Feature: Dom and Dan’s daring climb to the clouds

The Linthwaite House Hotel was the stunning base for my first foray into the magical upper reaches of the Lake District.

In a setting befitting the land that inspired the creative genius of William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, Linthwaite sits among its own pretty landscaped gardens above the pleasant town of Windermere with views over the famous lake.

Reporter Dom Collis at the summit of Pavey Ark

Reporter Dom Collis at the summit of Pavey Ark

Stretching 11 miles in length, Windermere is England’s largest natural lake, but you don’t have to venture far from the Linthwaite to see the glimmer of water. A tiny lake, complete with its own resident hungry heron, sits behind the hotel.

Not one to sit still, I chose my opportunity of staying at the Linthwaite to venture into its neighbouring majestic countryside. And what better way to see the rolling hills and lakes than from atop those glorious peaks.

Good job then that I was accompanied by my climbing and pub quiz team partner Danny Allen.

While I had no need of Dan’s general knowledge attributes on our trek, his map reading and climbing skills did come in handy.

The Linthwaite House Hotel, Windermere

The Linthwaite House Hotel, Windermere

Our destination was Pavey Ark, one of the Langdale Pikes, and an eye-watering 2,300ft. up. I use that phrase because I only started climbing two months ago and this was my first outdoor scramble.

Dan suggested the spectacular scramble up Jack’s Rake, a diagonal rocky route up the face of Pavey Ark. A decent walk must first be made up Stickle Ghyll just to reach the bottom of Pavey Ark, but the slog is well worth it. A beautiful Tarn, impossibly situated so high up on the hills, awaits you.

From there we made our steady scramble up Jack’s Rake. Luckily, we were blessed with dry and sunny weather.

The scramble up Jack’s Rake, while not for the faint-hearted, is not as precipitous as it looks.

Pavey Ark and Jack's Rake

Pavey Ark and Jack's Rake

That said, Dan brought his trusty rope and hard hat, just in case. I followed in the footsteps of my guide and companion – a veteran of Peru’s Inca Trail no less – and scrambled to the top.

There was one stretch where Dan deemed the rope was needed – my hands were sweating as I scrambled across a fairly smooth patch of rock, but the rope held, and soon we were at the summit.

My sore feet and dodgy knee were crying, but the views from the top were well worth the pain.

From there we walked over Thunacarr Knott to High Raise which presented us with a stunning 360 degree view of some of the Lake District’s best known peaks. We descended back to Stickle Tarn via Sergeant Man.

Some hours after we first set out to Pavey Ark, we returned to the welcoming embrace of the Linthwaite and the warm crackle of an open coal fire.

Never one to turn away food, my epic climb had left me with an appetite bigger than a Langdale Pike. Good job, then, that dinner was nothing short of exceptional. Three courses of beautifully presented modern English cuisine rounded off a fantastic day. Well, the single malt I enjoyed in the hotel bar probably did that.

The following morning and a full English breakfast, plus plenty of fruit, set Dan and I up for another day of adventuring. We set out to explore the Neolithic inscriptions on the Langdale Boulders, Elterwater village and lake and witnessed the Skelwith Force waterfall.

Sadly, there was no return to the Linthwaite for dinner but back home for a takeaway and a chance to reflect on a superb weekend.