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Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.


Postby trailmasher » Fri May 12, 2017 8:49 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Ard Crags, Knott Rigg

Date walked: 02/05/2017

Time taken: 2.56

Distance: 9.77 km

Ascent: 597m

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Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Chris emailed me - what's wrong with a phone call nowadays? - to tell me that he had a new walking companion and could he bring him along "for a short walk only" as he needs to get hill fit and hill savvy. His new walking partner? a 20 week old golden Labrador that goes by the name of Sonny, or more often due to his still playful nature and habit of stealing the shower plug, chewing shoes, carpets, and most things that take his fancy, Sonny, no. I was soon to be on the receiving end of his playful pilfering when we stopped for a break and he tried to first get away with my small flask and then Chris just about managed to retrieve my GPS from his jaws before that was chewed up like some old piece of a hide pig's ear.

I thought that this walk would fit the bill as it has a bit of everything and not too demanding for a first day on the hills for a young 'un. Our own black Lab left us a few years ago so when Chris arrived with Sonny he was made a fuss of and of course soon got to know his way around the house. Every room was examined with a great deal of sniffing and charging about until we reined him in, threw him into the car and set off for Sonny's first venture into the hills.

We set off to take the A66 to pass Keswick and then on to the B5292 into Braithwaite from where we took the narrow road that runs along the west side of the Newlands Valley until we reached the small quarry car park that is by the bridge that spans Rigg Beck at approx NY229 201…
1 - The old quarry car park at Rigg Beck Bridge.JPG
The old quarry car park at Rigg Beck Bridge.

and overlooks the magnificent house that replaced the one that was well known as 'The Purple House', a famous landmark of the LD before it mysteriously burnt down to be replaced by what is there now. The story at the time was that the land that the 'purple house' stood on had been bought by the present owner of the new house, but suddenly a preservation order was placed on the old house due to its literary and artistic history therefore preventing the new land owner from building his new house. As the stalemate between land owner and the relevant authorities dragged on for months and with nothing changing on the site it was a surprise to drive past the spot one day on my way to Buttermere to see not a 'purple house' standing there anymore but a pile of still smouldering ashes. Nice one, what a way for a stalemate to come to an end. I wonder…

It's nice to see that the new house has one door that is painted purple in recognition of its forebear.

We were soon bagged and booted and setting off we picked up the path that leads directly west from the car park passing beneath Birkrigg Brow and following Rigg Beck all the way to its source below Sail.

As we ascend, Aikin Knott and Ard Crags are clear to see on our left with Rigg Beck disappearing into the distance as it tumbles down from the confines of the steeper slopes higher up the valley.
2 - Aikin Knott and Ard Crags with Rigg Beck to the left.JPG
Aikin Knott and Ard Crags with Rigg Beck to the left.

After a few minutes the dome of Causey Pike, the long ridge of Scar Crags, and Sail make an appearance on our right as we approach the ever increasing narrowing and steeping slopes of the hills on both sides.
3 - Causey Pike-Scar Crags-Sail with Aikin Knott and Ard Crags left.JPG
Causey Pike-Scar Crags-Sail with Aikin Knott and Ard Crags left.

The path is like a wiggly white line rising in front of us and the higher and narrower the valley gets the hotter it is. Stopping for a look back to the east the same wiggly white line disappears around the bend of the fell and leads the eye towards the stacked up mountain ranges in the distance and despite the haze and low altitude the view is quite breathtaking. To the west there is nothing to see yet apart from blue sky and more hard work in the heat of the day.
6 - Looking east down Rigg Beck towards  stacked up mountain ranges.JPG
Looking east down Rigg Beck towards stacked up mountain ranges.

It has been a glorious day from the start with plenty of blue sky and some cloud, but it's still hazy, a haze that these last few weeks has consistently made it hard to get a good and long clear shot of the distant mountain ranges, one that makes the distant views more opaque than clear. I'm not grumbling mind, I'm out, it's dry, and it's sunny and warm, a lot different to some of the walks that Chris and I have had this year.

Sonny has spotted some sheep and stops to look, a ewe and her two lambs. He hasn't seen any before so is a bit perplexed as to what he is looking at but makes no move to go and investigate. He looks at Chris and then me and back to the sheep. He gets a 'Sonny no' from his master and happily tags along behind us as we set off once again. A good sign that bodes well, as he was happy enough to look and learn. My dog never wore a collar and was brought up with sheep and cattle around him so treated them with great disinterest and apart from being in a town or city never had a lead on him. I hope Sonny gets to be like Nelson was.

