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Central Fells Day 4+5 - Silver How and Loughrigg

Central Fells Day 4+5 - Silver How and Loughrigg

Postby nigheandonn » Sat May 16, 2015 5:13 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Loughrigg Fell, Silver How

Date walked: 12/04/2015

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Saturday was always supposed to be a rest day - at least from bagging Central Fells - and despite some confusion caused by the fact that the forecast was much much better for Saturday than Sunday, it stayed that way.

I did have a vague idea of going off somewhere else for the day (on the long distance walk rules that you can go off route and back in a bus as long as you start walking again from the same place), but I was quite tired, so it ended up being what I think of as a 'Tarbert day' - that being the only place I ever go on holiday to rest!

So I wandered down to the little bakery for breakfast, and it hailed unexpectedly and the tops of the highest hills turned white, then I went back to the hostel and lay about reading, then did my touristy bit and went to Dove Cottage, and had a late lunch and more laziness, and eventually a walk up to the Travellers' Rest, then I decided I didn't want to eat there and walked back to the village again!

Dove Cottage

Sunday morning was unfortunately everything the forecast had promised, and possibly more. I was restless after the lazy day and ploughed over through the pouring rain and sleet to have a proper look at the Napoleonic War exhibition at Dove Cottage quite early on (the ticket stays valid for a year), but even going that far got me wet through my dodgy waterproofs. I did go and buy a new pair of shoes after that, so at least my feet would be dry even if nothing else was.

The snow was settling further down the hills this time and looked like it might be there to stay - it was hard to believe that three days earlier I'd been getting sunburnt in a heatwave.

Snow on the hills

About lunchtime it finally started to look like clearing up, so I rearranged my plans - there definitely wasn't time to get from Blea Rigg to Loughrigg, and if I was leaving a hill out it had to be the one closest to the main ridge. so instead of heading for Easedale Tarn I set off through the grounds of Allan Bank for Silver How.

It was a nice walk in several distinct parts - first the park, and then a narrow path lined with trees and with views across the valley, and then up between parallel walls.


Above the walls things flattened out a bit - at least temporarily, but from here I felt more on the hill than climbing up the side of it.

Snow topped hills

The path led on through bushes which I took at first to be gorse, and then suddenly realised were Wainwright's 'well-defined zone of juniper'

The juniper belt

Wray Gill gave good views up and down, but was a bit of a challenge to cross with the stepping stones almost under water after all the rain - especially since I met two ladies coming the other way who stopped to watch that I got across safely, so felt under pressure! I made it across without mishap, though - and proved that the new shoes had more grip than the old ones.



Coming up the bank found myself much in an odd bumpy landscape, and much nearer to the summit than I expected - not that I really believed yet that it was the summit, but the path led there steadily.

Summit bumps

It was a good viewpoint for snowtopped hills all around, as well as the two lakes in the valley below.

Silver How summit

The ridge down to the road at Red Bank was the opposite of the way up - one of those routes that feels much longer than you expected it to be, and quite difficult to connect on the ground to what was on the map.

Descending the ridge

I thought I was on the gentlest path, but ended up in a rocky bit that I had to clamber down all the same, then thought I was already on Dow Bank long before I actually found the holly tree that marked the turn off before it.

Elterwater came into view, and then the road running parallel to the ridge, but I knew that I was heading on to meet it where it came across the ridge. It started raining again briefly, but only really enough to produce a rainbow over the hills to the north, as I came round a corner to see them again.

Rainbow over the Eastern Fells

Eventually I came down into a broad dip with a rise to the plantation of trees ahead, and headed round them to the left to meet the road near the end of Loughrigg terrace.

Finding the road

It was decision time again - I'd meant to go right over Loughrigg to Ambleside, but by my camera's clock it was almost 5, and I had to get the bus just after 6 to get to Windermere for the train. I thought I could probably manage a plain out and back, but it seemed a bit of a waste of Loughrigg to do it as a bagging run rather than an adventure - on the other hand, it could be an awkward one to leave behind (I did work out ways afterwards), and on balance I thought I better go for it, since I could always come back another time to appreciate it properly.

So I set off up the steps at best speed, glad it was a good path. I never did find the 'Grasmere cairn' that I was expecting to use as a landmark, but decided it was probably where the slope eased off.

Loughrigg steps

This time the summit was more deceptive than I expected, as I came over the next rise and found it still quite a distance away, but in the end I'd done road to summit in just under 30 minutes, which didn't seem too bad.

First sight of the summit

The summit was a lovely all round viewpoint on what looked like it might turn into a lovely evening, but I didn't have much time to spare for appreciating it.

Loughrigg summit

Through Dunmail Raise

Retracing my steps did produce a beautiful view of Grasmere - this is where I'd put the cairn if it was my job!


I was back on Loughrigg Terrace about 25 minutes later, and headed down the little path to the bridge over the outflow.

Loughrigg Terrace

Grasmere outflow

The problem now was knowing where the bus stop was - I tried to head up to the road, found myself only going through the woods on a path not as good as the river one, and then did come up to the road only to find that I still walked along to the White Moss carpark to find a stop - where they still had up the winter timetable which said that the last bus had been an hour ago, just to add to my confusion. However, I discovered a) that the camera clock was 10 minutes fast (as well as an hour slow from the clock change, but I knew that bit...) and b) that I'd downloaded the bus timetables to my tablet instead of just looking at them - so I could sit down reassured, only to confuse myself again by getting on a late running opentop 599 instead of the 555 I'd been waiting for, without noticing - it took me to the station, so all was well!

So I was leaving the lakes again after 5 days that had simultaneously gone in a flash and lasted forever - and just hoping for a dry spring before I come back to do the northern half of the central ridge in June. If not, I'll just have to come with shorts and jelly shoes!

SilverHow.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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Re: Central Fells Day 4+5 - Silver How and Loughrigg

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Tue May 19, 2015 3:13 pm

Another successful visit then, Loughrigg is certainly on my redo list as it was persisting down with bugger all visibility when I was there. Nice rainbow pic as well.
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Re: Central Fells Day 4+5 - Silver How and Loughrigg

Postby nigheandonn » Tue May 19, 2015 7:00 pm

I liked the snow and rainbow combination - very dramatic.

I always have to be fairly successful in the lakes, because everything is planned out and I know how limited my time is - in Scotland I can sometimes give up and go home :-)
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Re: Central Fells Day 4+5 - Silver How and Loughrigg

Postby CharlesT » Tue May 19, 2015 11:04 pm

Nice report. Silver How, for all its lack of stature, remains a favourite of mine. A typical smaller Lakeland fell, all bumpy with hidden nooks and crannies and lovely views. Also holds fond memories as the hill which marked my re-introduction to the fells in 1992 after years of absence in the South. I have a picture of it over Grasmere as PC wallpaper.

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Re: Central Fells Day 4+5 - Silver How and Loughrigg

Postby ChrisW » Wed May 20, 2015 7:14 pm

wow, the day really picked up as you went along. Lovely pics including that rainbow in the valley. The bus/no bus at the end had my head spinning :lol: glad it all worked out :D
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