The valley of Mickleden is a wonderfully accessible slice of wilderness. It is reached by a level, if stoney track, that leads 3km to the bottom of two of the ancient mountain passes at Rossett Gill & Stake Pass. Some of my earliest childhood memories are from being coaxed up here in the 1960′s with the promise of Kendal Mintcake if I kept walking! The name comes from the old Norse for great (mickle) added to the old english for valley (den). If the sun is shining you might be able to spot rock climbers on the great cliff of Gimmer Crag on your right. By following the track you come to the river, on a warm afternoon there are fantastic little pools for swimming and paddling. If you want to escape the hustle & bustle for a quiet picnic, make your way across the river and into the lumps and bumps of the drumlins on the far side.
From Ambleside follow A593 towards Skelwith Bridge. Follow the B5343 to Great Langdale, follow the signs for the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, which is located at the head of Great Langdale valley. Once at the the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, follow the track behind the Hotel and go through the kissing gate onto a gravel track. You are now officially in Mickleden! Continue along the track for 2km with fantastic views across the valley until you eventually come to the end of the enclosed land. Keep following the track West towards the ancient passes of Rossett Gill & Stake Pass until eventually you will have the river on your left.
National Trust car parks (free to members) can be found at The Old Dungeon Ghyll and Stickle Ghyll 1 mile down the road. Refreshments and toilets are available at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and Sticklebarn Pub. If the weather is unusually clement, I find a towel invaluable after a bracing dip in the mint green pools of Mickleden Beck. I suggest wearing walking boots or sturdy shoes as well as suitable clothing. Nearest shops and petrol station are at Ambleside, where there is also a range of cafes and pubs.
Lead Ranger for Great Langdale and the Lowther Commons.
I've worked in the Lakes for over 30 years now, with the last 28 for the National Trust! Originally I was involved with estate work and footpath maintenance. This lead on to a real interest in Public Access and the realisation that this landscape is so important to so many people around the world.
When not at work my interests are archaeology, geology, walking , mountain biking and now a (slightly nervous) novice sea kayaker!