Escaping the Crowns.
Route. Rydal - Steps End Wood - Rydal Water - Rydal Cave - Loughrigg Fell - Lad Crag - Loughrigg Tarn - Ivy Crag - Fox Ghyll - Under Loughrigg - Cote How - Steps End Wood - Rydal.
Notes. Ever popular Loughrigg Fell was my high ground today, ever popular and rightly so. Rising from Ambleside and Rydal this wedge of rock and bog is easy access with staggering views in all directions. The majority of walkers tackle the hill by one of the main routes jostling for a good vantage point when they reach the summit, truth is there's room for everyone, but that doesn't mean you're obliged to follow in everyone's foot fall, follow me, it's a little different but a cracking good walk none the less.
It was early, too early, most visitors were still tucked up in bed or just starting breakfast, I was assured a prime parking space. My chosen spot the small church at Rydal, loads of room and our maker only required two quid. I walked round the corner to the Badger Bar, crossed the main road then descended into Steps End Wood, the path skirted the shore of Rydal Water before escaping the woodland at a small shingle beach, two paths lead north, it was the upper path for me.
This old quarry track guided me passed a couple of old quarries, long abandoned but worth a poke around, after the second quarry (Rydal Cave) a faint path on the left climbs the fell side, once located I ascended the northern slopes of Loughrigg Fell. Wet in places, sketchy in others, when I lost the path I followed the obvious line, usually a beck, this went on for ages as height was gained, then suddenly without warning as I rounded a rocky knoll the path became green, wide and dead easy to trace, I traced it to the summit, sat down and had a brew. Unfortunately as you can see from the pictures the day was misty, distant views zilch, but I didn't care, I just ascended the fell by one of the best routes possible and never saw a soul, the only soul on the summit was little old me and that's a first.
Brew over little old me descended to the south, just under the rocky summit a cairn marks a path junction, I swung right to start the steep descent to Loughrigg Tarn. For the sake of argument lets call this the Lad Crag descent. A good path followed the line of a beck before turning right passing along the edge of Intake Wood ejecting me onto a tarmac lane, I turned left it was a short walk to a bridleway leading to The How and Loughrigg Tarn.
I wandered along the shore of Loughrigg Tarn, hoping for a view to the Langdale Pikes, alas the mist was thick near the head of Langdale. My route then followed a footpath through sheep pastures along the edge of mature woodland and onto the main trod cutting across the shoulder of Loughrigg Fell. It was on this path I met the first people of the day, a couple of runners on holiday from Scotland, we chatted quite a while before I bid my farewells. After traversing the shoulder of the fell, before passing through the final intake wall I crossed some soft ground to access a path descending along the edge of a dry stone wall, this was the Fox Ghyll descent a wonderful way off the hill, it ejected me onto Under Loughrigg, the narrow road that runs under Loughrigg. I turned left, with tarmac under foot and the River Rothay to my right I continued on to Pelter Bridge, rather than cross the bridge I turned left, a finger-post pledged passage to Grasmere, what it didn't promise was access to Steps End Wood, just after Cote How a foot-path descended into Steps End Wood, I descended with it before re-tracing my steps of earlier.
view route map.
Opposite the Badger Bar this path guided me into the promised land.
En route to Rydal Water looking to the sylvan slopes of Nab Scar.
Viewing Heron Island from Steps End Wood.
From little used paths on the northern flanks of Loughrigg Fell, restricted views to Nab Scar and Rydal Water.
The main trod, not for me today, the view Silver How just under the cloud base.
Many paths cross Loughrigg Fells wide ridge, when the cloud's down it's easy to go wrong, through the murk Lad Crag.
No wide vistas today, the summit Loughrigg Fell.
The Lad Crag descent and hazy views into Great Langdale.
View taken over Intake Wood, Huntingstile Crag, Spedding Crag and Raven Crag melt into the haze.
En route through Intake Wood.
Under the limbs of a mighty oak on the shore of Loughrigg Tarn.
Views north over Loughrigg Tarn.
On the southern shore Autumn makes an appearance.
After leaving the tarn the main trod guided me across the shoulder of the fell, I'm gifted with misty views to Windermere Lake.
The bottom of the Fox Ghyll descent, not the nicest part but it's colourful.
Wansfell Pike as seen from Under Loughrigg.
The stepping stones at Rydal.
Fell walkers sods law, the sun's breaking through, and I'm nearly back at the car, the murk that's been covering Nab Scar all morning is finally lifting.
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