~The Crags of Langstrath~
3rd June 2011
Of which there are many, especially on the east side of Langstrath Beck. The subjects of this walk, however, are the two crags which Wainwright featured in the chapters of this area: Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag, with a particular emphasis on the only ascent of Sergeant's Crag described in the Central Fells book.
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Chapel House Farm Campsite, Stonethwaite
Familiar territory. I've come to like this little campsite on the road between Stonethwaite and Seatoller. The facilities are limited, but the price is pro rata and cars aren't allowed on the grass. Wonderful location and could do with some sheep or a mower to trim the grass.
Eagle Crag dominates the view from Stonethwaite and most climbers of the two crags will start with the ascent of Eagle Crag and then make the short journey to Sergeant's Crag. Today I'm doing things the other way round, but it involves quite a long walk alongside Langstrath Beck.
Certainly a fine weather day, I left the tent at 16:30 and chose the path on the east side of the beck, as oppose to the track on the west side which is more popular. All along the path there are fallen boulders and I'm looking for the big one, Blea or Gash Rock.
Large boulder on a little rise in the path, one side is fractured. The next feature of note in Blackmoss Pot. Deep plunge pools make it a popular spot for those wishing to take a dip in pure Lakeland mountain water.
Some were wearing wetsuits, that's cheating isn't it? More walk views...
Wainwright tells the walker to proceed for a mile beyond Blackmoss Pot and then turn up left onto the grassy slopes. Aim for Brown Crag, there is no path. That's what I did and soon enough the rocky top of Sergeant's Crag came into view.
To Sergeant's Crag
Sergeant's Crag Summit
The near neighbour, Eagle Crag. Follow the wall, don't cross it. This is a very simple second summit and I've climbed Eagle Crag the hard way on an earlier date, so I'm allowed this easy one! How many others have climbed Sergeant's Crag the only way described by AW?
Eagle Crag Summit
From the slopes of Eagle Crag. Eagle Crag has a fine summit area, but not much of a summit cairn. Follow Wainwright's warnings about descent routes off Eagle Crag. Use A if you know what you are doing and B if unsure or in bad weather. A and B are not marked on the ground. Take care!
Descending off Eagle Crag
Interestingly, Wainwright lists Eagle Crag as having one of the six best summits in the district. Who am I to argue?
That's the hard work done on the way down and once over the wall it's mainly grass back down to the valley floor.
The Crags of Langstrath
Eagle (left) and Sergeant's (right) show up well in the evening sunlight.
Taken from the bridge. I followed the path back alongside the north side of the beck and then crossed back over near Stonethwaite and made my way along the lane and back to Chapel House Farm Campsite.
Walkers: Just me.
Time taken: 4hrs 45 mins over a distance of about 8 miles.
Route: Chapel House Farm, Stonethwaite, Langstrath Beck to Stake Beck, pathless route up above Brown Crag to Sergeant's Crag, Eagle Crag, Stonethwaite Beck, Stonethwaite and back to the campsite.
Weather and conditions: Sunny and warm.
Greetings Count: I met a "mature" couple between the crags at about 19:30 and they were about to make their way back to the car on Dunmail Raise! That's all, I'm not counting the tourists at Blackmoss Pot.
Richard's Refreshment Review: A tin of Beans and Sausages at the tent.
Thanks to everyone who has donated to the BHF fund in respect of my "last" Wainwright; the logo and link will continue to appear on the webpages until the sponsored walk has been done. There's still time for others to chip in, it's a good cause!
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©