Scrambling – Jack’s Rake, Pavey Ark, Langdale Valley, Lake District, UK
An idea for a great day out in Langdale scrambling and walking on one of the classics.
(for information only, the author cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of information within, or for any result from following this information).

Jack’s Rake is a classic scramble up the side of Pavey Ark. It takes around 45 mins for the scramble, and around 4 hours for the walk in and off, for reasonably fit and experienced hill walkers and scramblers. Some inexperienced scramblers may find it a challenge. That said, it was of the best scrambling routes in the UK and a must do classic in the Lakes for keen scramblers.

Location and Logistics
Start and end from the ‘New Hotel’ marked as such on the 1:25 OS map covering the Langdales. Grid ref NY 294 064. (New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Langdale, Lake District, Cumbria).

Jack’s Rake is the scramble and the hill it is on is called Pavey Ark. This is located in the Great Langdale Valley, just past the villages of Elterwater and Chapel Stile. The nearest well known town is Ambleside. From the M6 coming from the South, follow Windermere, then Ambleside (Waterhead), then Skelwith Bridge and then Elterwater.

A great way to do it is to base yourself at a Lake District Holiday Cottage as there are many fantastic routes in this vicinity.

If you are driving to the start, head to the Langdale. Shortly after passing through Chapel Stile following Langdale signs, turn right when you see the sign for the Walker’s Bar at the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel (on the map shown as ‘New Hotel’) and immediately turn right into their field which is their overflow car park.
Look out for the New Dungeon Ghyll hotel sign and car park sign.
Park up in the field for the day as you will return to the same spot. Pay the £4 (as at 2011) car park fee at the Walker’s bar, which is 50m to your right as you walk out of the overflow car park. (You need to return to the car to put the proof of payment in your car).
Pay for parking at the Walker’s Bar 50m from the overflow (field) car park.

Route
From the Walker’s bar, imagine you have just walked out of the bar and turned right onto the minor road. Continue in that direction to the end of the minor road. Between the hotel main car park (not the one you are in) and a cottage, is a gate directly in front of you.

Go through the gate head to the top left corner of the field. Then, head through the gap in the wall head of you and follow the path up the true right bank (i.e left side as you look up from the bottom) of Stickle Ghyll. The path is clearly defined.

You should be close the Ghyll (stream) at all times until you reach the Tarn (Lake).
They have changed the path for erosion control and half way up you may want to switch sides as it is a bigger path on the true left bank (look for the new footbridge to cross a good way up).
At the top you will come to Stickle Tarn. Pavey Ark is the massive hill to your North West filling your view. Jack’s Rake is a wide crack and runs from bottom right to top left of the face of Pavey Ark as you are looking at it.
A small trodden path of grass is hard to see from there but runs around the Tarn on both sides. Turn left at the Dam wall and follow the grassy path around the Tarn keeping your right foot wet.
Looking back at the Dam you can see where you first came up and met the Dam. This view is after you have walked round the Lake to the bottom of Pavey Ark and started to climb the stone chute.
When you are directly opposite where you started, looking across back at the dam, you will be at a stone shoot running up Pavey Ark. It is located to the right side of the hill running up. Walk up the stone chute about 75m and look left.

You will see a small tree and the obvious crack of Jack’s Rake climbing up from your location up the side of Pavey Ark from East to West.

The start is obvious and the scramble continues inside the crack. In places it is wet and slippery. An alternative in places is to climb out of the crack onto the exposed side of the V of the crack and climb up that. It is your call, it is less slippery but more exposed. If you stay in the crack, sometimes you can be forced out if you have a large rucksack. The holds are obvious and numerous, but as usual some are loose even though they look large and solid.
Keep scrambling up and in places it breaks for short spells into an edge path, then back up into a crack. The finish is an obvious slab at an incline but leading directly up instead of across the face. The slab has fewer holds but is an easier angle. It ends the scramble and you come out at the top at the Cairn symbol on the OS map. The scramble takes about 45 minutes.

To finish the day, a walk along the obvious path to Harrison stickle then Pike o’Stickle means you have completed the classic Langdale Pikes!

The path down Loft Crag is obvious and easy going, and ends up at the bottom of the Ghyll where you started for a well earned pint in the Walker’s bar. However, people can go wrong and end up on some serious stone chutes, so careful navigation is needed to make sure you are on the right path. But when on it, it is relatively easy and obvious.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!
If you are not an experienced Hillwalker or Scrambler, for information about hill walking please refer to the BMC and Mountain Rescue of England and Wales websites before heading out.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Hitchen
I've enjoyed Hillwalking and climbing around the world but especially love the Peak District and Lake Districts of England. I qualified as a Mountain Leader and have spent 22 years in Mountain Rescue, as well as assessing young people on Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. My favourite place is my cottage in Elterwater. Jonty's Cottage is a Lake District holiday cottage for rent to enjoy holidays walking, climbing, relaxing in the Lake District, nestling in the beautiful Langdale valley.