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" Low, lower and High Rigg "

Date & start time:       Sunday 1st December 2019.    12.15 pm start.

Location of Start :     The Youth Centre, St Johns in the Vale, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 205 224 )

Places visited :          Low Rigg, tewet Tarn, High Rigg and back.

Walk details :           3 mls, 800 ft of ascent, 2 hours 45 minutes.

Highest point :           High Rigg, 1,163ft - 357m.

Walked with :              Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                      A lovely late autumn, early winter blue sky day, cold in the shadows.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


Another late autumn day, perhaps we should now say a winter's day as it is December and the temperatures are even colder than yesterday.

The sun is up, there's no breeze and we haven't climbed High Rigg for over two years, so today's a good day to do it.

A cold looking St John's in the Vale, from the road up to St John's Church and the Youth Centre.

Oh no . . . it's rush hour in St John's in the Vale !!

Fortunately we had already arrived and parked before the Church congregation started to leave.

Five minutes later and all was quiet in the Vale.

We added hat and gloves to the light winter clothing as the temperature outside was as cold as it looks.

The delightful, small church that gives the area its name.

The Youth Centre next to the trees,  the church itself is now hidden behind the building to the left.

The secondary accommodation block for the Youth Centre

as we take the path across towards Low Rigg and Tewet Tarn.

Where the sun's ray have not reached, the temperatures are still sub-zero.

Further on the warmth and the colour return.

Looking slightly backward, to the rugged cliffs that flank the sides of Clough Head.

Calfhow Pike's black crag stands clear of the summit ridge.
Each undulation hides more frost pockets.

Our first sheet ice on the path . . . but it is avoided reasonably easily by walking further to one side.

Rather than continue all the way to the wall, we head left around the crag on the left and look for Low Rigg summit.

You have to cross the wall at some point but so many people want to reach this top that the wall has collapsed slightly.

A few minutes of amateur dry stone walling later, a few stones were steadied and others replaced onto the wall

so as to make the crossing safer and as far as possible to protect the wall from further damage.

The view from the top . . . looking across to the cloud that is just catching the summit of Blencathra.

A wider view to show how the other tops appear clear.

To give you the bigger, clearer picture . . .

Click here or on the photo above for a 360 degree annotated panorama.

With the zoom lens on we can even see the Paragliders flying around the head.

Suddenly one appears from inside the cloud . . .

. . . and floats across the side of the escarpment . . . beautiful.

Looking around, slightly less beautiful, but perhaps more practical,

the ground work for the new Thirlmere pipeline as it begins to tunnel under Castlerigg Hill.

The Paraglider has crossed high above us and is now heading out towards Blencathra.

Quarter of an hour or so later the flier has gone and so has the cloud over the fell tops.

Down now to Tewet Tarn, its actual edge confused by a wide margin of vegetation.

Blencathra seen over the frozen tarn.

Ann stops to enjoy the view.

I wander down to try my hand at skimming ice.

A small patch of broken ice at the water's edge provides handy sized chunks that you can use for skimming over the surface.

It produces the most evocative zinging noise and due to the lack of friction, it travels all the way across the tarn.

Tewet Tarn from a closer perspective.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger annotated panorama.

Time to continue our walk and we start by heading back the way we came.

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This time we head for the stile in the wall

rather than Low Rigg summit.



This more direct path

will take us back to the Youth Centre

where we parked

and started our walk earlier.



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Our planned route is shown in white . . . not tippexed in later but real time white due to a frosty covering.

Before then we return to the church, the graveyard giving us shivers today

not from the thought of dying but from the cold temperatures in the lee of the hill !

A second view of the main entrance to the small church of St John's.

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While we were passing the car

we had a quick stop to place our micro-spikes

over our boots.


Available from all good outdoor retailers

these clever devices really add grip in frosty conditions.


- - - o o o - - -


The memorial stone set on the platform of flat ground above the Youth Centre

is frosted over to such an extent that the engraved words are hidden.

It was placed here in memory of Charles and Sandra Crane,

who were much involved in the work of the Youth Centre

and whom we knew through their involvement in Loweswater's

Amateur Dramatics - The Tethera Players


I expose one of the inscriptions

which I believe are places that the couple visited during their lifetime.

(see the link at the end of this page for a summer picture)

So we're off towards "Kilimanjaro" . . . well at least for a short distance in that direction.

The steep climb up the fellside takes us high above the buildings.

Near the summit the path levels but re-enters the shadows.

A last climb and we'll be nearly at the top.

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More of that delightful needle ice

that we saw yesterday.


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The summit ascended . . . time for a look around . . . starting with Clough Head and Calfhow Pike.

Why not look at the whole panorama yourself ?

Click here or on the photo above for our 360 degree annotated panorama.

Time for a light refreshments . . . a biscuit and a swig of water . . . and to enjoy the view.

Whiteside (appropriate today), Browncove Crags up to Helvellyn Lower Man, with the summit itself beyond.

Down the length of High Rigg to Great How and Thirlmere.

Looking west to the high summits of Eel Crag and Grisedale Pike.

Zooming in on the Castlerigg Stone Circle.

The unruly spread of white stones are in fact sheep . . . a sort of animated art installation you could say !

The view Neolithic man would have had if looking for the stone circle from High Rigg.

The vegetation would have been different and the houses wouldn't be there thousands of years ago . . . but the fells are eternal.

We take a delightful alternative route back down which heads a little more west of the summit.

It heads down past a small stream that supplies the Centre with drinking water

and will end up on the unmade road that leads back to the car.

A seat near the bottom offers a chilly rest point

but also highlight the start of the alternative ascent route should we wish to use it next time we are here.

Winter trees, winter sunshine on the first day of December.

Our car is parked just the other side of the trees.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a sensible home storage system to find the winter micro-spikes when you want them.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 30th November - Low Fell on an Autumn Day

A previous time up here - 19th July 2017 - High Rigg with Trevor and Gill

Next walk - 7th December - Long How, Buttermere


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