It's hot and the puppy is lapping water up from anywhere that there is moisture. Chris has water with him for the dog but Rigg Beck is just below us and readily available and the odd sike that we walk over still has some water running down them as they help to keep the beck at a decent level.

The path is good and easy to follow as it wends its way at first gently upwards and then steepening as it approaches the screes beneath Scar Crags where the steepest part of the path is to be found. With the ground being so dry it was like trying to walk uphill on a bed of ball bearings on the steepest bits and being in the confines of the valley with the sun beating down soon made the glory beads appear on the brow.
5 - Rigg Screes.JPG
Rigg Screes.

Our place of ascent to Ard Crags is from approximately the highest point of the path just before it begins to descend towards Addacomb Beck and Buttermere. There is a bright green patch of grass below Sail from where the head of Rigg Beck starts its long journey down to meet up with Newlands Beck. This is where we would start the climb up the north side of Ard Crags after we had fortified ourselves on food and drink.

Years ago it was a climb up the raw fellside with no path in sight. Now as we sit here there is an all too obvious one wending its way slightly northwest and then north to follow the easiest line of resistance and looking at the tread marks on the ground is a favourite of the fell runners. We left the main Buttermere path and walked down a wide and springy grass path before starting the steep climb up the north flank of Ard Crags, a matter of some 114 metres of sweat filled eyes whilst seeing nothing but the grass beneath our feet as we toiled up to the summit.
8 - Chris and Sonny take the north side path to Ard Crags summit.JPG
Chris and Sonny take the north side path to Ard Crags summit.

Ard Crags summit cairn is nothing but a small mound of little stones directly at the path end and hardly seems the effort if one is looking for something of a more magnificent nature, but there is the bonus of superb views across the hills of the Newlands Round to the southeast with half of the Coledale Round towering over us on the opposite side. Over to the south and just peeping over the top of Knott Rigg we could see the tops of the High Stile Range and just beyond those a hint of the larger of the Wasdale Fells.
9 - Ard Crags summit with Whiteless Pike-Wandhope-Crag Hill and a touch of Sail behind.JPG
Ard Crags summit with Whiteless Pike-Wandhope-Crag Hill and a touch of Sail behind.

10 - Looking across Newlands to Cat Bells-Maiden Moor and High Spy.JPG
Looking across Newlands to Cat Bells-Maiden Moor and High Spy.

11 - A view towards Knott Rigg and the High Stile Range with Robinson to the left.JPG
A view towards Knott Rigg and the High Stile Range with Robinson to the left.

As we turned to the southwest we could trace the line of the ridge path as it meandered up and down, round and about through the grass and darker patches of heather towards the highest part of the ridge before us. Knott Rigg is some 25 metres lower than Ard Crags but looks the higher of the two summits from where were stood but once on the top of Knott Rigg it is quite obvious which is the higher of the two.
12 - The ridge between Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.JPG
The ridge between Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

It's an easy walk along the ridge, the path stony beneath our boots altered only by the exposed slabs of rock as we made the couple of short climbs that lay between us and the far summit. After a few minutes walking we arrived at a point opposite Addacomb Hole, a great scooped out hollow that lies between Wandhope, Crag Hill, and Sail and from where one tributary of Addacomb Beck originates.
13 - Whiteless Pike-Wandhope and Sail with Addacomb Hole centre.JPG
Whiteless Pike-Wandhope and Sail with Addacomb Hole centre.

Where the path crosses Addacomb Beck way below us to the north there are the remains of an old building - a good place to stop for a break when moving from one valley to the next - and as there are some signs of old mining works maybe it was associated with that?

I once climbed up the beck into the Hole and found it quite green and lush, so with the grazing and the water from the beck it can be seen as how this would have been an ideal place for the sheepfold that occupies it, it was also a good hiding place from any raiders from over the Border in days gone by.
15 - Wandhope and Sail with Addacomb Hole and Beck centre.JPG
Wandhope and Sail with Addacomb Hole and Beck centre.

On the OS map there is a path shown leaving the Hole by the ridge that leads all the way up to Wandhope summit and this is the way that I left Addacomb Hole, following in the footsteps of now long dead shepherds who - looking at the well worn path - must have made good use of the sheepfold. The path is/was good and is a great ridge walk, climbing along its rocky spine some 270 metres - 885 feet with the thoughts of a job well done when arriving at the summit of Wandhope.

