Date - 16th January 2014 Distance - 3.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL4 Start point - Newlands Hause (NY 1927 2763)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Knott Rigg 1824 556 NY 1974 1887
Ill Crag (Newlands) 1791 546 NY 1997 1917
Ard Crags 1906 581 NY 2069 1977



As another squally shower beat against the window, Allen looked up from the book he was reading, saying, "it is just one storm after another."

"We really do deserve to have a decent summer, especially for all those poor people affected by the flooding", replied Tetley.

"You really do have to feel for them, as even after all the water has drained away, it will take them months and months to get back to normal and into their homes again."

"We have to count our blessings, pal", sighed Tetley.

"Yes, like Shaun and Grizzly bringing the tea and cakes. What's on offer today, Grizzly?"

"Chocolate caramel shortbread, and Little Eric has made some cherry and ginger scones."

"Scrumptious", cried Tetley, as he went for the plates and mugs.

Soon the tea was poured and we settled down contentedly, doing our best to ignore the rain.

"It was great to be out on the fells again, perhaps we will do some more hills on the next walk", enthused Little Eric.

Allen had to iPad in paw, and looking at the calendar, remarked, "there is a walk down for Wednesday, with Uncle Eric, so I do not think we will be going up hills. But, that does not stop us planning for when we are on our own."

Tetley suggested, "why don't we consider some in Book 6 North Western Fells, as that is one of the target books Dad is going to try and finish for you, Little Eric"

As Allen navigated to our website, and brought up the relevant page, Little Eric looking over his shoulder, cried, "look", Ard Crags is the one at the top, and I haven't done it."

"Knott Rigg stands at the other end of that ridge, and both are usually done together, so that would be two Wainwrights bagged", added Grizzly.

"And", went on Tetley, "there is and unnamed spot height on the ridge, that Birkett names Ill Crag, so that will be done too."

"Sounds just great", cheered Little Eric, "I hope Dad will agree to the suggestion."

"Well before Allen goes off to ask, we had better decide how we are going to tackle them this time", suggested Shaun. "In the past we have climbed to Knott Rigg from by Keskadale Farm, but there really is no where to park these days."

Tetley had been and got the Wainwright book, and finding the chapter on Knott Rigg, said, "one route is from Newlands Hause. The only thing about this route is that we will have to return by the outward route."

"We have walked from Newlands Hause before, when we were mopping up the last few Birketts. It was High Snockrigg, that day", recalled Allen.

"Well, even though it is a linear route, it will be a new ascent of Knott Rigg, so I say let's go for it", cried Little Eric.

"OK pal, I'll go and see what Dad thinks", said Allen.

He was soon back, and by the smile on his face, he did not really need to say anything. "Dad agrees. So we will just have to hope that we get a good day when he is free, amongst all this bad weather. Oh and he says to ask Southey if he wants to come, as there is bound to be time to go for a snack at the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere afterwards."

"I'd love to", he enthused, when Grizzly, asked him later.

Well as it turned out this was to be much sooner than we thought. The Wednesday when the walk with Uncle Eric was planned, was a total wash out, so had to be cancelled. But the next day, Thursday, was dry, so Dad told us he was taking advantage of this, to get this walk done.

"Hooray", we all cheered, when he told us.


The Walk

As the walk was quite short, we did not have to be off at the crack of dawn, but nevertheless it is quite a long drive , so we were off before 09:00.

North on the M6, then west along the A66. As we neared Keswick, Dad said, "I am trying to avoid the very narrow road via Stair, so intend to go to Braithwaite, to get on to the Newlands Pass road."

"Sounds a sensible idea", agreed Shaun.

Well you know the saying about, 'the best laid plans...' All was fine initially for about half a mile, until we got to the end of the village. The road is single track, and due to a delivery by a builders merchants, it was completely blocked by their wagon.

"Oh heck!", exclaimed Little Eric.

We sat a few minutes, but it was obvious the delivery was to take a little while, so Dad reverted to the other route, taking the road via Portinscale. Beyond and quite soon through Stair, we joined the pass road and continued left, under the slopes of Barrow, then seeing Causey Pike rising on the right, at Stoneycroft Bridge. Then shortly the steep hairpin was reached at Keskadale, and Allen called out, "look pal, there is Ard Crags rising steeply."

The road was now pretty straight along the Newlands Valley, before finally climbing to the Hause, where there was verge parking on either side.

Dad began to get ready, and meanwhile we looked about us. "That's the route we take", called out Shaun.

The path can be seen clearly meandering up the fell, Southey saying, "I don't suppose that outcrop is the summit?"

"Oh that it was pal, but there will be a bit further to go, I'm afraid", replied Tetley.

