LOUGHRIGG, RYDAL CAVE & LOUGHRIGG TERRACE from GRASMERE

 


Summary

Date - 30th September 2013 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
1190ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Village car park, Grasmere (NY 3370 0736)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Loughrigg 1101 335 NY 3470 0514

 

Preface

"We have not been out walking for nearly two weeks", remarked Little Eric.

"Well Dad has had a lot on" replied Tetley, "but I think he is hopeful of taking us on Sunday, so let's hope it will be a decent day from the weather point of view."

Allen meanwhile had grabbed the iPad and with a few taps of his paw, he was on the Met Office site. "Sunday looks good, dry, quite sunny and warm for the time of year."

"Great"cried Little Eric in reply. "Now all we have to do is decide where to go."

Further thoughts on this matter were temporarily interrupted as Grizzly and Shaun arrived with the cake and tea.

"Ooh great", called out Allen, "I am gasping for a cuppa and my tummy is rumbling too."

"How you take after Dad", laughed Tetley. "He is a tea belly and his plaintive cry is 'I'm hungry'.

"Well thanks to help from Little Eric, there are cherry & ginger scones, as well as apricot and raspberry slice", said Grizzly.

I'm spoilt for choice" replied Allen, going off to get the mugs and plates.

So then with steaming mugs to paw and scone or cake on our plates, our thoughts turned once again to where to walk this coming Sunday.

Tetley said, "we all know that Dad does not intend to repeat all the Wainwrights for you to complete the challenge, Little Eric, but I have been looking in more detail at the ones you have done. In a way there are seven separate challenges within the total, being the individual books. In this regard you have done most of those in Book 3 - Central Fells, and just two further walks would see that book completed.

"That would be good", responded Little Eric. "So which are the walks that need to be done?

There is the Greenburn Horseshoe, that takes in Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott & Helm Crag, and the other is to climb Loughrigg", replied Tetley.

"Well I think we should ask Dad, as it is his legs that will be carrying us round", interrupted Shaun.

"I agree", said Little Eric, "And I do not mind which Dad decides on."

I'll go", said Allen. "Can you fill my mug for when I get back?"

"Sure replied Shaun, as Allen dashed out of the door.

A few minutes later he returned, and after taking a sip from his mug, said, "Dad prefers to do Loughrigg. Last time we climbed it, we started in Ambleside, so he suggests that we do it from Grasmere, as a variation."

"I can see his reasoning there", replied Grizzly. "It will mean he can go to the Wordsworth Hotel and maybe see Kim."

"Whatever, I am looking forward to getting out again, and seeing as we are going to Grasmere, perhaps we can bring Southey along again, as well", said Little Eric.

"I don't see why not", replied Grizzly, "and I know it will make his day."

 

The Walk

Dad had said that he wanted to set off no later than 08:30, so we made sure we were up early with the picnic made and stowed in Allen's rucksack in good time.

"Right time for off", called out Dad.

"OK", replied Shaun as we headed for the door an settled in the car.

There was little traffic this early on a Sunday, we made good time and in just under an hour we were leaving the main road and heading into Grasmere village, where Dad parked in the village car park at the start of Red Bank Road.

"I wonder if Kim will be on today?" said Southey.

"It's not far to the Wordsworth, so before we start the walk, we will go and see", replied Dad.

As we walked in, there she was at reception, and seeing Dad she said "again", as it was only two weeks since Dad last saw her. But she was pleased to see Dad who told her that we were going to climb Loughrigg, and when he turned round she got to see us tucked in the rucksack, which made her smile even more.

Saying, "see you later", Dad walked back the way we had come, past the car park and on along the narrow Red Bank Road, that runs above the west shore of Grasmere. The day was dry, quite sunny and warm for the time of year so shorts and t-shirt were the order of the day for Dad.

Shortly we passed Faeryland, the open air cafe. "It's a long time since you went there Dad", remarked Grizzly.

"It is too lad. I cannot remember the date, but it was with Uncle Eric", Dad replied.

Just a few yards further, Allen called out, "the view of the lake through that gap in trees, will make a nice shot."

Initially there were fields on either side, but as we got more under the slopes of Silver How, the road became enclosed by woodland.

