Date - 25th August 2013 Distance - 5.25 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL5 Start point - Smaithwaite Bridge (NY 3158 1947)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Wren Crag 1020 311 NY 3159 2014
High Rigg 1125 343 NY 3071 2047
Naddle Fell 1171 357 NY 3086 2200



With mugs of tea in paw and chocolate caramel shortbread on the plates, we all sat contentedly.

"How wonderful it was to finally get to the summit of Pen, and achieve our ambition to complete the Birketts", enthused Tetley.

"It certainly was a moment to savour, as Dad reached the top of the scramble, and the cairn came into sight, just a few yards ahead", added Allen.

"11:15am on 14th August 2013, will be forever etched in my mind", cried Grizzly. "Mind you we must thank Dad for his determination making the exceedingly steep ascent from the valley path."

"And for getting us all safely down afterwards", added Shaun.

Little Eric had sat quietly listening to this exchange, but now said, "having only joined you in 2008, I will not complete this challenge, but nevertheless it was a great feeling to get to the summit, and I was so so happy for you and Dad too of course."

"Thanks", replied Allen, "but you have completed the Howgills and are just two walks away from completing the Wainwright Outlyers, so you can feel proud too."

"I do, and after you finished the Outlyers, I still had half to do, so I really appreciate Dad repeating them for me", he replied. "I know it is Bank Holiday, this weekend, but wonder if a walk is in prospect?"

"It is, and the weather is set fair, for Sunday", responded Grizzly. "So it is jut a matter of deciding where to go, and, with Pen done, there are no 'must do's' now."

"Perhaps we could do one that I have not climbed before?", asked Little Eric. "Mind you, I am definite in saying that I do not expect Dad to repeat all those that I need to bag to complete the Wainwrights."

Putting our thinking caps on, we all sat quietly for a while, until Shaun suggested, "how about High Rigg, between the A591 and St. John's in the Vale?"

"Good idea", agreed Tetley. "It was early 2007, that we last climbed it. There are three summits too, so you will bag a Wainwright and three Birketts in the process."

"Yippee", cried Little Eric. "Roll on Sunday."


The Walk

Dad wanted to be walking before 10:00am, which meant leaving home soon after 8:00am.

"Well Lads", he said, as he came into the kitchen where we were getting the picnic ready, "if we get off early, we will be on the road, before the Bank Holiday traffic starts to build up."

It was a pleasant morning, but there was low cloud and mist covering the higher fells. Others were clear and we thought back to the happy days when we had climbed them.

"Birkett suggests parking at Legburthwaite", said Shaun, looking at the book.

"Yes, that's right", Dad replied. "However United Utilities know how to charge for their car parks, and I pay enough to them in water rates, so I intend to park on the verge by the A591, just this side of Smaithwaite Bridge."

There was plenty of space, Dad's being the only car, apart from one other that was already there when we arrived. While Dad got ready we looked about seeing Castle Rock to the east.

"Ooh that was a good day with Uncle Eric climbing that back in February 2007", said Tetley.

"Yes he had always wanted to climb it, and thanks to the directions in the Birkett book we were able to get to the summit", added Shaun.

"I was not born then", bemoaned Little Eric, "so I still have it to bag"

"Well maybe, if you ask nicely Dad will take us up again", suggested Allen.

"OK, I'm ready", called out Dad. "Come and get settled in the rucksack."

Then shouldering it we set off, crossing Smaithwaite Bridge and taking the gate immediately on the right.

"We go along the path for a little way, then take the one rising left", advised Shaun.

This wound its way, ahead, climbed steadily with a number of ups and downs, and lush vegetation either side. Being August, the bracken was at its height.

A few minutes later, Grizzly, said, "that Rowan tree over to the left will make a nice picture."

"Yes", agreed Tetley, "We have one in our garden at home, of course."

Not many minutes later we climbed the final slope to the first of the summits, Wren Crag, from where there was a terrific view of valley of St John's in the Vale. The distant mountain covered in cloud is Blencathra, which towers over the A66 road between Penrith and Keswick.

