Climbing a Lakeland fell direct, especially off the beaten track, is at times exhilarating, either by scrambling up a crag face, or up a grassy slope with broken crags. On this direct route to Crinkle Crags, however, we disappear from the outside world for over four hours while negotiating many obstacles. Crinkle Gill provides some of the most interesting gill scrambling opportunities that Lakeland has to offer. It is not wetsuit territory, but walking its full length without giving your extremities a good soaking, would be nothing short of a miracle. Crinkle Gill is long, deep-sided in places, and has some difficult sections, so, with all that in mind, half of your day is required to reach its head from Old Dungeon Gill. I have completed this route three times now: the first time, in 2014, was like going in blind, and it was a little daunting not knowing what difficulties lurk ahead. The second time, in 2020, I had the pleasure of showing the route to fellwalking friend Dave Walsh, and because I had experienced the gill before, we were able to explore more alternative ways of scrambling the obstacles in our path. The third time, in 2021, I was joined by my wife, Jaclyn, and friend, writer and Lakeland Walker magazine contributor, George Kitching. Jaclyn has had a fear of water for most of her life, but in recent years she’s conquered every trickle, splash, and torrent that she’s confronted. This was to be her biggest challenge to date though, and, in her own words, a day that’ll live with her for many years to come.


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