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The Langdale Pikes from Blea Tarn

The Langdale Pikes from Blea Tarn

Great Langdale, and its sister valley Little Langdale,sit side by side amongst the high dramatic peaks of the central fells. At both ends the two valleys are interlinked by road passes. This tour tackles both passes to form a circular tour. The western pass beside Blea Tarn is the highest and steepest and is best tackled fom south to north to take advantage of the more forgiving gradients on the Llittle Langdale side. This unlocks the whole circuit allowing you to enjoy an ever-changing selection of sights and sounds. New cycle paths are due to open through 2013 so keep a look out for these and use them when available to avoid busy traffic. The outward and return legs between Ambleside and Elterwater follow Cycle Routes 6 and 37 so just follow the blue cycle direction signs and numbered waymarkers.

Route Information

Time/Effort 3 out of 5
Navigation 1 out of 5
Technicality 2 out of 5
OS map Landranger 97 Explorer OL6 & 8
Toilets Ambleside, Elterwater , Chapel Stile
Refreshments Cafes at Ambleside, Elterwater,Skelwith Bridge and Chapel Stile, Pubs at Ambleside, Chapel Stile, Elterwater,Langdale,Little Langdale, Shops at Ambleside and Chapel Stile.

Route Essentials

Cycle Route: Ambleside-Skelwith Bridge-Elterwater-Langdale-Chapel Stile-Elterwater-Skelwith Bridge-Ambleside

Duration: 2.5-4 hours

Miles: 18

Route Details

1. From the far end of Rydal Road car park take the cycle path west directly out of the car park (due to open Spring 2013) to cross the River Rothay and join the Under Loughrigg Road. Turn left and follow the A593 Coniston Road. Carefully go diagonally across through the gap in the wall opposite onto the cycle track, signed Bowness and Coniston. Continue SW, joining the cycle lane on the A593 through Clappersgate. In a little under 0.5km turn left over a stone footbridge, again following cycle signs for Bowness and Coniston.

2. Cross the bridge and then turn right, signed Coniston route 37, to pass the church. Follow the lane as it heads west alongside the river Brathay. The lane then swings south west and climbs to a junction at Skelwith Fold. Turn right, then after 200m turn right again and descend to the A593 at Skelwith Bridge.

3. Carefully turn left onto the A593 then after 100m turn right signed Coniston Route 37 and join the cycle path. Follow the 37 signs turning right to the foot/cycle bridge over the river Brathay. Cross the bridge then turn left on to the riverside cycle path. As you head along the path and emerge from the trees the peaks of Langdale come dramatically into view. Continue easily along the cycle path and follow it NW up the valley to Elterwater.

4. Turn left and follow the lane as it climbs gently over to Colwith. Turn right and follow the narrow lane up into Little Langdale. At the fork 600m after passing Little Langdale Tarn, turn right and follow the Blea Tarn road as it climbs in stages and skirts the flank of Side Pike to arrive at the top overlooking Langdale.

5. The descent is very steep down into Langdale and there are a number of sharp bends. Once down into Langdale the road eases and becomes wider, follow it east along the valley to Chapel Stile

6. Continue on the road past Chapel Stile for 800m until a turning on the right for Elterwater. Make the turn and head through the village to the car park. At the car park turn right to join the cycle path signed Ambleside Route 37 and then retrace your route back to Ambleside.

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