thing we should do when we get back is to buy a new pair of overpants.
The only annoyance that night was a bunch of American school kids that got into their swim/beach gear and got into Ambleside Lake by the hostel, yelling and screaming and getting pictures taken. It was not only bad mannered to wake others up at that time of the night, but it just came across as very very ill-bred.