"Silver How, was Dad's, yours Shaun, and my last Wainwright", remarked Tetley.

"That's right, and it is hard to believe that it is just over 6 years ago now", replied Shaun. "My how time flies by."

The trees were quite beautiful in their full leaf, and this one with red leaves made a nice contrast against the different shades of green.

Dad strolled on and after a few minutes, Allen called out, "that is a lovely view of Grasmere, with Seat Sandal and Great Rigg as a backdrop."

Tetley added, "the summit of Fairfield can be seen too, just overtopping Great Rigg. I like the way the trees in the foreground add to the picture, and they are just starting to show their autumn colours."

After a little while, we saw a sign indicating that the road was about to climb steeply, and Shaun called out, "it is just ahead where to leave the road and take the path forking off left through the woods."

"Thanks lad", Dad replied.

The sylvan path was wide and had a good surface, being created by the National Trust who own the land. This brought is to a gate on to another track, and going left the start of Loughrigg Terrace.

"Our return route will be along the terrace, but the ascent starts here", said Shaun, pointing to the graded path up the fell.

This popular path has been much repaired, with steps in some parts. It climbs steadily, and about three-quarters of the way, we reached where the so called Grasmere cairn used to be, as there was no evidence of it today. From here the summit was now in view topped by its trig point.

However it was the view looking back that made Southey exclaim, "that is truly magnificent!. Thank you pals, for allowing me to come with you again today."

"You're welcome", replied Grizzly. "We are just glad you are enjoying the walk."

So, it was not many more minutes before we crested the final rise and reached the summit.

"Yippee", cried Little Eric, "another Wainwright ticked off. Come on pals let's pose for our picture."

"Last time we were up here it was calm and cold, but with the wind today we will not be able to sit on top of the trig point", said Allen.

On the ascent and here at the summit too it was busy with people, but Loughrigg is a popular climb and not too demanding either!

Dad and Uncle Eric have a theory that 90% of the people climb 10% of the fells, Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Scafell Pike and this too etc. This then leaves 90% of the fells for the other 10% of people. Judging by the fact that we have been on many walks to summits where we have met few if any other people, they may well be right.

All around there were excellent views. Looking south Windermere, stretched away and in the foreground the wide grassy path that descends to Ambleside.

In the south-west/west quadrant is the bulk of Wetherlam and Elter Water.

Tetley explained, "the mountain behind to the far left is Coniston Old Man, while on the right the ridge rising from Wrynose Pass is called Wet Side Edge, that culminates at Swirl How, having crossed to the right Great Carrs in the process."

"What are those mountains called?", asked Southey", looking round further to the right.

"The Langdale Pikes", replied Grizzly. From the left the rounded summits of Loft Crag and Pike o'Stickle, then Harrison Stickle and to its right Pavey Ark."

"Let's sit over there and have a snack", said Dad, putting the camera in its case.

"Ooh yes", cried Allen, rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

"I have said this before, you're just like Dad, always hungry", laughed Tetley.

So with the magnificent view to Grasmere, we munched away contentedly on our sandwiches, and cake.

"So what is the plan for the rest of the walk?", asked Southey.

"We make the descent to the east, to the path above Rydal Water, then along Loughrigg Terrace to join up with our outwards route from Grasmere.", replied Little Eric.

"The descent path will be a new route for us all, too", added Tetley.

We did not hurry over lunch as such were the wonderful views we were reluctant to leave, but finally Dad said, "time to go Lads."

After following the path just a few yards, Dad stopped and took this shot looking up to the trig point.

Passing a small tarn, the path continued down, there being a few different options, but they all came to a single path on the lower slopes.

"Those little wild flowers are nice", remarked Southey at one point.

"They are harebells", replied Tetley.

On its east side Loughrigg stands above Rydal Water, one of the smaller of the lakes. It is seen here on the descent, backed by Nab Scar, which when doing the Fairfield Horseshoe in the usual anti-clockwise way, is the last of the nine summits.

Minutes later, our descent was completed as we joined the wide and busy path above the lake, where just to the side is Rydal Cave.

It is actually a man-made cavern, which was formerly known as Loughrigg Quarry. The cave has been hollowed out of a rocky outcrop, where over two hundred years years ago, it was a busy working quarry supplying excellent quality roofing slate to the surrounding local villages.

