Loughrigg Fell - Walk a little, see a lot
Published: Tuesday 9th Apr 2013
Written by: Natalie Barker
Lake District Walks – Loughrigg Fell
There are all sorts of walkers come to The Lake District, some want to tackle the highest fells and hardest peaks while some do the low level walks around the lakes. For those walkers wanting the best views, few fells offer the panorama that Loughrigg can provide. At only 1101ft Loughrigg doesn’t have the grandeur of some of her neighbours but she more than compensates with the views west across Great Langdale to the Langdale Pikes, Lingmoor, Wetherlam, Dow Bank, Huntingstile and a little further South to the Furness Fells. Stand at the summit and look north taking in the fabulous Helm Crag and Dunmail Raise over Grasmere. Walking a little East & South gives superb views of Fairfield and Wansfell rising over Ambleside and Lake Windermere.
From most of our cottages access on to Loughrigg is a very short walk from the door but for the purposes of this blog we’ll be setting off from The Britannia Inn in Elterwater.
Facing ‘The Brit’ turn right and walk up the hill towards our office (our sign can be seen from the junction by the pub). Walk past our office and at the crossroads go straight across following the road up the hill towards High Close YHA, the views as you walk up the road get ever better with each few feet you ascend. When you reach the YHA follow the road down until you reach the junction with Red Bank Road, in front of you is a gate leading into ‘Deer Bolts wood’ go through the gate and follow the path as it winds to the right passing through another gate and onto Loughrigg Terrace. Ahead of you will be a short stone bridge (literally A stone) and just beyond this is a steep path leading up to the summit of Loughrigg. It’s worth passing this fell path and walking on another 50 yards to take in the view of Grasmere form the lower terrace path. After you’ve enjoyed the view return to the steep path and head for the top, I take my time over this as the view behind me causes me to constantly pause and enjoy it again and again. The summit of Loughrigg is marked with a high cairn which can be seen for some distance as you walk up the summit path.
At the summit head South-East along the fell top, the path is well walked an easy to follow but remember where you are and take care as an inadvertent slip can spoil a great day out. From here you’ll great views in all directions, but the major change comes as you leave Grasmere behind and Loughrigg starts to fall towards Lake Windermere. Wansfell comes into view with Ambleside spread out in the valley below. From the cairn at Black Mire Loughrigg drops steeply (take plenty of care) before levelling again towards Todd Crag which marks the southern end of the fell. Between Black Mire and Todd Crag is a very well maintained footpath which runs east/west between Ambleside and Skelwith Bridge, if you wish you can turn right here and head for Skelwith, or you can continue on to the top of Todd Crag and get the best view of Lake Windermere before returning to the path and (turning right when approaching from Todd Crag :-)) heading towards Skelwith Bridge and the picturesque Loughrigg tarn.
To get to the tarn follow the path and do not turn off until you reach a gate with a single lane road (no tarmac) leading off in front of you, one coming from the left and a house opposite on the corner to your right. Turn right here and go through the gate leading around the back of Loughrigg Tarn, cameras at the ready as this path offers some superb photo opportunities. Follow this lane to the end and then turn left along the tarmac road passing Oaks Farm about 100yds down the road. Beyond Oaks Farm turn right at the next junction and follow the lane until it comes out at the main Langdale valley road (B591) then turn right. From here is a 100yd section of road with no footpath so take care while walking it. The end of this section is marked by a cattle grid (with gate access next to it).The start of the valley proper is here as the land drops away onto Elterwater Common and The Langdale Pikes rise up is the distance. Elterwater village can be seen from here and can be accessed along the road or down any of the winding paths which lead through the bracken. Return to The Britannia for a well earned drink.
Overall this walk covers about 5 miles with the most strenuous uphill sections taken care of right at the beginning, after the first hour you can get away with saying ‘it’s down hill all the way’ to kids or any reluctant walkers in the group...