Langdale skyline challenge

Langdale skyline challenge

Jackie writes: Having read Andy’s Sandstone Trail challenge, I feel the need to put pen to paper to share my recent day out!

For a number of years now I’ve contemplated attempting the Langdale Skyline round. Last month I finally completed it; it was such an excellent day out I feel it is worth sharing and laying down the challenge for anyone else who fancies an excellent high level day out on the Lakeland Fells.

The round was put to me a number of years ago now by 94 year Jack Emery who lives in Chapel Stile. Jack made it up and completed it in his late 70s. Early one clear summer morning he left his house by the back door, climbed up Silver Howe and did the high level traverse of the whole Langdale valley taking in Blea Rigg, Sergeant Man, Pavey Ark, Harrison Stickle, Loft Crag, Pike O Stickle, Rossett Pike, Esk Pike, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Pike O Blisco, Side Pike, Lingmoor down to the Chapel Stile and in through the front door to an awaiting beer and sustenance! That’s 30k and 8000′ climbing. Jack tells me he walked in in 9 hours.

A little bit more about Jack first. Born in the early 1900s, he was a mile sprinter in the days of Eric Lidell and Sydney Wooderson. In 1939 he held the English 2 mile and 3 miles records of 9:03:4 and 14:08:0 (see attached); records which are still very impressive today! I’m sure we would have heard the name if it wasn’t for the 2nd World War which put an end to Olympic and Commonweath games in 1940 and 1944, when he was running at his peak. Since then he has had an active live running, walking and climbing; he completed the Annapurna Circuit in his 80th year!

Having done all the mountain training for the 3 Peaks Yacht Race earlier this summer, I knew this was my best chance of completing and enjoying the round. The forecast for last Sunday was fine, warm and sunny (for a change) and we were up in the south lakes anyway. So Sunday saw me slogging up to Silver Howe in sweltering heat even at 9:30 in the morning. It was so hot I wondered whether it was a wise thing to attempt; however once on the ridge there was a slight breeze which made life a little easier and the streams I crossed were flowing with clean water for cooling (buffs are brilliant) and drinking, all essential. I took it easy on the ups (i.e. walked) and jogged the flats and downs. Once on Sergeant Man, its fairly high level and the tops are picked up fairly quickly. Its a long stretch down to Stake Pass and a flog up litle visited Rossett Pike. Down to Angle Tarn and then I took a short cut, going straight up to Ore Gap, from where I went out and back up Esk Pike. Then onto Bowfell where Bill met me with food and drink.

A luxury 10 minute break before the rocky path down to Three Tarns and onto the Crinkles. Avoided the Bad Step (did not fancy it alone when tiring) and then enjoyed a long grassish run down to Red Tarn. Short sharp up to Pike O Blisco. Took another breather helping a couple with a crag fast black labrador all of whom were panicking. Crossed the tarmac (first of the day) at Blea Tarn and on up Side Pike, through Fat Man’s Agony finally onto Lingmoor. Fortunately its a lovely grassy run off (if you take the miners’ track). Finally the drop off to the main valley to meet up with Bill sat waiting in the camp site. He was sitting in the van for shade as it was so hot! Back at 6 pm, so an 8 1/2 hours round. Drank tons of liquid (orange) and then tea before heading home via the Sun Inn in Windermere to celebrate a brilliant dayout!

So if any of you want a good day out in the Lakeland hills, either running, walking, or a mixture, I can throughly recommend this round on a fine sunny, but not too hot, day. If you need more details just ask and let me know so I can keep a list of completers!


Jack Emery’s records, alongside other fascinating detail: 1950-extract.pdf (177k).


  1. Andy

    It’s a grand day out. I did this in a clockwise direction (i.e. opposite way round) sometime back in the early 90s, starting at Elterwater Youth Hostel and finishing in the Britannia Inn where the beer tasted like nectar. There is a route description in Wilson and Gilbert’s book, suitably titled “The Big Walks”.

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