Soon ready, and with us tucked in his rucksack, Dad made ready to set off, but first took in the view towards Buttermere, to which the road finally descends.

Tetley said, "the lake in view is part of Crummock Water. Behind the dominant fell to the rear is Red Pike (2478ft 755m) with in front the lesser height of Dodd (2103ft 641m), while to the left can be seen the summit of High Stile (2644ft 806m)."

"What is the little prominence, to the right of Red Pike?", queried Southey.

"Little Dodd (1936ft 590m)", said Grizzly straight away. "Back in August 2011, it was my 1000th summit."

"Right, we had better be getting on", stated Dad, turning and crossing the road to the ascent path, marked by this signpost, that seem more appropriate for bears.

Rather unusually the distance is shown with fifths of a mile. However as Dad's GPS was to prove, it was not entirely accurate, the actual measurement to the summit of Ard Crags being 1.83 miles.

The day was to be dry but cloudy with a cold wind at times, as Dad started up the path. On the opposite side is Moss Force, that forms Moss Beck, and soon with the joining of High Hole Beck, becomes Keskadale Beck, that runs through the valley on its way to Little Town.

We had already gained quite a bit of height when Dad took this picture, his solitary car looking quite small. Allen remarked, "the path climbing on the extreme right from the car, is the one we took when we climbed High Snockrigg. It is hard to believe that was nearly three years ago, now."

As we neared the nose, the gradient increased, to then afterwards climb more gently, as made our way along the ridge.

Looking ahead, Southey said once again, "is that the summit?"

Again Shaun's answer was , "no pal, there is still more walking to come. However, what we can see is the twin summits of Ard Crags, peeking out darkly behind the right side."

Over the rise seen above the ground levelled and became a little boggy in places. Here the summit of Knott Rigg, backed by the dark brooding Wandope, finally came into view, and we made our way towards it.

"Yippee", cried Little Eric. "Come on pals, lets get settled for our usual picture."

The summit is marked by a small pile of tiny slate pieces, and with a strong breeze it was necessary for us to use Dad's rucksack as a wind break.

Soon settled again, Dad strolled on and very soon we reached the next bump, where he slipped the rucksack off, announcing that this was the Birkett summit of Ill Crag (Newlands). No cairn marked the summit, so we sat just off the path on a grassy hump for the picture. Then it was onwards towards the final objective Ard Crags. To the left, is the humped back Scar Crags, with Causey Pike hidden behind Ard Crags.

Shaun said, "we are at about 1800ft, and have to descend to the depression at 1660ft, before making the ascent."

Like many fells, as we made the climb, we crossed a few false summits before finally reaching the top of Ard Crags, that has a small cairn.

"Yippee", shouted Little Eric, "that's the summits bagged. Come on let's sit at the cairn for the picture."

Looking east, Tetley remarked, "that is quite a lowering sky, but it is broken by the sun catching Blease Fell on Blencathra. Quite an atmospheric shot I think."

While away to the left was the unmistakable shape of Causey Pike. "My, it is nearly four years since we last climb that with Uncle Eric", said Grizzly. "How time flies."

So now all that was required was to retrace the route, seen here looking to Knott Rigg. Past the immediate foreground is the down and up depression, with just beyond Ill Crag and more distantly Knott Rigg.

As Dad made his way, we were rewarded with nice views of the fells forming the ridge now to the right. Here are Wandope with at the far end Whiteless Pike. "I have those to bag in this book", said Little Eric.

"That's right lad, and perhaps we will get them done for you sometime this year", was Dad's reply.

Further along looking back to the left, was this fine view of the beautiful Newlands Valley.

At the back is Skelgill Bank, rising to the ever popular Cat Bells, while to the right is the ridge containing Scope End that leads up to Hindscarth. The road we had travelled can be seen, and the buildings of Keskadale Farm, that we had passed through.

So soon we were at Knott Rigg again, and the ascent route was again reversed to descend to Newlands Hause. Here some of our wonderful and favourite Herdwicks were grazing. Dad was quick to get his camera out and snap shots of the two that posed.

So, that was that. Little Eric bagged the summits, being three Birketts and two Wainwrights. And of course our pal Southey bagged them too.

So now it was to the Wordsworth Hotel in Grasmere, Dad taking us all in and settling on a large settee in a corner of the bar. We had not expected to see Kim, and indeed were informed that she was on holiday for a few days. To eat Dad had his usual lovely Brie, avocado and tomato ciabatta with a pot of tea. He got into conversation with the waitress Sue, about walking, and other topics. She had for a little while worked at Armathwaite Hall, and realising that Dad and Uncle Brian go to stay regularly, she was pleased to hear about how people she knew from there were going on.

So after a nice walk and nice meal, we headed home a very contented and happy group!


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