Loughrigg 3

Date: 14 Nov 2019 Weather: 4’C, cloud, windy
Height gain: 1,093 ft Distance: 3.8 miles
Time taken: 2 hours Wainwrights: Duplicate

Route:  From layby on small road to Tarn Foot caravan site passing footpath to Loughrigg Tarn and on to path under Ivy Crag and Black Mire to the top and back the same way.

The wet and windy weather has been really set in for weeks now and we need to take our walking opportunities where we can.  A couple of hours of dry weather and good visibility was forecast for this morning but with strengthening winds.

We haven’t been up a mountain for two weeks now and I suggested a quick trip up Loughrigg from Skelwith Bridge, recreating a route we liked when we were staying near Skelwith Bridge this time last year.  It would also be good to test my perception that the Autumn colours aren’t quite as vibrant as they were this time last year.

As I got up that morning I could hear rain falling outside and so I was on the verge of changing my mind but S convinced me to go for it.  By the time we’d eaten breakfast the rain had stopped and the cloud wasn’t too low although we were both concerned about the forecast wind strength.

We arrived in Skelwith Bridge just before 11am and had intended to take the small road past Brunt How but when we got there we found the road was closed and roadworks were in full swing.  We carried on and, at the turning to the Skelwith Bridge Hotel we turned right up the tiny road to Little Loughrigg (despite the “no cars, access only” sign).  The road seemed fine and we found a nice big layby to park in at the point it joined the other end of the closed road.

We got our boots on and set off towards Loughrigg Tarn and were soon on the familiar footpath from last year.

We walked along the edge of the woodland and gained height on the good path.  The wall to our right is high, but as soon as we could see over it we had great views across to Whetherlam and Coniston Old Man and the sprinkling of snow on their tops:


We continued on the path which levels out after about 100ft of climbing and makes for very pleasant walking.  We can just see the Langdales part hidden in cloud behind us:


After just short of a mile and 300ft of ascent we leave the footpath (which carries on to Ambleside) and pick up a path to our left heading up the mountain.  The gradient gets steeper and we have a couple of short and fun sections climbing up craggy rocks.

The views across to Whetherlam and Coniston Old Man keep looking brilliant as we climb:


As we get closer to the top we start to get views down to Loughrigg Tarn with Elterwater also visible beyond it:


We carry on following the path upwards.  There’s a short but steep descent before we skirt around the bottom of a crag and then head up steeply for the final 150ft to the top:


The views look stunning with clear visibility against the dramatic sky but the wind is very strong now we’re out of the shelter of the mountainside.  We can barely stand up so we take a few hasty pictures before starting to descend where we quickly find shelter again.

We decide to retrace our route up rather than take the steeper path back via Loughrigg Tarn.  There are lovely views towards Elterwater as we start the descent:


Our two hour weather window is coming to an end and we start to feel spots of rain.  I catch sight of a short rainbow ahead of us as the weather shifts from sun to rain:


The route down is straightforward, the rain mostly holds off and we’re back at the car in less than an hour.

I’m very glad we came up here today – I enjoyed this route much better than the first time we did it and the views were lovely despite the cloudy weather.

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