Seen from a distance, Pike of Blisco is perhaps the least distinctive of the Langdale Pikes. However, this is only in comparison to the truly magnificent rocky ramparts of the likes of Harrison Stickle, Pike of Stickle and Pavey Ark. But as a promontory to view the surrounding grandeur of the valley, Pike of Stickle is hard to beat and its summit can be attained via a good, breathtaking (in more ways than one) circuit from Little Langdale.
This is a tough, rough and rocky walk at points, with unclear paths and will require some navigational nous in bad weather. It is perfectly suitable for running as well, although the section from the road to the top of Pike of Blisco is truly lung-busting.
From the Three Shires Inn to Pike of Blisco
The first part of this walk involves heading west up the valley and partially up the Wrynose Pass road. There are various ways to do this but they all end with a section walking on the road from Fell Foot farm onwards. From the door of the Three Shires Inn the simplest way is to turn right and follow the road past the defibrillator phone box on the right and then stay on the tarmac. This will take you below the flank of Busk Pike on your right, overlooking Little Langdale Tarn on your left.
Take the left fork (staying on the bottom of the valley) where a road leads uphill towards Blea Tarn and over to Great Langdale. The valley bottom road will take you past Fell Foot Farm and the ancient site of the Ting Mound (a meeting place for Stone Age and then Viking settlers) and before it begins grinding uphill towards Wrynose Pass.
After a bridge a signpost points off to the right (north west) and the summit of Pike of Blisco one mile away. Despite being on the road, the route to this point is still pleasant and it can be amusing to observe the antics of passing motorists confounded by the narrow Lake District lanes. However, we won’t tell anyone if you choose to drive up the valley past Fell Foot farm and park on the roadside or even get a lift as far as the bridge.
The footpath after the bridge grinds steeply up the fellside. It is initially clear, but soon becomes indistinct in places. You may need to take a compass bearing in bad weather, but if you keep heading generally uphill you are on the right track. The way is boggy, rough and boulder-strewn and not for the faint-hearted.
After a lot of sweat and puffing you will eventually hit the rocky crest of Pike of Blisco. The fell has two little summits on rocky platforms, separated by a gully. Take the time to catch your breath, have a sandwich and feast your eyes on the sight of Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, Esk Pike and the rest of the fells ringing the head of Great Langdale.
Pike of Blisco back to the Three Shires Inn
From the top of Pike of Blisco a rocky path heads down (in a roughly easterly direction) towards Red Tarn. Follow this all the way down until you are level with the tarn and then turn left (southwards) to follow a good track which rolls and winds gently downhill back towards Wrynose Pass.
When you reach the road at the pass, it is simply a matter of turning left and walking back down the road towards Little Langdale. Again, it can be quite entertaining to watch some of the vehicular challenges drivers are subjected to coming up and down the pass.
After Fell Foot you can vary things a little by taking a footpath over a beck to follow a gravel track across a field. The track then rises gently up the hillside and then flattens out (passing a right fork signposted towards Tilberthwaite). It then drops down past Low Hall Garth and heads underneath heaps of slate slag. A gate on the left then opens onto a path across a field to Slater Bridge. From the bridge head slightly right uphill to pass through another little gate and drop down through a field and a little set of stone steps to a tarmac lane. From here just walk up the lane to the main road and the Three Shires Inn.