Pike of Blisco, or Pike
O'Blisco, is a mountain in the Lake District located between the valleys
of Great Langdale and Little Langdale. It's relative isolation from
neighbouring fells together with slopes falling away immediately from
the summit in all directions mean it has excellent views with the view
of the Langdale Pikes across Great Langdale is particularly arresting.
Pike O'Blisco stands on the complex ridge of high ground descending
south-eastward from the Scafell massif. The ridge incorporates Esk Pike,
Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags and Cold Pike before turning sharply
north-eastward to Pike O'Blisco. It then makes a further abrupt
northerly diversion around Blea Tarn to connect to Lingmoor Fell.
To the north of Pike O'Blisco is the Oxendale branch of Great
Langdale, while Little Langdale stands to the south east. The two
valleys drain eastward, joining beyond Lingmoor Fell.
south of Pike O'Blisco is the 393 m (1,290 ft) summit of Wrynose Pass,
which links Little Langdale with the Duddon Valley and beyond the pass
lies Swirl How and the Coniston Fells.
Between Cold Pike and Pike
O'Blisco is a wide grassy depression at 528 m (1,740 ft). On the
southern side is the source of the River Duddon, while to the north is
Red Tarn, a feeder of Great Langdale Beck. Red Tarn is an elongated pool
whose stony bed can be seen through clear shallow waters, reputed to
hold trout. Its name comes from the colour of the surrounding soil
rather than the water itself.The tarn forms a focal point for walkers,
as the wide path from the summit of Wrynose Pass to Great Langdale runs
beside it, with a further path branching off across its outflow towards
The main path was originally made to serve Red
Crag Mine, which now consists of a series of pits and trial borings for
iron ore, concentrated about 300 metres north of the tarn. The mine was
worked from 1860 to 1875 but never achieved commercial success.
Pike O'Blisco itself consists of the steep, conical summit area above
Red Tarn along with a swathe of hilly country speading out to the south
and east. The summit is defended by Kettle Crag to the north and Black
Wars to the west, with Black Crag abreast the ridge descending southward
to Wrynose Pass.
The eastern part of the fell is centred upon the
subsidiary top of Blake Rigg at around 530 m (1,740 ft) in an area of
rocky outcrops and small tarns. From Blake Rigg a ridge runs north east
to cross the summit of the Blea Tarn road at 224 m (735 ft). This pass,
narrow and steep even by Lakeland standards, links the two Langdales and
is named for the large tarn which sits beneath the eastern crags of
Blake Rigg. Its waters hold trout, perch and pike, and the easily
accessible shoreline features in many a photograph of the Langdale
Unusually for Lake District fells, Pike O'Blisco's summit
is clearly visible from the valley below, in this case Great Langdale.
(Consequently, a good view of the valley may be obtained from the
summit.) Before 1959 the summit was crowned with a tall, conical cairn
which could be seen from the valley, but between 1958 and 1959 it was
apparently vandalised. It has subsequently been rebuilt, although it
does not appear as tall today as it does in Wainwright's 1958 drawing.
There are two distinct routes to the summit from the popular
walkers' resort of Dungeon Ghyll at the head of Great Langdale. One goes
via Stool End farm at the foot of Bowfell. From here it follows the
public footpath over the Oxendale Beck and up to Red Tarn, at around
525 m above sea level, before ascending Pike of Blisco's steep west
The other route, which takes a generally more even
gradient, climbs the mountain's east face using a path that starts from
the Little Langdale road.
It is also possible to climb Pike
O'Blisco from Little Langdale, via a public footpath from Wrynose Bridge
on the road to Wrynose Pass, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the head of the
An alternative route from this direction, recommended by
Wainwright, involves scrambling up a gully in the crags above the valley
head, then walking across pathless terrain to the summit.
easiest route of ascent, however, is from the Three Shire Stone at the
head of the Wrynose Pass, where vehicles may be parked at 393 metres.
Pike O'Blisco is often climbed as a circuit around the head of Great
Langdale incorporating Crinkle Crags and Bowfell, sometimes extended to
include Rossett Pike and even the Langdale Pikes.
routes near Pike O'Blisco