Fellwalking: The Langdale Pikes

“Once seen, never forgotten. Other places may slip from the memory but the distinctive profile of the Langdale Pikes, once seen, leaves an indelible imprint on the mind.”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

This is another classic Lake District walk, the Pikes proving irresistible to huge numbers of walkers. Located in the same area as the previously described walk, Bowfell, the weather I experienced could not have been more different – a glorious summer’s day.

We parked by the side of the B 5343 near the Old Hotel – it was very busy as is usual on a fine weekend day. The walk commences on the Cumbria Way  as it passes the Old Hotel and then proceeds westwards into Mickleden. After a longish flat section, the track turns north uphill by the side of Stake Gill. The track gets steadily steeper before levelling out at Langdale Combe and then dropping down to Pile of Stones.

From here the track proceeds southwards across Martcrag moor eventually reaching Pile of Stickle, one of the five peaks in the Pikes. We then dropped down eastwards and then climbed Harrison Stickle before dropping back down again and then traversing Loft Crag and following the path to the south of Dungeon Ghyll downhill back to Langdale, curving off south-west from the public footpath just after Raven Crag to take the path that passes the Old Hotel and most importantly, its Hikers Bar, before arriving back at the start of the walk. 

My rating: A
Map: OL 6 – The English Lakes: South Western Area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The Wainwright Anniversary: The Southern Fells (50th Anniversary Edition): Book 4

Fellwalking: Bowfell

Summit of Bow Fell (I think...)

“…the majestic peak at the head of the valley, the dominant height on a lofty, encircling skyline, its rocky summit pyramid set on a plinth of grassy slopes. This is Bowfell, unassuming and rather withdrawn from public attention yet a commanding presence.”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

It rains a lot in the Lakes – something you have to get used to if you are to enjoy walking in the area. This was (another) one of those days with the rain not letting up for the whole walk, preventing any decent views (or photographs).

Parking in the parking area at the end of the B 5343, we walked towards Stool End and then took the steady climb up The Band, passing White Stones and eventually joining the ridge at Three Tarns to the south-east of Bowfell (Bow Fell on the OLS map). From here its a shortish but steep scramble to the summit.

After a rather miserable lunch break we dropped back to Three Tarns but this time took the path that drops by the side of Hell Gill and then into Oxendale before arriving back at Stool End.

Not the greatest day out due to the weather, but that’s how it goes…

My rating: B (probably weather affected)
Map: OL6 – The English Lakes: South Western Area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The Wainwright Anniversary: The Southern Fells (50th Anniversary Edition):(A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells): Book 4


I did this walk again in 2011 and had much better weather.

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Walk of the Month: Blowhard Circuit, Lake Eildon National Park

Lake Eildon from Blowhard Summit

This enjoyable circular walk takes in Blowhard Summit in the Lake Eildon National Park, providing superb 360 degree views, and finishes with a pleasant walk alongside Lake Eildon.

The trail starts at the Wallaby Bay carpark. Follow the dirt road back up to Merlo Lookout. After admiring the view across the lake from this point, cross the road to access the signposted foot track up to Blowhard Summit. This section is fairly short but steep in places.

The views from Blowhard Summit are excellent, including a fine prospect down Blowhard Spur to Lake Eildon and a good view of Mt Buller to the East.  From here, ignore the track down Blowhard Spur and instead continue north-east along an obvious old vehicular track. The track dips steeply into a saddle (take care on this section as the loose gravel makes it a bit ‘slippery’) and then climbs again to a high point and track junction.

Take the sign-posted Devass Gully Track which descends north-east along the spur by the side of Devass Gully before reaching a track t-junction. Turn right (east) here towards School point along a vehicular track. After School point is reached the trail becomes a footpath (Wallaby Bay Track) which follows the forested shore of Lake Eildon – or at least what was the shore – the extended drought means the waterline has receded dramatically. After crossing a footbridge at Lightwood Inlet the path becomes a little indistinct – follow the orange triangle trail markers – before again becoming clear and continuing for another 4km or so past Italian Bay and Cook Point back to Wallaby Bay carpark.

Walk date: Oct 17, 2008
Time/level: 1 day moderate (around 3 – 4 hours excluding breaks)
Maps: Parks Victoria Park notes, VICMAP Lake Eildon Outdoor Leisure Map (1:50,000)
My rating: B+

Access: Goulburn Valley Highway to Alexandra – this road can be accessed from the Hume Fwy, Melba Hwy or Maroondah Hwy. A turn-off to the park is reached a few kilometres after passing through Alexandra. Follow this road to a roundabout, turning left downhill towards the park entrance. At Fraser store continue straight on (ignoring the right hand turn) past the Fraser area campsites to reach Wallaby Bay carpark.