"What a shame about the cloud", said Little Eric rather disappointedly.

The summit area is flat with no cairn to mark it, but we settled by this rock, which seemed to be at the highest point. Amazingly when we checked this shot against the one Dad took of us in 2007, we found that we sat beside the same rock. So it must be the top!!

There was a terrific view along the fell too, and Shaun pointed out to Little Eric, "you can see the last summit, Naddle Fell which is the highest point, to the right in the distance. While the highest point in the centre is High Rigg, shown on the map as the 343m spot height.

"High Rigg is what Wainwright calls his summit, but then it is not the highest point," said Little Eric in confusion.

Tetley replied, "I can understand your confusion, pal. This whole upland area is called High Rigg, hence the name used by Wainwright, but locally too it is known as Naddle Fell. When Birkett drew up his list he had the two summits to include. On the map the name 'High Rigg' appears in capital letters across the 343m summit, so he called this High Rigg, using the local name of Naddle Fell, for the highest point."

"Very confusing", replied Little Eric, "but I get what you are saying."

There was no doubting the path which led on with more ups and downs to a stile in a fence, where once over, Shaun called out, "we go right by the fence."

This led past a small tarn in a hollow, Allen saying, "that will make a pretty picture, Dad."

Skirting this to the right, the path then descended to reach a stile in a wall. Beyond we walked on with the wall on the right in a corridor with Moss Crag left.

"Immediately after the crag, we need to go left with a small tarn on the right", instructed Shaun.

Little now remains of the tarn, it having become mostly overgrown and reduced to a boggy area that should without a doubt be avoided.

Rising ahead was a clear path, and Shaun said, "we follow that path, which will lead us straight to the second summit, High Rigg."

He was absolutely right too. The top is marked by a few stones, that has become a little spread out, so Dad gathered them properly together again to make a small cairn, where we then sat for our picture. Well, we have decided to include our picture at each summit today. [Your wish is my command. Ed.]

Much closer now, this was the view to the final summit and highest point known as Naddle Fell, but is in fact unnamed on the map.

We quickly settled in the rucksack again, and Dad headed off along the clear path. Lots of blackfaced sheep were grazing the fell, and so we suppose it was inevitable that one would pose such that Dad could get a picture, Allen calling out despairingly, as he took it, "oh nooooo, there goes our chance again for a sheep picture free story."

And then striding on, ten minutes later we were at the cairn on Naddle Fell. "Yippee", cried Little Eric, "that's another Wainwright ticked off and three Birketts too."

"There is a group of walkers coming up the fell from the north", said Grizzly.

"Well it's time for lunch, so let's go just over there to the left and sit on the rocks."

"Great", exclaimed Allen, "my tummy has been rumbling for a little while now, so a sandwich and some cake will be just the ticket."

The first three of the party arrived, and Dad called out "hello". Then three more ladies, in the party made their way up, coming right past where we were sitting.

Spotting us, one asked Dad, "why do you take teddies with you on the walks?"

So Dad explained, and told them that we had climbed all the fells not only in the Lakes, but the Howgills and Yorkshire too.

Another lady asked, "do they have names?"

"Yes" Dad replied and then went on to introduce us all.

She then asked, "why is Allen so named."

So Dad explained that he is named after Allen Crags, alphabetically the first of the Wainwright Fells.

We were certainly a talking point and the centre of attention, which we all loved, of course. Before continuing their walk, the ladies all lay down around STAG while they had their picture taken, saying that they would put it in Facebook!! Dad also mentioned our website too.

The excitement over, they went on their way and we finished our lunch, looking towards Blencathra and Skiddaw, whose upper slopes were annoyingly still lost in the clouds, as can be seen in this shot Dad took.

All done we packed up, and settled in Dad's rucksack, took the clear path down the fell, that became quite steep for a time, to pass through this gate in the wall,

to reach the buildings seen beyond and the narrow road.

"We turn right, past the church", advised Shaun.

