A Virtual Walk through the Langdale Valley

by Beth Pipe

When you can’t actually get to a walk, the next best thing is enjoying it virtually, so join me as I take a wander along the popular and infinitely stunning Langdale Valley. This is a walk we did early autumn 2019.

20191020_124720.jpgWe park up in the car park next to Stickle Barn. I’ve always loved the crunch of gravel under my boots and twist my foot as I walk to the Pay and Display machine, just to make it crunch a bit louder. I should have probably grown out of that habit when I was 10, but it still makes me smile.

The car park is about half full, it’s mid week and term time so things are pretty quiet. We’ve been up here in midsummer when the place is heaving with families, laughing, shouting and enjoying the outdoors, and I never tire of seeing kids enjoying the outdoors.

The first nip of autumn is in the air; it’s not properly cold, but the sort of weather where you’ll soon feel it if you stand still for too long. I check the flask of hot tea is safely stashed in my rucksack.

20191020_125610.jpgAfter the usual ‘will I need my waterproofs’ discussion, we head off (without waterproofs – the forecast is fine and we’re following the route along the bottom of the valley), with me still giving the gravel an extra scrunch as we head for the road. Steve (my husband) flashes his best ‘disapproving parent’ look, then smiles as I bob out my tongue at him.

The large gate creaks as it swings open. The post is worn smooth by the touch of the many hikers who pass this way every year. I pause, squinting into the sunshine as Steve closes the gate behind us. There’s just a light breeze and the surrounding fells look magnificent. I love fell top walks, but there’s also something rather wonderful about walking along the valley floor – it’s odd, but I feel somehow safe and protected by the hills wrapped around me.


20191020_130259.jpgThe path is broad and easy to follow. We cross the beck, peering down into the water to try and spot fish, before continuing on to Side House. I listen to the hollow sound of my footsteps as I cross the wooden bridge, then enjoy the crunching gravel again as the path swings around and off up the hill.

20191020_132418.jpgThose fabulous folks from Fix the Fells have laid stones to protect the hillside and we laugh and joke as we puff our way up the short rise. Why is it that a short uphill stretch like this sometimes feels tougher than Scafell Pike? Stopping to catch my breath, I turn to admire the Langdale Pikes – surely one of the most iconic views in the entire Lake District?

20191020_132541.jpgThe bracken has given the surrounding hillsides a deep copper hue, which contrasts beautifully with the grey rocks above and lush green fields below, and the many varieties of tree are all at different stages of their descent into autumn colours, creating a patchwork quilt of colours I’d rather like on my bed.


20191020_150923.jpgAt the far end of the walk we find an abandoned farm trailer, which makes the perfect lunch stop.  As we munch our sarnies we chat to other passing hikers and watch the young herdies racing around the field opposite. There are restaurants that charge hundreds of pounds for a posh dinner but nothing can beat a sarnie in the sunshine with a flask of hot tea; maybe they should include picnic making on the next series of Masterchef?

20191020_153942 (1).jpgWalking back along the valley, the view is spectacular – Langdale Pikes, Bow Fell, The Band, Crinkle Crags, Pike O’Blisco, Side Pike. I spot a few sloes in the hedgerow, but not enough to start collecting. We don’t chat much on the way back, instead we are both lost in thought and listening to the birds and the splashing beck. I love the feel of the warm sunshine on my face and the cold air nipping at my nose.

20191020_173937 (1).jpgBack at the car we shrug off our backpacks. I glance across to the Stickle Barn. “Fancy a pint?” asks Steve. Well, it would be rude not to.

20191020_160505 (1).jpgWhen she's not hiking and writing about the Lake District, Beth Pipe delivers coporate training courses. In response to Covid-19 she has moved all of her courses online and, like her writing, they are fun and informative. Prices start at just £10 for a 30 minute session and there are plenty of topics to choose from. Click here to learn more.

Originally published 09/04/20

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