Crinkle Crags from Eskdale

Map for ascent of Crinkle Crags from EskdaleCrinkle 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.

Ascent: 2,700ft
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.

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Crystal Clear Pool in the River Esk Follow the track that runs towards Brotherilkeld Farm. Take the footpath that passes to the left of the farm, running alongside the Esk. Ignore the bridge over the river, and follow this path all the way to Lingcove Bridge, a couple of miles past the farm.
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We don't cross over this bridge. Instead turn right onto the path that climbs up alongside Lingcove Beck (with the beck to the left). This path is indistinct in places at first, but gets clearer as it climbs.
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Swinsty Gill, Crinkle CragsWe 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.

Adam-a-Cove, Crinkle Crags 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.

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Tarn on Summit of Crinkle CragsThis 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).

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Bow Fell from Crinkle Crags Eventually we leave this super ridge behind us and arrive at Three Tarns, in the dip between Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell. Four paths meet at this path, and we take the faintest of them. At the tarns turn left and head across the top of the pass, looking for the start of the path down into the valley below. The very start of the path is a little vague, but it soon becomes much clearer. Follow this clear path as it drops diagonally and to the left from the pass down into the valley. Follow this path as it runs parallel to Lingcove Beck.
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Eventually this path brings us back to the the path we left at step three. Turn right onto this path, follow it back to Lingcove Bridge, and from there back along the Esk to our starting point.


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