Exploring Loughrigg

Walk date – 29th November 2023

Distance – 6.5 miles

Weather – dry, sunny, cold and frosty, very light breeze


Following our walk last Friday the weather remained much the same on Saturday but the following three days had us back in the gloom again. However the weather conditions for today were forecast to be much the same as last Friday so we off we went to take a walk over Loughrigg Fell. Our last visit here was in 2017 and the last six years have slipped by without us ever thinking about taking a walk over it. Its more or less a ‘stand alone’ fell, if you discount the tenuous link to Silver How via the Red Bank road, and being one of the central fells the surrounding views are extensive, although on a very sunny day like today views to the south were a little restricted. Loughrigg might be the lowest of the central fells but don’t let that lull anyone into complacency because its spread is extensive, there are many humps and bumps and consequently a confusing preponderance of paths and routes across it. The route we followed today was for us a mix of old and new pathways which made for a more interesting walk than simply going up to the summit via the usual ‘tourist’ route.


Pelter Bridge (Rydal) – Fox How – Miller Brow – Lily Tarn – Ivy Crag – Loughrigg summit – Loughrigg Terrace – Rydal Water – Pelter Bridge

A walk across the frosty grass for this view of the river Rothay and Pelter Bridge beside the A591 as we start out on today’s walk. Its a lovely morning but very cold so its full winter gear time now. While I walked over to take the above shot J stayed on the approach road to try and sort out some problem connected to getting the gps to function properly.

A look back towards Pelter Bridge along the back lane leading towards Fox How while J checks that the gps is now working properly.

Stepping stones across the river Rothay. The layer of frost atop each stone looked very dodgy for anyone needing to make use of them today.

The front entrance gates to Fox How where just a little further on …..

….. we leave the lane, walk up through the leaf litter, pass through a handgate and …..

….. proceed to climb up this very steep grassy slope. A zoom in will reveal the handgate in the wall below. There is a splendid view of the Fairfield Horseshoe from this point. The smoke from a garden bonfire slowly rises and spreads out across the fields below.

From the top of the field we follow the path around to this step stile and cross over it. Just a few paces further on through the woodland we pass through a small handgate and eventually emerge on the main track on Miller Brow leading over to Ivy Crag. We walked down this track to …..

….. this set of steps which leads us through another patch of woodland where …..

….. we were joined by this plump robin who was probably hoping we would oblige with a tasty titbit but it was to be disappointed. There were lots of robins around all of whom in turn perched on branches, walls or mossy stones, watching us intently. They were all disappointed too.

Emerging from the wooded area. and leaving the robins behind, now we are heading over to Lily Tarn. The Fairfield Horseshoe now has bands of cloud above it and the garden bonfire smoke has drifted everywhere in the still air. The smell of the smoke wasn’t as pleasing as such smoke usually is so perhaps the stuff being burned was wet. Smoke from burning damp/wet leaves and wood often gives off an acrid aroma.

Still on the way up to the tarn and above the rooftops of Ambleside we can see Wansfell Pike and Baystones. Over on the left skyline are the two tops of Froswick and Ill Bell.

Out of the chilly shade at last as we arrive at Lily Tarn. The benches dotted around the tarn were frosted over so we scraped it off one of them and sat for a few minutes to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the lovely view. A thin film of ice covered the tarn’s surface. We eventually walked around the tarn so here’s another view of it from a different viewpoint …..

….. and it looked absolutely stunning in the bright sunlight.

Just a few paces past the tarn and there’s a good view of Windermere although as the sun was in that direction we got a rather less sparkly view of it than would normally be the case.

Back to Lily Tarn and one last shot before we go on our way again. The lone tree which used to grow on the little island fell over sometime during the last six years but a couple of others have taken its place so in a few years time Lily Tarn’s little island will have some little trees back again. A couple of walkers had arrived at the tarn as we were leaving and we were to see them again a little later on.

From Lily Tarn we dropped down slightly to take a more western path to get some good views of the fells in that direction. The tops of some of them, e.g. Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes, are already beginning to appear.

Further on more of them appear, too many to name individually but the centre of the skyline shows Crinkle Crags so the names of the others should be easy to work out.

As I stood on some higher ground beside the path the two walkers who were at Lily Tarn at the same time as us came by so I waited until they disappeared from view before taking the shot. They are out of sight just below the green patch in the bottom left hand corner. We saw them again later on.

Looking across Little Langdale now with the Coniston fells directly across from us, Wetherlam is the most prominent, its the one jutting out and catching the sunlight.

