As far as small climbs go in the Lake District, Loughrigg Fell is right up there amongst the ones with the most impressive views. Perfect for families, perfect for all weathers and perfect for escapism, even if you only have half a day.
From this walk and summit you can see so many of the lakes and waters of the Lake District from near or far. well known peaks are also visible. As good a 360 degree view as you can get, without climbing the top of the highest peaks in the area.
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My favourite place to start this walk up Loughrigg is from White Moss car park in between Grasmere and Rydal Water. The car park is situated on the A591.
Starting The Walk
Not only do you get the views higher up as you climb the actual fell. But you start by passing between Grasmere and Rydal Water via a wonderful woodland. I myself often combine this walk with a walk around the shores of Rydal Water itself if I have time.
Once through the woods the landscape opens up and you can turn left to carry on around Rydal Water, or as we do for the fell, turn right and slightly uphill. Before long and before hardly any climbing done, you have absolutely impressive views already over Grasmere and beyond. This stretch is called Loughrigg Terrace and it is where they filmed a lot of the glorious outdoor view scenes in the Beatrix Potter film.
From The Terrace To The Top
The zig zag up is not too bad at all, even for children. To the summit this route is just a climb of a couple of hundred metres in height. Always a shame to see people never leaving the roadside or towns and villages. On a clear day you will not stop looking back over your shoulder for the huge view of Grasmere, knowing more great views are to come.
Malc loves running around up here.
Eventually, as the summit nears, you will look back and see Grasmere has dropped out of view below. That doesn’t lessen the view at all as you see the expanse of the view beyond Grasmere village to the ridge over to Thirlmere and the road to Keswick meandering up in the distance.
At the Top
Then, you are there. The summit. One last look back down the direction you came, and over Grasmere..
But the views all around has you turning in circles. This is a spot for all weathers, not just sunshine. Mountains, lakes and landmarks appear in each direction.
Looking south you can see most of Windermere.
Over to the west you see Coniston Old Man appear above the Coniston Fells. Another big favourite. Elterwater nestled below.
Further round to the right the unmistakable Langdale Pikes and the great central peaks.
Yes, a summit you could spend ages on just looking out in wonder. A perfect picnic spot, if the weather is kind of course.
Now then, I personally choose not to go down the way I came up. I love a circular route for a start. Plus, the summit area is one to be explored. knolls, marshes, tarns and nature is all around you. If you see the Windermere view above you can see tracks off in lots of directions. Head, down and left from the summit away from where you came up.
The first section of the way down can be boggy or marshy but worth it in the end. Completely different views are ahead of you. More reeds and brown grasses than the lush green below.
This route takes you down to Rydal water, amongst the green, damselflies all around. You have the bonus of seeing this lake in full panorama as you descend too.
But, before you get all the way down, take the time to stop by Rydal Cave! 200 years ago this area was used to quarry the slate for the roofs in the surrounding towns and villages. Rydal cave remains as a huge cathedral type of cave with a stagnant water pool within.
The water is full of little fish and the hugeness and height of the cave tempts you in. (can I say here please, it your own choice to enter, as due to history of falling rocks, the authorities, I believe, would rather you not).
You will see, on a fine day, by the numbers of people though, a lot of people go inside. Darkness, reflections, swallows flying in and out by the hundreds. Quite an inspiring spot.
Just down below here you can walk back along the shores of Rydal Water and be glad of all you have seen, all you have experienced and how much of the lake District you actually saw! Look back at the peak and look forward to the next visit. It is a walk that keeps many people, like me, returning.
Distance: 3 miles
Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours
Parking: Nearest Postcode LA22 9SE
Pay and Display – White Moss Car Park on A591 between Rydal Water and Grasmere.