Friday, 19 October 2012

A Tiny trip up High Rigg, St. Johns in the Vale.

This was intended as a 'leave the backpack in the car' little Hike to the summit of this very worthwhile Wainwright fell. Although relatively easy you can make a good family day out on this fell, get stunning views on a good day (which 18th October wasn't), but we were passing, heading for Loft Crag and my colleague had both of these to do to be within one fell top of completing the Wainwright summits. I don't normally go to these lower fells, having lived in the county virtually all of my life and looking to the fells initially more for exercise than beauty, I've left them, though that has been a mistake on my part which this year I've been putting right.
 A number of months ago I walked this fell with my wife, parking up at the Rough How Bridge layby on A591 Map ref. NY302206 and walking the track on the west of the fell, connecting with the single track road, looping toward the Youth centre before heading up to the summit. The day was better than today and the views were lovely. We had headed back across the fell top though it was difficult to find a path to exit the fell from and found it a bit of a wall clambering scramble to return to the car. What I was trying to steer clear of was a dual carriageway road walk, well any 'touching tarmac' walk, which a return by the path to the east of the fell seems to suggest we would have to do, or cross a busy fast main tourist trunk road.
 Returning to today we took the St. Johns in the Vale road and turned at the road sign for the church and the youth centre. You go over Wanthwaite Bridge and turn left up a narrow single track road. When I say narrow, I met a cyclist on my return off the fell and had to reverse for him to pass on foot; narrow as a description is not 'gilding the lily'. One road gate to open, uphill a short way and there you are at the youth centre and church with reasonable parking.

Looking west to the Youth centre, Low Rigg just to the right. Our track is to the left of the youth centre.

St. Johns in the Vale Church. A beautiful tranquil place of worship but it is remote. There are many such buildings scattered in the valleys of Cumbria and worth a pause for a reflective period.

This is a low fell, but you are straight into an Achilles heel leg stretcher, though you quickly come across a piece of green slate and realise it is carved as a 'way finding' rock. This is very useful if you want to know the direction of Kilimanjaro, assuming you are wanting a slightly longer summit walk, though it does have some local fells too. I assume it's been placed there as an educational tool for the youth centre, which was currently occupied by children around 9-10yrs of age.

The carved rock, you can just make out the direction markings (click on it).

The view toward Blencathra, heaven is shining on Threlkeld, but not on us.

Looking to Grisedale Pike.

One further burst of energy and we are there, although limited, the views begin to open up though I neglected to take some shots. You get a good view toward Thirlmere and Raven Crag, also the Helvelyn Massif. Looking to the north you get Blencathra and Skiddaw.

The summit cairn of High Rigg, Skiddaw in Cloud, but Dodd and Latrigg in view.
As you view the above, looking left to right below Latrigg, you can see some white houses, a wood and a green field. It is difficult to make out, but Castlerigg Stone circle is just in view in the field's centre. Well worth a sunrise or sunset visit to take in it's full majesty. We keep on coming to this 'Rigg' reference. A rigg is a ridged hill and there are many references to such in Cumbrian place names.
 Well, time to move on and head for our main fell of the day, Loft Crag. We returned to the car though deviated to the left as there is a memorial stone to visit, which I had come across previously with my wife. I cannot find any reference to a history of it's placing, but knowing it's inscription how can you pass it by?
DIED 13 JUNE 1954
It is marked on the OS map, ref. NY30477 22340. Placed so he will no doubt never be forgotten, visited so he will never be forgotten.
 Now back at the car after a leg stretching 1.8km, 147m ascent walk, truly a killer! This also gives easy access to Low Rigg and Tewet Tarn if you want to slightly extend the walk.
 Time to move on to Loft Crag and the pub, in another write up.


  1. Some of the lower fells are really fab. I love Binsey, Black Fell and Walla Crag and many others...always worth trying them out as you say.

    1. I thought of you when I saw the memorial. I know you missed it last time, though map ref is off OS map.