Crinkle Crags has one of the best summits in the Lake District, a series of rocky outcroppings linked by a delightful ridge. This walk had the double advantage of taking us to this ridge on quiet paths (off the paths completely at one point), so there is a clear contrast between the busy summit area and the quiet upper reaches of Eskdale.
This walk is best done on clear days, as part of the directions require one to be able to see the summit ridge from a distance.
Length: 9 miles
Map: OS SW
Last Walked: April 2011
We start from the foot of Hardknott Path. I managed to park next to the phone box next to the track to Brotherilkeld Farm, but there is also a small car park a little further up the road and quite a bit of roadside parking near by.
We follow this path as Lingcove Beck climbs up and curves around to the right. Eventually the beck turns off to the left and the ground levels out. The main valley heads off to the left towards Bow Fell. A second valley runs off to the right, heading toward the pass into Moasdale. Crinkle Crags in now in front of us. Most of the western face of the fell is craggy, but there is a grassy gap in the crags, just to the right of Swinsty Gill. The gill is easily identified - two streams have cut grooves into the slope of Crinkle Crag here - Swinsty Gill is the right-hand stream, with a grassy slope to the right. Head for this slope, and make your way up it - at this point we leave the path until we join the summit path.
This grassy slope, which looks much steeper from the base than it really is, eventually brings us to the southern edge of Adam-a-Cover. The main summit of Crinkle Crags is now visible, seen diagonally across the cove. Head across the cover, heading to the dip just to the right of the summit crags.
This brings us onto the main path along the summit of Crinkle Crags. There are two routes on from here. The direct route takes us up the 'bad step' - a nasty little climb in a blocked gully. The second route is rather easier - follow the path that runs left around the crags, then swings right to reach the main summit of Crinkle Crags, bypassing the bad step.
From here follow the summit path as it runs north along the crinkles, repeatedly dropping and climbing as it goes (many of the crinkles are just off the main path, but do take the time to visit them).