Lower Dungeon Ghyll and Jack’s Rake

Route Summary:

In this Lake District adventure, an atmospheric scramble in Lower Dungeon Ghyll’s lower section is followed by an airy, exposed scramble up Jack’s Rake to the summit of Pavey Ark. A path alongside Stickle Ghyll is followed back down to finish.

Route Information

  • Start: B5343, Ambleside LA22 9JY, UK
  • Date:10-08-2017
  • GPX File: Download
  • Trig Pillars:N/A

Other POI: Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Cumbrian Way, Dungeon Ghyll, Dungeon Ghyll Force, Stickle Tarn, Jack's Rake, Pavey Ark, Stickle Ghyll, Great Langdale Beck

Route Description:

August last year saw me and the kids out on a little scrambling adventure in the Lake District. The idea was simple enough: Some grade 1 scrambling in Lower Dungeon Ghyll before cutting across to Stickle Tarn and ascending Pavey Ark via another classic grade 1 scramble, Jack’s Rake. We started at the car park in Langdale at the foot of Dungeon Ghyll, and proceeded up the Ghyll – sometimes directly in the Ghyll itself, and sometimes on the track that runs alongside it. The kids loved any opportunity to jump from rock to rock in the Ghyll, as I expected they would. All kids love rivers and rocks.

Dungeon Ghyll lower
Dungeon Ghyll lower
Dungeon Ghyll lower
Sam having a rest

The best part of the Ghyll, both in terms of excitement and scenery, was the impressive Dungeon Ghyll Force waterfall a little further up. The waterfall wasn’t tackled directly, but via a wall to the left of the Ghyll just before it takes a bend to the right. The climb was easy enough but it was an amazing location. I could have easily stayed here for quite some time, soaking up the atmosphere. Not long after the waterfall, we escaped the ghyll up the left-hand side, before crossing back over a little further up and heading roughly north-east towards Stickle Tarn.

Dungeon Ghyll Force
Dungeon Ghyll Force
Ascending the left hand wall of Dungeon Ghyll Force
Ascending the left hand wall
Dungeon Ghyll
Levelling out

We skirted around the tarn clockwise. The line of Jacks Rake was visible, and it always looks intimidating from a distance. Once on it however, it’s a lot more protected than you’d expect. The kids were eager to get on with some good scrambling and so up we went with the kids being supervised by both Carl and me although, in truth, they handled every obstacle just fine. We stopped halfway up to admire the views and the kids insisted they get a photo with the carcass of a sheep that met an untimely end at some point in the recent past.

Approaching Stickle Tarn
Approaching Stickle Tarn
The start of Jack's Rake
The start of Jack’s Rake
Jack's Rake scrambling
Scrambling
Jack's Rake scrambling
and more scrambling
Posing at the sheep carcass
Posing at the sheep carcass

The route becomes a little more exposed in the last section but nothing too difficult to handle and it wasn’t long before the kids were making the final push to the top with a scramble up some nicely angled grippy and slabby rock, This, of course, was my second time up Jack’s Rake this year as I also did it as part of my Langdale Pikes walk.

Jack's Rake scrambling
Sam scrambling
Jack's Rake scrambling
Luke with a tricky move
Jack's Rake scrambling
Climbing slabby rock
Jack's Rake scrambling
Almost there…

Once at the top, we had a rest and let the kids play about on the rocks for a while before starting the descent down the east ridge. This path is steep, and loose in places, however it’s well defined and not much a problem to get down this way. Once back down at the tarn, we started the journey back to Langdale and followed the course of Stickle Ghyll through some quite astoundingly beautiful landscape. Stickle Ghyll itself looks to be a fantastic (and wet) scramble route and is definitely one to have a go at some time in the future.

Pavey Ark summit
Pavey Ark summit
Pavey Ark summit
…and again
Crossing the ghyll
Crossing the ghyll
Descending by Stickle Ghyll
Descending by Stickle Ghyll
Stickle Ghyll
One for the future!

Another fantastic day out, and another mountain route for the kids to tick off. They’re not doing too badly for a couple of kids from the flatlands of Norfolk!

Route Map
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