The High Rigg Ridge.

Start. St John's in the Vale.

Route. St John's in the Vale - Bridge End - Wren Crag - Long Band - Mart Crag - Moss Crag - Paper Moss - High Rigg - Church of St John - Rake How - Sosgill - Low Bridge End - Bridge End - St John's in the Vale.

Notes. High Rigg may be dwarfed by the hills around it but it proves you don't have to climb very high to gain good views, some of the best views in Lakeland can be had from it's many neglected lesser heights. High Rigg is a wonderful up thrust of high ground rising between the Naddle Valley and St John's in the Vale, it's more a wide saddle with many craggy tops cutting through peaty soil guarding a multitude of hidden gems than a ridge. On a good day you could explore from dawn 'till dusk, but today I battled through wind, rain and a sizeable chunk of low cloud.

I left the car at the entrance to St John's in the Vale, a small car park next to a telephone box. After wandering along the main road I crossed St John's Beck to be greeted by a ladder stile, I crossed said stile to start my ascent. Through oak, young birch and Scots pines I ascended, a muddy path kept me on track. Above Wren Crag I climbed, across Long Band, around many rocky outcrops, once at Mort Crag battling through dense fog I took a wrong turning, decided it might be wise to pair map with compass, I re-traced my steps to a fence line and took a compass bearing. Back on track I wandered under Mort Crag, forded a section of boggy ground then let an obvious path guide me to the 1,125ft high summit.

I sat down, drank coffee, as I took another compass bearing a shaft of sunlight cut across the fell, a finger of light pointing the way, a thank you for turning out on such a dismal day. I hung around drinking in quite moody views, once the grey stuff rolled back in I descended to the small Church of St John. If you're wondering why the diocese of Carlisle built a small church in the middle of nowhere wonder no more, the narrow tarmac lane it sits next to was once the main road, a perfect place to convert weary travellers.

I walked passed the church to access a bridleway signed Sosgill Bridge, this muddy (in places) track ushered me along the edge of the intake wall, under the craggy eastern cliffs of High Rigg I wandered, on reaching Sosgill I joined a narrow foot-path that shepherded me above St John's Beck into mixed woodland then back to the stile I crossed at the beginning of the walk. Wandering back down the main road I came across a public footpath cutting across a field, I noticed it on the walk in, it was pretty wet, a perfect opportunity to clean muddy boots, it did just that, I exited the field onto the quiet St John's Road a few yards from the parked car.

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The Wren Crag face of High Rigg guards the entrance to St John's in the Vale.

Ascending Wren Crag with rain on my back and this muddy path under foot.

Evaporating into the Lakeland mist, Castle Rock.

Wreathed in cloud and driving rain, the High Rigg ridge with St John's in the Vale to the right.

Bram Crag seen across St John's in the Vale.

Heading through the wild emptiness on High Rigg, once I've traversed this small tract of boggy ground the path on the far side should guide me to the summit.

The summit High Rigg looking through mist to Tewet Tarn.

The summit with views through broken cloud to Clough Head.

Drinking in views from the summit of High Rigg, buried under a thick blanket of cloud the Blencathra massif.

Threlkeld Knotts leading to Clough Head as seen from the summit of High Rigg.

Viewing Low Rigg with Latrigg grey on the far horizon.

Wreathed in cloud Lonscale Fell and Blease Fell.

Heading down with views over Low Rigg to the long sunlit ridge of Latrigg.

There are some wonderful views to be had from the descent path, cloud bubbles over the Blencathra massif.

Awesome views towards Keswick, taking centre stage Low Rigg.

The Church of St John, built in 1845 but it is believed a church has stood on this site since 1534.

Heads in cloud the many ridges of the Blencathra range.

Above St John's Beck striding out on this lovely path.

From a wet field, with clean boots a final shot through St John's in the Vale.

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