On foot in Kyoto, Japan


Kyoto was the ancient capital of Japan and is home to a large number of temples and shrines, several of which are World Heritage listed. These sites, combined with some well preserved areas and architecture make Kyoto an attractive city to visit; indeed tourism is a major part of the economy. For foreign visitors, the city’s proximity to Tokyo makes a short trip feasible and very worthwhile.

I found Kyoto to be, like Tokyo, an excellent place to explore on foot. The city tourist association produces a ‘Kyoto City Map’ which includes some recommended walks. I did three of them, described below, and can recommend them all. The three chosen take in all the major attractions of the city, including the Kiyomizudera Temple, the Golden and Silver pavilions and the Ryoan-ji stone garden.

I’ve scanned the relevant parts of the map for each walk – the walk routes are marked by a solid red line.

1. Kiyomizudera Temple and Gion, home of the Geishas

This walk takes in the very popular and World Heritage listed Kiyomizudera Temple as well as the district of Gion, traditional home of the Geishas and many other interesting and attractive temples. I found Kiyomizudera Temple lived up to its reputation – and it was very busy the day I was there (Saturday).

The walk could be started anywhere along the route, but the easiest access points are probably Keihan-Shijo station or walking/taxi to Kijomizudera Temple or Heian Jingu Shrine.

Kyoto Map #1

2. The Path of Philosophy

This walk takes in more temples including the excellent Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion). A large part of the route follows a path by one of the old canals called the “Path of Philosophy”. I found this section to be particularly atttractive.

The obvious points to start this walk are at either end – the southern end is easily walkable from the Heian Jingu shrine, the northern finish point of walk #1 and the northern end is served by a bus stop (Ginkakuji-michi).

Kyoto Map #2

3.The Ryoan-ji Stone Garden and the Golden Pavilion

This walk is based in the Kinkakuji/Uzumasa Area. The two major highlights are the Ryoan-ji Temple and its stone (dry) garden and the Golden Pavilion at Kinkakuji Temple (which is a replica, the original was burned down). I particularly like Japanese gardens, and both the Ryoan-ji and Kinkakuji Temples have fine examples that are worth exploring.

Access is via train to Uzumasa Koryuji station or cab. I took the train there and then hopped in a taxi at Kinkakuji Temple (there were plenty available) to return to my hotel.

Kyoto Map #3

Access to Kyoto: Probably the easiest way to get to Kyoto from Tokyo is via the Shinkansen (Bullet train), which takes between two and a half and three hours. If arriving from Tokyo airport on the JR train and continuing straight on to Kyoto, allow yourself plenty of time to change trains – it’s quite a walk from the airport express platforms to the Sanyo Shinkansen tracks that are used by the trains to Kyoto – it took me a bit over 20 mins to transfer and I was travelling fairly light.

Along the Eastlink Trail

Along the Eastlink TrailI’ve recently tried out part of the Eastlink Trail, a pedestrian/bike path that runs generally alongside the new Eastlink Motorway in Melbourne from Ringwood to Dandenong. It’s well worth a visit; I rode my bike, but it’s a wide and reasonably well-graded path and would be well suited to walking or running.

There are many access points to the trail, I started at Boronia Grove Reserve (Melway 48 K4) just next to the Eastern Freeway. The trail here is actually the Koonung Trail, it becomes the Eastlink Trail after it passes under Springvale Road. From here I rode down to Jells Park and back. The path is bitumen or concrete the whole way (with a couple of minor exceptions); most of the trail is newly built although following existing path alignments, but it also incorporates parts of the Dandenong Creek Trail which is in good condition as well.

Overall, a good experience. The trail has some pleasant bushland sections, particularly through the Mullum Mullum Creek area, where the road goes underground, and also the Dandenong Creek area leading into Jells Park. The sections alongside the road are not bad either and there’s some impressive engineering work to appreciate as well as some urban artwork pieces on which opinions will no doubt vary. One minor downside – there’s a few road crossings still required. The crossings of Whitehorse Road and Burwood Highway are a particular pain as both roads are very busy, and the setup of the crossings means you can’t get across in one traffic light cycle. Thankfully, these two crossings will be eventually eliminated by pedestrian bridges which are currently under construction, but a few other crossings will remain.

There are multiple attractive spots to stop and rest along the way, and refreshments are available by either moving off the trail briefly, or stopping at the cafe at Jells Park.

More information is available in the official brochure, which also includes a map.