The ridge walk up Lingmell

Lingmell to Borrowdale

Overview

Most people who visit Lingmell are doing so as part of a bigger walk, often including Scafell Pike.   This walk, however, has Lingmell as its main fell.  The walk described is a linear 7 ¼ mile walk from Wasdale to Borrowdale, but there are a number of ways of making this a circular walk, some of which I describe below. There’s about 850m of ascent too.  Navigationally not too challenging for the climb of Lingmell itself, it becomes harder after that, and in poor visibility it could be easy to get lost.  So the latter part of this walk is for those that know where they are going or have good navigational skills and the hillwalking experience to go with it.

What this walk means to me

I first walked this route in July 2011 when I needed a linear walk to get me from Wasdale to Borrowdale as part of a round of the western fells.  I hit upon this as having bagged most of its neighbours, Lingmell was left out.  The day started well and I enjoyed great views back down into Wasdale and the summit of Lingmell made a good lunch stop.  Opting not to visit Scafell Pike, I descended the Corridor Route, going slightly astray and almost ending back in Wasdale when I dropped too low.  I fought my way back up to Sty Head and then in a race against time somehow made it to the bus stop in Seatoller for my bus to Keswick.  Apart from the brief trauma of the Corridor Route wrong turn, the views were stunning all day and these stayed in my mind much more than the half hour or so of problems.  I’ll do this walk again someday purely because I liked Lingmell itself.

The classic view of Wastwater with Lingmell on the right
The classic view of Wastwater with Lingmell on the right

The Route

From the campsite at the end of Wastwater (a) follow the path signed for Lingmell and Scafell Pike, crossing fields before crossing Lingmell Gill (b) to start the ascent.

The ridge walk up Lingmell
The ridge walk up Lingmell

Quite soon a path branches off to follow the ridge line (c) up to Lingmell, with the main path continuing alongside Lingmell Gill heading for Scafell Pike – this is the Hollow Stones/Brown Tongue route (d).

The Scafells in sight for much of the walk
The Scafells in sight for much of the walk

Cross a stile over a wall for the second half of the climb, making sure you look behind occasionally to take in the views back to Wastwater.  This is one of the most memorable parts of the walk.

Views back to Wastwater
Views back to Wastwater
The final part of the ascent of Lingmell
The final part of the ascent of Lingmell

The path climbs to the left of and round behind Goat Crags (e) before beginning to climb again to the summit (f).

Lingmell summit
Lingmell summit

Take a break here and enjoy views of Great Gable, Great End, Scafell Pike and Scafell in particular.  On a good day you may also be able to make out Skiddaw to the north and Helvellyn in the distance to the east, meaning all 4 of England’s 3000ft mountains can be seen from one place.

Now descend to the Lingmell Coll (g), on the path which obviously takes you towards Scafell Pike (h).  If you want you can detour to take in the Pike, returning to the Lingmell Col, or descending over Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Esk Hause to head for Seathwaite that way.

Scafell Pike from Lingmell
Scafell Pike from Lingmell
Scafell from Lingmell
Scafell from Lingmell

 

Great Gable from Lingmell
Great Gable from Lingmell

You can make it a circular walk too, by returning to Wasdale down the Hollow Stones path (d).

But the main walk swings NNE from the Lingmell Coll to join the Corridor Route down to Sty Head, across the flank of Great End (i).  Take care here, as amongst the rocks, it is possible to lose sight of the path (as I did) and descend under Stand Crag rather than over it.

Down the Corridor Route to Sty Head
Down the Corridor Route to Sty Head

The path brings you out at Sty Head (j) crossing the path between Great Gable (on your left) and Esk Hause (to the right).

From here you can choose to return to Wasdale  along Lingmell Beck (k), or visit Great Gable (l).

Pass Styhead tarn and follow the rocky path down below Seathwaite Fell (on your right) until you reach Stockley Bridge (m), where the path joins the Grains Gill route from Esk Hause, to continue down to Seathwaite Farm (n).  Then a road walk brings you to Seatoller (o).

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