Loughrigg Fell, Grasmere and Rydal Water.
Route. Waterhead - Ambleside - Rothay Park - Miller Brow - Todd Crag - Loughrigg Fell - Loughrigg Terrace - Deer Bolts Wood - Grasmere - White Moss Wood - Rydal Water - Steps End Wood - Rydal Hall - Rydal Park - Ambleside - Waterhead.
Notes. Today I awoke with a bloody annoying head cold, my plans for any walking dissolved into a cocktail of lemsip and paracetamol. The sun was rising over The Helm, my son arrived home announcing it was “misty as hell in the valley”, well who could turn down the opportunity of a wander above the clouds.
On the drive north I decided on Loughrigg Fell, I parked at Waterhead the first free parking space I came across, togged up and with a bag full of cold remedies I headed into Ambleside. The town was just stirring as it's empty streets testified, I'd also noticed the mist and cloud seemed a lot thicker in this valley at the head of Windermere Lake, maybe I should have headed south, too late now.
My route took me along Vicarage Road then through a misty Rothay Park, I crossed the river at the single arch of Miller Bridge then ascended a tarmac lane to Miller Brow. From the cluster of barn conversions and farm buildings at Miller Brow a flight of slate steps allowed me to access a path leading to Clappersgate, it was a short walk through mature woodland to a wooden foot-bridge where I left the Clappersgate path ascending through the murk on a quest to find the summit of Todd Crag. Normally the views up there are stunning today all I had was a wall of impenetrable cloud, I stared into grey emulsion, and it didn't look like it would lift any time soon.
Turning my back on the wall of grey, good paths guided me in a north-westerly direction, I took care not to drift from the main trod. You're not likely to disappear without trace up here but there are lots of paths, in pea soup like today you could spend an awful lot of time wandering in circles. To make sure that didn't happen I kept a dry stone wall to my left, when I bid farewell to the wall a compass bearing guided me in the general direction of the summit. Once on the summit adorned by a trig point I hung around, it looked like the cloud might lift, it stubbornly refused, so on another bearing I descended to Loughrigg Terrace. Some of the best views in Lakeland can be had from this terrace path, not today.
A good place to be in Lakeland pea soup is woodland, I continued descending through the mist and dripping woodland of Deer Bolts Wood. Once on the shore of Grasmere I headed south, at a splendid foot-bridge a finger post promised a river side walk, that will do fine. Along the river side I wandered, the path guided me into White Moss Wood before swinging right and ascending to the path that would usher me along the shore of Rydal Water. The mist was lifting but ever so slowly, across Rydal Water the upper slopes of Nab Scar were now visible. I continued along the lake shore until a metal kissing gate allowed access to Steps End Wood, still following the shore line I wandered on to a fine foot-bridge, crossed the River Rothay before ascending to the main road, turned right then left onto the tarmac road that leads to Rydal Mount, one of Wordsworth's Lakeland homes.
This wide road also lead to the entrance of Rydal Hall. I swung right following the lane passed the hall, a tea room, some out buildings and holiday cottages. Striding through the man made landscape of Rydal Park I noticed the cloud was low once more and more to the point a few spots of rain were falling, the cold winter stuff. My pace hastened between the fence posts and wire fencing that guided me through the park, I immerged back on the main road with Ambleside just a short hop around the corner and the car a mile further down the road.
view route map.
Welcome to Rothay Park.
A moody day on the ascent of Todd Crag.
Lily Tarn and not a lot else.
A path just trod and the wall that's guiding me.
Somewhere on Loughrigg Fell looking north.
Descending towards Loughrigg Terrace looking across the northern slopes of Loughrigg Fell hoping the clag may lift.
Like ghosts in the mist, the spectral outline of Deer Bolts Wood and the shore of Grasmere.
Descending through Deer Bolts Wood, the track is well constructed I guess it may have been part of the original route through the valley and over Red Bank into Great Langdale.
Deer Bolts Wood looking down on Grasmere.
Penny Rock Wood across Grasmere with the slopes of Heron Pike just appearing through a window in the cloud.
The River Rothay below Grasmere....
....and a little further down stream.
Deer Bolts Wood as seen before stepping into White Moss Wood.
En route through White Moss Wood.
As seen over Rydal Water, kissed by cloud Nab Scar.
The prospect south over Rydal Water, it's a grim one with cloud bubbling over the high mountains.
Striding out through Rydal Park, looking to the southern edge of Loughrigg Fell.
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