"None of us have ever been here before. Can we go inside, Dad?", asked Shaun.

"Sure Lads, let's go."

A stile gives access, and then along the path on the right and after a short clamber over some rocks, we were inside, with nice reflections of the rocky roof in the stagnant pool.

It was quite dark at the back, but nevertheless we hopped out of the rucksack and did some exploring. "Be careful", called Dad, as he concentrated on getting a picture looking towards the entrance, Dad again getting some nice reflections in the pool.

"OK lads, are you all done?", called out Dad.

"Almost", called out Allen, "we'll be there in a minute."

We were true to our word, and settled in the rucksack again. "That was fab", cried Southey. "I never expected to be exploring a cave."

"We are so so lucky", replied Tetley. "We have had many many superb adventures and seen so many wonderful things, and explored parts of the countryside that I reckon not many people have been to."

As Dad made his way back over the rocks out of the cave, Shaun said, "we follow the path left, heading towards Loughrigg Terrace."

This is part of the round of Rydal Water and is a very popular path, so it was not surprising, with the day being so nice, that it was busy. Before reaching the Terrace, we came upon a seat by the path, and Little Eric called out, "will you take our picture sitting on the seat, Dad?"

"Of course", he replied, and once we were settled he lined up the shot.

Soon then we rounded the corner and climbing slightly we reached Loughrigg Terrace. "Look, Little Eric", called out Grizzly. "That prominent fell is Helm Crag, famous for the two rocks called the Lion & the Lamb. As Tetley said when we were planning this walk, it is intended that this will be our next hill walk and doing the round of the Greenburn Valley, and Helm Crag will mark your completion of Wainwright Book 3-Central Fells."

Allen went on, "the Lion & the Lamb can be made out at this end of the ridge. The round will involve climbing Steel Fell behind and right, and crossing the ridge on the left over Calf Crag and then Gibson Knott, that is hidden behind Calf Crag."

"Ooh that sounds great, and let's hope that an opportunity comes up soon to do this", enthused Little Eric.

Dad then continued along the Terrace, and very soon looking right, we had this fabulous view of Grasmere. "Breathtaking", said Southey with wonder in his voice. "Thank you all again, for letting me come today."

Although busy along here, Dad did find a vacant seat, and we all sat a few minutes, taking in the beauty of this view. "Having ancestors from the Cockermouth area, there is no doubt in my mind that Cumbria is my spiritual home", said Dad with absolute conviction.

The path led to the end of Terrace, where we had started our climb earlier, and passing through the gate, we strolled the lovely path through the woodland on Red Bank. Part way Grizzly called out, "that branch poking between the split trunk of the tree, looks a bit like a large snake."

"So it does", agreed Tetley.

Soon now we reached Red Bank Road, and strolled along this to the village and the car, passing on the way this wall post box dating from the time of Queen Victoria, embedded in the wall of Lea Cottage.

"Well that was a great walk, thanks Dad", said Little Eric.

"You're welcome."

"Refreshment time now, I guess", mused Tetley.

"Sure is, and I am going to the Wordsworth for a snack and a bit of a chat with Kim too", replied Dad

"Can I come along too?", asked Southey.

"Of course lad."

Walking into the hotel, Kim saw him, saying, "you're back. Did you have a nice time."

"Yes I did", was Dad's reply.

Southey poked his head up and got fussed a bit. There was some more chat, including Kim saying, "I am excited as I am picking my new car up tomorrow."

"That's great, you will be really happy to be mobile again."

Then Dad went for lunch, having a beef sandwich & chips with a pint of Tetley bitter. Very appropriate we thought! Then calling goodbye to Kim as he left Dad and Southey went for a walk round the village, including visiting the jigsaw shop. They stock a huge range and Dad spotted one that has no less than 32,000 pieces, being currently the largest in the world.

"Goodness me!, exclaimed Southey, "that is truly immense.

Looking it up later on the Internet, we found that it comes with its own trolley to wheel it away, such is the size and weight! And definitely Dad is not in any way considering buying it. One reason being that there is not enough free floor space in the house!

A cracking day!

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