For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 13 August 2007

Loughrigg





Just back from a wonderful week in the Lake District. The plan was: to camp in Langdale and to follow a pattern of 1 challenging high-level fell day followed by 1 or 2 days on easier lowland paths. Because of my left knee problem. I'm pleased to say this generally worked. Saturday 4 August at 11 pm found me in a rainy Ambleside. Slept in the car. I was on a budget, so that saved a night's campsite fee! And, surprisingly, I actually did sleep, curled crookedly on the back seat with a rug over and a window ever-so-slightly open. Early next morning I pitched at the National Trust Campsite in Great Langdale. I was eager for the fells, but wanted something to ease me in gently. Loughrigg seemed ideal - that fine and friendly, knobbly lump of a hill overlooking Ambleside, full of nooks and crannies, ferns, tarns, rocks, caves, marshy bits and magnificent viewpoints. One of Wainwright's favourites. And justifiably popular with everyone else that warm Sunday. I approached Loughrigg Terrace from the western end of Rydal Water. Great views of Grasmere, Helm Crag and Fairfield from the Terrace, raking at a very easy angle across the northern flank before meeting an obvious path on the left which climbed directly to the 335m summit (see 1st photo). Then a lovely, undemanding descent via Brow Head Farm and over the river Rothay to the northern fringe of Ambleside, picking up the track to Rydal Park and Rydal Hall (see 2nd photo) which began at a stone gateway just beyond Scandale Bridge. Rydal Hall and its adjacent buildings now house a Christian Community and Retreat. Formerly this area was of prime importance to the Lakeland poets and their notion of what constituted the picturesque. Close by I located Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's home from 1813 to 1859 (see 3rd photo). From Rydal a path contoured the lower slopes of Loughrigg above Rydal Water, passing 2 caves. These were man-made, part of the Loughrigg slate quarrying enterprise. The higher cave was very impressive. Dripping water and the cries of sand martins echoed spookily; and the spoil heap outside was covered in English stonecrop with its star-shaped white flowers and pink-tinged succulent leaves. Soon I was back at my starting point and contemplating a much bigger and grander walk the next day...

5 comments:

Paul Williams (walkingwithwilliams) said...

Glad you enjoyed this area of the lakes. If my knee allows, I will spend some time in september or october lower level wild camping. Looks like you caught the end of the recent good weather also!

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, was lucky with the weather. Watch this space for stuff on the Langdale Pikes & more over next few days! Not to mention detailed report on Old Dungeon Ghyll's lamb curry with home-made chips...

Paul Williams (walkingwithwilliams) said...

Don't mention Lamb Curry - not with the little blighters running around Langdale and even more importantly - because I am hungry!

The Solitary Walker said...

Their Beef & Beer stew is damn good too - with half-rice, half-chips - plus a pint or two of real ale, naturally. Whoops, sorry, mentioned food again..!

John Hee said...

Yes - there's a lot of good stuff on Loughrigg, especially if you can get away from the beaten track and the day trippers from Ambleside