Knott Rigg and Ard Crags

Walk date – 17th January 2022

Distance – 3.6 miles

Weather – fine and dry, occasional light breeze


The forecast was good for today so we were good to go for today’s walk which we had planned to do last week but fate conspired against us yet again. On the one good weather forecast day during last week J’s car was due in for its M.O.T. at 1.00 pm so we were stymied once again. Perhaps fate meant for us to do this walk today rather than last week for, as things turned out, we enjoyed the unfolding of a variety of natural events as nature revealed its varied and wonderful treats and surprises.


Out and back to Knott Rigg and Ard Crags from Newlands Hause

The view from Newlands Hause, where only one car was already parked up, as we began today’s walk. We haven’t visited Knott Rigg and Ard Crags since 2016 so today’s walk was long overdue. The low sun behind the vast bulk of Robinson is keeping us, and pretty much everything else, in the shade. Whiteless Pike, over on the right, is high enough to catch the sunlight, Whiteless Breast just below it isn’t. A few wisps of cloud are drifting around over there but the sun is out and the sky has more blue than grey.

Still in the shade we begin the climb up to Knott Rigg. Anyone who has done this walk will know that this is not a shot of the summit, its just the first hurdle, so to speak.

Another clump of cloud passes over Whiteless Pike. We’re still in Robinson’s shadow but the steepish climb maintains body heat and keeps the chill out.

A glimpse down towards Buttermere from the climb. Red Pike and Dodd just below it have just emerged from the bank of cloud across the length of the High Stile ridge.

The view back down to Newlands Hause and Moss Force. Another car has arrived and the boot is open so it looks like someone else is getting ready for a walk.


As we climbed we were suddenly enveloped by mist/cloud which arrived seemingly out of nowhere and which had us wondering whether we would have any views at all today. Here’s a misty shot of false summit number one.

The mist is still with us as we approach false summit number two …..

….. and false summit number three.

Eventually the actual summit appears through the gloom …..

….. which suddenly disappeared just a few steps further along.

A few stones mark the summit and once again …..

….. just as the previous shot was taken the mist thinned out and lifted just long enough to reveal Wandope across the Sail Beck valley.

Just a few paces further along the ridge and it cleared completely giving us a  good clear view of Wandope and Addacomb Hole.

The mist drifting between us and Crag Hill and Sail …..

….. which it continued to do all the way along the ridge as we headed for Ard Crags.

Further along still and now the mist thickened again and obliterated the views ahead and those across the valleys on either side of us, oddly enough across the ridge we remained mist free.

A misty view of Wandope, Addacomb Hole and Crag Hill and …..

….. the same view seconds later. We never knew when any view would appear so if there was a view to be had it was quickly grabbed.

A ribbon of mist below the Crag Hill/Sail ridge

Never quite knowing what would be on view made for a very interesting and fascinating walk along the ridge to Ard Crags. The Newlands valley was completely filled with mist most of the time so there was little chance of any photos in that direction.

The view down into the little col between Knott Rigg and Ard Crags as the mist comes and goes.

Down at the col and a glimpse of sunlight manages to penetrate the mist in a very murky Newlands valley.

We’re still in the clear as we head over towards Ard Crags summit. As we climbed out of the col we met a party of three walkers who mentioned that they had seen several Brocken spectres when they were over there. We thought that we might not be so lucky, the sun was rising higher and the mist was thinning so our chances were lessening with every passing minute.

The mist has thinned out to practically nothing in the valley which allowed us a good view across to Maiden Moor and Catbells across the middle of the shot, with Bleaberry Fell and High Seat just behind them. On the skyline is the range of fells starting with Clough Head and stretching all the way over to the Helvellyn group.

While I was looking eastwards J noticed this Brocken spectre in the Sail Beck valley so here’s the pair of us casting our shadows across it.

They just kept appearing and then fading away so here’s Brocken spectre number two …..

….. and Brocken spectre number three.

The mist clears again to provide a fantastic view across to Addacomb Hole before …..

….. another ribbon of it appears out of the blue and begins to drift around below Crag Hill and Sail.

Looking back towards Knott Rigg where the cloud was pouring down into the Newlands valley once again …..

….. although Robinson manages to keep its head above the cloud. You couldn’t help but wonder where was it all coming from and there seemed to be no end to it.

