Pavey Ark / Thunacar Knott / Loft Crag

Distance (Miles): Ascent (Metres): Time (Hours):
4.28 664 4
Strenuosity: Technicality (x/10): Enjoyability (x/10):
Moderate 9 9

Finally plucked up the courage to tackle Jack’s Rake, the grade one scramble in the beautiful Langdale Pikes. I’ve read the horror stories, some of which are obviously true as there have been a number of fatalities. I wanted to make up my own mind, so I set off early with the hope of missing the crowds and the possibility of coming back down of I found it too difficult. I should say at this point that coming back down from anywhere but the first few yards is going to be much more difficult than going up. My advice would be to size up the initial gully from the bottom, and if it looks too hard turn to your right and take Easy Gully to the summit!

The walk up to Stickle Tarn from the car park next to Sticklebarn is probably one of the best paths in Lakeland. After that it’s quick walk around the left side of the tarn and your at the JWS memorial. From there its a short walk to the start of Jack’s Rake and Easy Gully, which meet at their respective starts.

The first park of the Rake is an enclosed gully so you can’t fall off, but it is a bit of a squeeze in places. Apparently it’s possible to go around the outside, but that would be cheating, so I didn’t. After a while you emerge at a small Rowan tree and this is where it does get a little exposed.

From this point it’s a mix of gullies, short sections of exposed paths and a few exposed rocks to clamber over. I would say there are two or three sections that are difficult, where you need to commit and haul yourself up. There is perhaps only one section that I found a little tricky and also somewhat exposed, the other tricky bits are all in gullies and relatively safe.

Eventually you will near the top of the rake and see a large gully to your right. Do not take this! You need to continue on and you will get to what are known as The Slabs. Here you need to descend a few feet straight in front, rather than take what looks to be the correct route to the right. This false route requires some serious scrambling above grade one and should not be attempted by the average walker.

You will then get to the ‘real’ slabs which are an enjoyable scramble to the summit. The downloadable GPX available here has the exact point where you need to turn right at the top of the rake marked clearly, but don’t just rely on this, use your common sense.

After that the walk is straightforward, but the views of the Langdale Pikes, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell are magnificent.

Some sections of the rake were wet even though it has been dry for a week or more, so I would not attempt this is anything but great weather! A truly great walk which now ranks as one of my favourites 🙂

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