Pavey Ark

Pavey Ark is a spectacular rock face towering above Stickle Tarn adjacent to the remarkable Langdale Pikes. It is best seen from the far side of Stickle Tarn at the top of Mill Gill where, in the words of Wainwright it "bursts upon the eye with dramatic effect". He writes "Pavey Ark is Langdale's biggest cliff. In an area where crags and precipices abound, here is the giant of them all, and scenically it is the best" (Wainwright 1958, Pavey Ark 2).


Sketch of Pavey Ark across Stickle Tarn by Justin Farrell

Strictly speaking Pavey Ark is a crag on the eastern side of the larger fell of Thunacar Knott. However, despite not being a separate fell in its own right, Wainwright points out that in addition to being a magnificent rock face, Pavey Ark "... has its own proud little summit, an exhilarating place of gray rock, small tarns and soft vegetation..." (Wainwright 1958, Pavey Ark 2). For this reason, Wainwright gives Pavey Ark its own chapter in his book on The Central Fells. It is very much one of the 214 Wainwright fells.


View of Pavey Ark. Photograph by Ann Bowker

Pavey Ark Walking Routes

Pavey Ark is generally approached from the New Dungeon Gill Hotel in the Langdale Valley. A path follows Mill Gill to Stickle tarn where there are a number of options for the fell walker. There is one route going west at the tarn towards Harrison Stickle's east shoulder. Follow the path going north east at the top of the climb to get Pavey Ark Summit. Another route takes the fell walker along the east side of Stickle Tarn to the North Rake, which Wainwright describes as "...a surprising and remarkable grassy breach in the crags, cleaving them from top to bottom on their north side, and affording a simple route of ascent" (Wainwright 1958, Pavey Ark 4). The best known route, however, is also the notoriously challenging Jack's Rake.

Jack's Rake

jacks rake

Jacks Rake. Photograph from Wikipedia

Jacks Rake is described by Wainwright as a "rock climb rather than a walk" (Wainwright 1958, Pavey Ark 4). It is, in fact, classified as a grade one scramble which is within the capabilities of fell walkers who are physically fit, and are either experienced or have an experienced guide or walking companion. Jacks Rake starts directly underneath Pavey Ark where it climbs diagonally across the near vertical rock face within a groove and across sections of exposed ledge. Looking across Stickle Tarn to the cliff of Pavey Ark, the route looks formidable and scary. However, some people who have tackled this challenging route say that, it is not quite as daunting as this initial impression suggests. However, the route does need to be given a great deal of care and respect if you decide to take it. It can be very dangerous.

You can read about my ascent of Jack's Rake in my Lake District Walks blog.

If you are interested in undertaking the Jacks Rake scramble on Pavey Ark, I recommend you take a look at this excellent You Tube video by essayeffsee. It shows three people negotiating the various sections on the ascent. It is well worth watching.

Lakeland Fells
Blencathra Coniston Old Man Easedale Fells Helvellyn Langdale Pikes Pavey Ark Scafell Pike Skiddaw