Soon after passing the place of past memories we arrived at the summit of Knott Rigg that carries nothing but a thin covering of turf and a patch of bare rock.
16 - Knott Rigg summit.JPG
Knott Rigg summit.

From the summit we continued on for a few metres in the direction of Newlands Hause but then decided that there was no value in continuing any further apart from the views over and into Buttermere so we about turned and made our way back to Ard Crags and then on to descend by Aikin Knott.
19 - Walking back to Ard Crags and Aikin Knott.JPG
Walking back to Ard Crags and Aikin Knott.

The path from Ard Crags to Aikin Knott is easy to see as it passes through the brown heather that cloaks its sides, the highest point being not too much lower than its near neighbour and sports a similar sized cairn of small stones.
21 - Aikin Knott summit.JPG
Aikin Knott summit.

The path that is quite steep in places leads unerringly straight down the ridge…
22 - The view along the Aiken Knott ridge.JPG
The view along the Aikin Knott ridge.

24 - Maiden Moor-High Spy-Dale Head-Hindscarth from Aikin Knott.JPG
Maiden Moor-High Spy-Dale Head-Hindscarth from Aikin Knott.

to the more gentle slope of the long rounded grass and bracken covered 'toe' to then meet the green fields of Birk Rigg at its far easterly end. As there were sheep and lambs grazing on these pastures Sonny was now put on his lead but was more interested in picking up bits of bracken, twigs, and the odd hand grenade left behind by the sheep as part of their natural bodily functions.

As we passed through the fields there was a good view across to Cat Bells and Little Town…
25 - Little Town in the shelter of Cat Bells - Maiden Moor and Knott End.JPG
Little Town in the shelter of Cat Bells-Maiden Moor and Knott End.

before we dropped behind the high ground to find the gate and lane that would now take us to the holiday cottages of Birkrigg from where a short walk along the metalled road took us back to the car park at the old quarry.

A short walk to introduce Sonny to the delights of the nature, hills, and animals of the Lake District be they wild or domesticated. A hot sunny start and a hot sunny end to a decent walk on two of Lakelands lower tops that do nothing to diminish the views and exhilaration of being out on the fells on such a fine day as this.
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trailmasher
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Re: Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Postby Mal Grey » Fri May 12, 2017 9:48 pm

Looks good to me, the Lakes have a unique beauty that is softer than the highlands and not as wild, but extremely picturesque.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Postby thefallwalker » Sun May 14, 2017 11:05 am

thanks for this walk mate :D
a super introduction for what lies ahead for the lad :lol:
hope the gps still works & the flask isn't leaking! :lol:
Sonny slept all the way home & another couple of hours at home, but the boy done good :clap: and was back to his usual self the very next day, pilfering all that is not nailed down, I'm sure he has dog Tourette's :lol: :lol:
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Re: Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 14, 2017 11:31 am

Mal Grey wrote:Looks good to me, the Lakes have a unique beauty that is softer than the highlands and not as wild, but extremely picturesque.


Thanks for your comments Mal :D I have also done quite a bit in the Highlands and find beauty of different kinds in both :clap:
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trailmasher
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Re: Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Postby trailmasher » Sun May 14, 2017 11:35 am

thefallwalker wrote:thanks for this walk mate :D
a super introduction for what lies ahead for the lad :lol:
hope the gps still works & the flask isn't leaking! :lol:
Sonny slept all the way home & another couple of hours at home, but the boy done good :clap: and was back to his usual self the very next day, pilfering all that is not nailed down, I'm sure he has dog Tourette's :lol: :lol:


You're welcome TFW :) will have to stretch him a bit more on the next one :lol: and at least he didn't 'mark' his new territory whilst rampaging around my house :lol: :lol:
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Re: Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun May 21, 2017 8:17 pm

Ah, a pup's first hill walk. Brings back memories of Hughie's first outing up Roseberry Topping as a small ball of white fluf and teeth. Two very nice lower fells these two, lovely short wander.
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Re: Sonny takes to the hills - Ard Crags and Knott Rigg.

Postby trailmasher » Mon May 22, 2017 10:23 am

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Ah, a pup's first hill walk. Brings back memories of Hughie's first outing up Roseberry Topping as a small ball of white fluf and teeth. Two very nice lower fells these two, lovely short wander.


Aye he was a tad excited with the strangeness of the surroundings :lol: but he did well on his first trip out on, as you said, on 2 very nice tops :) Thanks JKLL :D
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