A nice half-day amble to wind down
I doubt if many people choose Rossett Pike as a goal in its own right. Plenty of people visit its summit of course but most, I suspect, are passing on their way to distant grander and higher destinations. After a week of ascents including a Cuillin summit and Ben Nevis on our recent Scottish trip and nearby Bowfell on the previous day, my friend the Teesdale Viking and I fancied a lazy low level walk. Even the affable big black dog was looking uncharacteristically subdued and footsore as we set off along Mickleden from the Old Dungeon Gill Hotel.We ambled along the easy walk-in through the valley on the level-ish undulating broad track with The Band looming to the right and Pike O' Stickle to the left. After a length bounded by walled pasture, the beck converges with the track and runs alongside. The dog perked up no end at the sound of water and was soon plunging in and out of the beck. At the point where the paths and gills split, there's a stone marker with labelled arrows pointing left to Esk Hause and right to Stake Pass. We took the Esk Hause fork.Despite its notoriety as an awful ascent, the path up beside Rossett Gill is in fact easy and pleasant. Initially, it follows a straight-ish course on a gently rising gradient before steepening to zig-zag up the old pony route towards Rossett Pass. This section has been extensively reconstructed and the stone pitching is good. True, as there's a fair amount of ascent to gain it can feel a bit of a plod but that is compensated for by the views as you gain height. The route is certainly no more of a trudge than, say, going up Mill Gill.We paused now and again to look across at Flat Crags, Cambridge Crag and the Great Slab trying to pick out our Bowfell route of the previous day. Further afield, the vista opened out. The sun shone and we enjoyed the pleasant ascent.
Topping Rossett Pass and emerging onto the grass we were presented with a fine, if unspectacular, prospect. Angle Tarn glistened greeny-blue in its cirque with Allen Crags a little way to the right and the Glaramara ridge further beyond. Cloud dapples hurried across the landscape and it was all most satisfying in a low key way.Rossett Pike is immediately to the left of the col and a few minutes up the grassy boulder-strewn slope found us at the little summit. This turned out to be a very nice spot to enjoy the view and to eat a picnic. The grassy slopes are littered with outcrops of attractive pale rock so there are plenty of sheltered crannies if the breeze gets up. We dawdled here for half-an-hour or more as we ate our early lunch.To the east-northeast, the broad grassy ridge drops gently towards the top of the Stake Pass. As we wandered that way we met a couple of walkers who pointed out a barely discernible path - more a sheep trod really - dropping past Black Crags towards Stake Gill. It cuts off a corner on the way back to Mickleden, joining the Stake Pass path a few hundred yards above the marker stone. With a bit of judicious peering ahead there are ways to avoid the path (which is not particularly pleasant going underfoot) and we were able to descend into Mickleden through the bracken. The stroll back along the valley was as pleasantly untaxing as the walk-in an hour or two earlier. Rossett Pike from Great Langdale is certainly not a full day (it's barely enough to make a half-day, in fact) but it proved a very relaxing way to wind down at the end of a busy week's touring.
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