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Total Ascent






About the Hike

Conquering Bowfell: A Majestic Hiking Adventure in the Lake District

Nestled in the northwest corner of England, The Lake District is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Its stunning landscapes, characterized by rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes, and rugged mountains, attract hikers from all over the world. With over 3,000 kilometres of trails, the region offers a wide range of hiking experiences suitable for all skill levels. Bowfell, standing at an impressive 902 meters (2,959 feet), is one of the most iconic peaks in The Lake District. Its distinctive pyramid-shaped summit and breathtaking panoramic views make it a must-do hike for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking for a challenge, Bowfell offers an unforgettable experience. While Bowfell is a rewarding hike, it is essential to note that it is a moderately complex trail, requiring a certain level of fitness and preparation. The hike can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on your pace and the route you choose. It is essential to be well-prepared before embarking on this adventure.

If you haven't already used the Ordnance Survey App, you can download it here. This app allows you to download the GPX route from above straight into it. I use this app to plan all my hikes, and as its OS, it mirrors the paper map you should always use in conjunction with it.

Where To Park? The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel - National Trust car park

Terrain: A mixture of paths and rocky surfaces - Not the easiest underfoot at times

Map: OL6 - Map of The Lake District: South-Western Area

What 3 Words: became.regrowth.crank

Nearest Cafe/ Amenities: The Old Dungeon Ghyll, The New Dungeon Ghyll, and The Stickle Barn are all great food options. The Stickle Barn has toilet facilities; you could park here, but it would add a bit of mileage to the walk (nearly 2 miles). 

Your quest begins at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, a renowned establishment nestled in the heart of Great Langdale. After securing your vehicle in the adjacent car park, cross the bridge spanning the melodic Great Langdale Beck and embark on the well-trodden track leading to Stool End Farm. This initial stretch sets the stage for the adventure that lies ahead, offering tantalizing glimpses of the surrounding peaks and whetting your appetite for the forthcoming challenge.

As you approach Stool End, the path diverges, and you'll veer right, commencing your ascent along The Band – a broad, ascending ridge that serves as the gateway to Bowfell's summit. The gradient is steady and manageable, allowing you to savour the ever-changing vistas that unfold with each step. The Langdale Pikes, a jagged silhouette etched against the horizon, will command your attention, their imposing presence a constant reminder of the grandeur that surrounds you.

Leaving the well-trodden path behind, you'll embark on the exhilarating Climbers' Traverse, a route that skirts the northern edge of The Band. Here, the terrain becomes more rugged, the path narrowing and winding amidst a boulder-strewn landscape. Pause to admire the crown-like skyline of Crinkle Crags and the alluring Pike of Blisco, both vying for a place on your future hiking itinerary.

As you navigate this challenging section, keep an ear attuned to the melodious song of the ring ouzel, a blackbird of the mountains adorned with a distinctive white collar. Its pure notes echoing through the fells will imbue your journey with a sense of serenity and wonder.

Prepare to be awestruck as you approach one of the Lake District's geological marvels – the Great Slab. This vast, perfectly flat expanse of rock, tilted at a diagonal angle, is a true landmark amidst the rugged terrain. If conditions permit, venture onto this immense natural canvas, allowing your silhouette to be dwarfed by its grandeur, creating a memorable photograph that will forever capture the essence of your adventure.

Leaving the Great Slab behind, you'll continue your ascent, negotiating the boulder-strewn path that winds its way towards Bowfell's summit crown. Concentration is key as you navigate the subtle trail through the rocks, but the reward that awaits is well worth the effort. Upon reaching the summit at 902 meters (2,960 feet), you'll be greeted by panoramic vistas that will leave you breathless.

From Bowfell's lofty perch, the Lake District unfurls its splendour in all directions. To the west, the wild expanse of Eskdale beckons the adventurous, while the epic approach through Borrowdale's Langstrath Valley tantalizes with its grandeur. Eastward, the Langdale Valley stretches out before you, its verdant slopes punctuated by the distinctive silhouettes of the Langdale Pikes and Crinkle Crags.

Reluctantly tearing your gaze away from the awe-inspiring vistas, you'll commence your descent, traversing the high rocky terrain towards Ore Gap. Here, the path narrows, and the iron-rich soil underfoot yields souvenirs in the form of rust-hued ore fragments – tangible mementoes of your conquest.

Continuing northward, the path descends towards Angle Tarn, a deep, forbidding body of water nestled against the towering cliffs of Bow Fell's northern face. In winter, the tarn remains frozen for extended periods, offering a serene respite for weary hikers. This secluded spot, shielded from the elements, provides the perfect setting for a well-deserved lunch break, allowing you to savour the accomplishment of your ascent.

Refreshed and rejuvenated, you'll embark on the next leg of your journey, following the path that veers southwest, gradually descending towards Rossett Pike. As you navigate the zigzagging trail, trekking poles will prove invaluable, lending stability and support on the rocky terrain. Eventually, the path converges with Rossett Gill, and the gradient eases, signalling your imminent return to the valley floor.

Upon reaching the head of the Great Langdale Valley, you'll cross the footbridge and join the renowned Cumbria Way, a long-distance trail that will guide you back to your starting point. As you retrace your steps along this final 3-kilometre stretch, the sense of accomplishment will swell within you, a testament to your perseverance and the unforgettable experience of conquering the noble Bowfell.

Conclusion: A Lasting Impression

As you reflect on your hike bowfell adventure, the memories etched in your mind will undoubtedly linger. Bowfell, with its commanding presence and awe-inspiring vistas, has solidified its place as a true jewel in the Lake District's crown. This remarkable peak, often overshadowed by its more illustrious neighbours, has proven itself a worthy adversary, demanding respect and rewarding those who embrace its challenge with an unforgettable odyssey through the heart of Cumbria's majestic fells.

GPX: If you haven't already used the Ordnance Survey App, you can download it here. This app allows you to download the GPX route from above straight into it. I use this app to plan all my hikes, and as its OS, it mirrors the paper map you should always use in conjunction with it.

Disclaimer: At the time of this walk, all the rights of way were open, and the terrain was easy to navigate; I followed all the rights of way as per the OS maps, but things can change. Please be aware that the weather/farmers, etc., can change things, and therefore, the route may not be as possible as it was for me. Please make your checks beforehand, including the weather. Please get in touch with me if any of the information that I have included has now changed.

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