Strolling along the road, Dad said, "I want to visit the church, as it has connections with my Cumbrian ancestors. They lived in the Cockermouth area and the one in question was my great great grandfather John Bateman, who lived from 1800-1875. He was a farmer and my mum used to tell me that with the help of his two dogs, he drove his sheep over the Whinlatter Pass, to bring them to market in Keswick. Walking of course, no motorised transport in those days."

By now we had arrived at the church. Allen noticed and said, "there is a stone over the door, saying it was rebuilt in 1845."

"Well that's the thing", replied Dad. "Mum told me that it was my great great grandfather who carried the stone to the site for the rebuilding."

As the date stone, says, the present church was built in 1845, replacing an earlier church, parts of which were incorporated in the present building. It is not known how long there has been a church here, but the earliest reference is 1554. It is constructed of slate and igneous rock, with a green slate roof. Inside it is simple, having a chancel and nave in one range.

Our visit over, we continued along the road, Little Eric saying, "I did not know you had ancestors from Cumberland. It is no wonder you are drawn to this area and that you love it so much."

"Absolutely", Dad replied. "It is without doubt my spiritual home."

Shortly Shaun said, "our return path is through this gate to the right, signed to Sosgill Bridge."

A mostly grassy track that returned us along the valley at the base of the slopes of High Rigg.

On the east side of the valley rises the northern end of the Helvellyn Ridge, including Clough Head (2381ft), whose slopes have dramatic crags.

"No way up that side", remarked Grizzly.

"Quite", replied Dad.

Suddenly rounding a slight corner in the path, we were confronted with a red squirrel scampering towards us. It is quite rare and indeed a privilege to see them. Unfortunately Dad did not have the camera in his hand, and by the time he had, the squirrel had turned away and run up a tree beside the path. Although not particularly good, Dad did get this shot to prove we did see it.

"How wonderful was that", enthused Grizzly. "With our indigenous red squirrel being so endangered it is quite rare that we get to see one."

At the start of the bridleway, the sign read 'Sosgill Bridge 1.5miles'.

This was just a little way off our route, but being a classic Lakeland packhorse bridge, dating from the 18th century, it was well worth deviating to see it.

"Wow that is so lovely", said Little Eric, who had not seen the bridge before.

Returning to the main path, we continued on coming through the grounds of Low Bridge End Farm. Seeing a sign, Tetley said, "the cafe I remember is still here. Are you going to call Dad?"

"Tempting, but I intend to go to Grasmere afterwards and have tea at the Wordsworth Hotel, and perhaps I might get to see Kim, if she is on duty at reception."

Walking on we then came across more sheep, but this time they were all completely black.

"With despair once again in his voice Allen said, "I guess it's picture time again."

"Sure is, lad", Dad replied. Then saying, "I wonder what breed they are?"

We are not real experts in this field, so were unable to supply Dad with an answer. However we have since looked up sheep breeds on the Internet, and think that they are either Black Welsh Mountain or Hebridean.

Onwards, the path eventually was seemingly blocked by the St John's Beck, but turned right beside it, and this was a nice scene that Dad snapped.

Soon the path climbed to be high above the beck, as it made it way over the shoulder of the fell below Wren Crag, and then on finally to reach the gate once again to the road, going left over Smaithwaite Bridge to the car, now one of about a dozen parked on the verge.

"Thanks of a great day, Dad", said Little Eric, on behalf of us all.

Now, as Dad had said, we went to Grasmere and the Wordsworth Hotel for a cream tea - two scones butter jam and cream and pot of tea. Being a tea belly he asked for a second pot, offering to pay but the lady serving would not take payment. As for Kim, she was sadly not on today. Dad was disappointed as he does really care about her, and wanted to see if everything was OK.

So now time to head home. Being Bank Holiday the Lakes were unsurprisingly very busy, and the traffic into Ambleside was no exception, being grid locked. However this is where his local knowledge comes into play. We turned off near the main car park and took the steep road, called the Struggle, to Kirkstone Pass. Then down to Troutbeck and left via Moorhowe Road to rejoin the main road at Ings, so saving lots of queueing and hassle!


shopify analytics