Brocken spectre number four from Ard Crags summit. You don’t see one for years then on one day they arrive one after the other. It was quite surprising too since there wasn’t a great deal of mist in the Sail Beck valley.

A couple of walkers are heading towards us from the Aikin Knott end of the ridge. Causey Pike is over on the left while Blencathra floats above the mist in the distance.

Looking towards the Aikin Knott end of the ridge as the two walkers mentioned previously arrive at the summit to enjoy the views and have a chat with us.

All four of us had a natter about the spectacular cloud drama taking place around and below us which just kept right on coming, as if there was a never ending supply. They took their photos then moved on towards Knott Rigg from where they planned to return to their car via Keskadale Edge which is on view in the bottom left of the shot. We stayed a good while longer just to enjoy the sun and the spectacle.

More mist develops over Derwentwater and obscures the views of Blencathra, Clough Head and Great Dodd.

Meanwhile, the cloud continues to pour through every gap it can find.

Fell tops appeared and disappeared as the cloud swirled around.

The view down to Keskadale farm from Ard Crags.

Just a few wisps of mist left hanging here and there now …..

….. although the Newlands valley still has a hint of mistiness about it.

Still on the summit and still enjoying the sunshine and the views …..

….. but the mist keeps right on coming below Crag Hill and Sail …..

….. and we keep getting more Brocken spectres, this time below Scar Crags.

Just when we thought it was all over and done with another cloud of it develops above Derwentwater.

Catbells and Maiden Moor in the clear …..

….. and while my back was turned J notices another Brocken spectre on the Sail Beck side. Wonder if there’s a works outing for Brocken spectres today?

We begin the return journey with a clear view of Whiteless Pike and Wandope, for the time being at least.

Crag Hill and Sail are standing out very clearly now and …..

….. things look to be finally settling down as the tops of the High Stile ridge begin to appear.

Wandope disappears once again, well I did say for the time being a couple of shots ago.

Is it finally dissipating or is it just a temporary pause?

There’s still plenty of cloud pouring over the fells beyond Great Borne over on the left …..

….. and as we reach the col we are about to climb back into some more as it swirls around Knott Rigg.

A look back along the path towards Ard Crags where mist is once again obscuring the summit.

As we climb out of the col, lo and behold we get yet another Brocken spectre.

Out of the col and onto the ridge with a look back towards Ard Crags …..

….. and down into the Newlands valley and the superb view beyond it.

Walking back along the ridge to Knott Rigg …..

….. with a view of High Stile, Red Pike and Starling Dodd on the skyline.

Sunshine and blue sky above Robinson and the High Stile ridge.

Looking back along the ridge to Ard Crags as mist continues to fill the Sail Beck valley.

The alternative route, via Keskadale Edge, back down to the valley.

Another ribbon of mist appears in front of  Crag Hill and Sail.

A great walk along the ridge with fabulous views and lovely weather.

Whiteless Breast and Bleak Rigg in the bottom right corner of the shot …..

….. as we return to the summit of Knott Rigg where the two walkers we had a chat with on Ard Crags were taking a break. We had an even longer chat this time and probably about fifteen to twenty minutes slipped by.

We eventually began our descent back to the hause and on the way down I took this shot across High Snockrigg. This area of cloud had been present in the Buttermere area all the time we’ve been walking and didn’t seem to be showing any sign of dissipating although just about everywhere else seems to be clear.

A look back to Knott Rigg summit where the couple we had a chat with are still sitting enjoying the sunshine. As the man said to us ‘When you’ve finally got up here and the sun is out you don’t really want to leave, do you?’

Whiteless Pike with its two ‘arms’ of Whiteless Breast and Bleak Rigg. Great Borne is obscured by a bank of cloud and there are still huge mounds of it behind the fells on the middle skyline. That’s probably where it will stay now as it doesn’t seem to be moving as much as it has been.

The High Stile ridge on the skyline, High Snockrigg just below it, and one of the several false summits of Knott rigg just below that. A lone walker making his way up the path towards us.

The final stage of our descent back down to the hause where there are a few more vehicles now than when we started out.

It didn’t take long to reach the hause, which was still in Robinson’s shadow, but the skies are clear now, the sun keeps on shining and the mist has finally gone. What a fabulous morning walk we’ve just had, it might have been short in distance but it was packed full of spectacle as nature’s magic unfolded time after time all along the way. We’ve only had a short walk but it will certainly live long in the memory.