J giving some idea of scale to all the humps and bumps around us as we walk along. Just around the next bend and where the path began rising we could see the two walkers had stopped at what turned out to be a crossroads of paths. They seemed unsure as to which way to go, heads were down looking at what seemed to be a small map, eventually made their decision, turned to the right and followed the path in that direction. We hoped that they actually wanted to go that way because if they followed it all the way they would be heading back to the back lane beside the river Rothay that we started out on, which may not have been where they wanted to be. We didn’t see them again after that. Anyway when we reached the same path intersection we turned left and then more or less immediately right to follow the path eventually leading to …..

….. the little rock scramble on Ivy Crag. Its not a difficult scramble, it is just  awkward in that all the rocks have pointed tops, good for hand holds but nothing much to put your feet on. We’ve descended via this route in the past so it was fun to tackle it in reverse this time and …..

….. this is the view looking back from the top of the scramble which is well worth it for the small, if somewhat awkward, amount of effort you have to put in to achieve it.

Further on we made a slight diversion from the path to this viewpoint where immediately below us is Loughrigg Tarn and a view across Little Langdale. On the skyline to the left of the V shape of Wrynose Pass are the Coniston fells and over on the right are Cold Pike and Pike O’Blisco which in turn lead over to Crinkle Crags.

Still making our way across to Loughrigg summit and passing one of the many nameless tarns to be found on Loughrigg. With the blue sky reflected in them and the bright sunlight on them they all looked lovely today. The Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke ridge is on the centre skyline.

Thinking that it might be busy and a tad breezy up on the summit we had a brief stop a short distance back, got out the coffee flask and the sandwiches and had an early lunch in a sunny and sheltered spot. After that we just had a short distance to go to the summit, busy as usual and with a chilly breeze getting up from time to time. My jacket hood was pulled up before going looking for summit views, here’s a selection of them …..

….. the summit trig point looking north along Dunmail Raise …..

….. now looking west to the Langdale Pike et al …..

….. the shadowy side of Lingmoor Fell in Great Langdale across the middle foreground  encircled by the Langdale Pikes, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Pike O’ Blisco and Cold Pike …..

….. Lonscale Fell in the far distance between Steel Fell and Helm Crag on the left and Seat Sandal on the right …..

….. a 180 degrees about turn for a view of Windermere plus some of the humps and bumps we’ve encountered along the way here …..

….. the Froswick to Yoke ridge on the right skyline, in front of that is Red Screes, and in front of that on the extreme left is Low Pike, one of the bumpy bits of the Fairfield Horseshoe …..

….. Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke, Baystones and Wansfell Pike …..

….. left skyline shows Dove Crag, High Pike and Low Pike, right skyline shows Red Screes …..

….. Seat Sandal with a bit of cloud behind it, Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, a bit of Fairfield and Heron Pike …..

….. and a sunny close up of the Langdale Pikes to round it all off.

Our descent route was the well known ‘tourist’ path up Loughrigg which has been subjected to some path ‘reconstruction’ and probably more to come given the numerous huge bags of large stones still lying around. Fortunately the path wasn’t iced over but it was a very trying descent nevertheless and everyone coming down it was being very careful. As path refurbishment is mostly carried out by volunteers it seems unkind to comment further other than to mention that it didn’t feel to be an improvement on the previous path. However, the view down to Grasmere water and village were a bonus whenever one felt the need to stop for a moment.

The brakes are off now as we walk along the level terrace path overlooking the shingle beach and Grasmere water. Plenty of folk out walking along the beach but not even their dogs were braving the icy waters today.

Heading down to the lakeside path along Rydal Water and …..

….. the view along it when we reached it. Its chilly walking in Loughrigg’s shadow …..

….. still, there’s always the sunny view of Nab Scar to look at across the water.

Not far to go now before we reach the parking area just above Pelter Bridge as we walk the last few yards down the lane from the lakeshore path. The trees are bare and their leaves litter the verges and hedgerows, the bracken has turned brown and gone over and the moss covered walls add their own contribution to the autumnal scene. Its 30th of November as I write this walk report and we noticed snow on the North Pennines, almost down to valley level, when we drove along the A6 this morning. We didn’t have any snowfall in our part of the Eden Valley although we did have an overnight frost. Better that than endless gloomy days of rain and gales though. We’ve had a lovely walk over a grand little fell and enjoyed its fabulous views so now its time to go home and get the kettle on. Two walks within five days eh? That hasn’t happened for a long time, back soon we hope.