Silver How and Loughrigg


A few years ago*, TBH and I had a spring wander around the Grasmere area which finished along Loughrigg Terrace. The slopes below the path were clothed in bluebells, the scent was heavenly, and TBH has been very keen to repeat the experience for a while now.

(*I checked. It was eleven years! Where did the time go?)

The bluebells had been out around home for a week or two at least, but my gut feeling was that we were a little early in the season, it being the last day in April. But, once TBH has conceived an idea, it’s hard to deflect her from her course.

We weren’t early in the day, I can’t remember now what the hold-up was, but I was concerned about finding parking on a sunny Bank Holiday Saturday. I vowed that we would park in the first convenient spot that we found, which turned out to be the White Moss car park between Rydal Water and Grasmere. There were loads of spaces there, hardly surprisingly, since, operated as it is by messers Teach, Morgan and Kidd we were obliged to leave a kidney each to cover the cost of a few hours parking.

Anyway, as you can see in the photo above, we’d barely left the carpark before my misgivings were waylaid – the bluebells were out in all their glory.

River Rothay.
Grasmere, looking toward Helm Crag.
Grasmere – Seat Sandal and Stone Arthur rising beyond.
Looking across Grasmere to Stone Arthur, Great Rigg and Heron Pike.

We walked along the western shore of Grasmere as far as the footpath allowed and then along the minor road, looking for the path which climbs through Wyke Plantation. Of course, I’d managed to manipulate TBH’s desire for a walk in the Grasmere area into a convenient opportunity to tick-off a couple more Wainwrights.

Silver How from Wyke Plantation.
Silver How from just beyond Wyke Plantation.
Grasmere and Rydal Water.
Loughrigg and Spedding Crag.

When we’d done most of the climbing onto Silver How, and reached the little col seen from below a couple of photos above, I felt that we’d probably got the best shelter we were going to find, and that a lunch stop was in order. I suggested this to TBH, but she was very much against the idea.

“No. I’m intermittent fasting. Only water before three o’clock.”

Steel Fell, Helm Crag, Helvellyn etc, Seat Sandal, Fairfield, Great Rigg.

This was news to me, but I reckoned I could manage. So, press on till three o’clock then.

TBH approaching the top of Silver How. Lingmoor, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes behind.
Grasmere, Rydal Water, Loughrigg and a glimpse of Windermere.
Loughrigg, Spedding Crag and Elter Water.

Our route would take us along the ridge over Spedding Crag and then up Loughrigg.

Lang How. Quite imposing. A Birkett, but not a Wainwright.
Looking back to Silver How.
Elter Water. Black Fell beyond and Holme Fell on the right of the photo.

I’m always surprised, when I see it from above, by just how big Elter Water is. The path beside the lake only allows partial glimpses and you can never get a feel for its proper size.

On Spedding Crag. Langdale Pikes and Silver How behind.
Spedding Crag and Silver How.
Loughrigg and a partial glimpse of Loughrigg Tarn.
High Close Estate.

We walked through the grounds of High Close Youth Hostel. The grounds belong to the National Trust, are open to the public and well worth a look. I’m afraid the photo just doesn’t do them justice. We stayed at High Close for a very wet weekend a mere seven years ago.

The first part of the ascent of Loughrigg was unnecessarily unpleasant, because I insisted in believing the OS map. The path shown doesn’t exist on the ground, but there is a good track setting off from the road junction further north.

TBH climbing Loughrigg. It was trying to rain.
And again. Langdale Pikes, Silver How and Grasmere in the backdrop.
Black Fell, Holme Fell and Elter Water.
Lingmoor and Great Langdale. Clouds looking a bit ominous.
Loughrigg summit. Langdale pikes and Lingmoor behind.
Wansfell Pike and windermere.
Ewe Crag, Rydal Water, Heron Crag and Nab Scar.

I liked the look of the path which dropped down beside Ewe Crag. I didn’t think that I’d been this way before and I thought the route would offer plenty of shelter for a long overdue lunch stop. It was past three o’clock so no more impediment, surely.

Ewe Crag, looking towards Helm Crag and Dunmail Raise.

I found a lovely, comfy looking spot, dug my lunch, my flask and my sitmat out of my rucksack. It started to rain. TBH was unmoved by my protestations of imminent starvation: you simply can’t stop when it’s raining, apparently, even if you are hungry.

All the way down the slopes of Loughrigg we could see dense patches of bluebell leaves, but the flowers weren’t out yet, so I was partially right about that after all. Next year we shall have to try a couple of weeks later. That way we might spot some Bog Bean and some Butterwort flowering too. At least the woods were full of bluebells when we got back to them…

Bluebells in the woods.

The following day we were in Eccles for the Colts final against Stockport. It was a close game, which made this spectator tense, but the boys prevailed in the end 15 – 7. (And yes, Eccles is a lot, lot closer to Stockport than it is to Kirkby).

My career as a sports photographer is not destined to be a glorious affair.

Here’s B lifting his captain in the lineout. In the 16 shirt. With his back to us.
And here he is in a kick-chase. Obscured by the flag.

I have other photos – of him in a scrum, or making a tackle, or buried in a ruck. Generally, it’s very hard to tell that it is B in the photos. Oh well, it was a very happy day out.

I don’t have a map of the route, MapMyWalk started to play up again. This seems to happen from time to time. Eventually, I end up uninstalling it and then reinstalling it and it’ll work fine again. For a while.

Anyway, two Wainwrights – Silver How and Loughrigg. Not all that far. Not all that much up and down. How’s that?

Silver How and Loughrigg

7 thoughts on “Silver How and Loughrigg

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Likewise, I didn’t visit many of my favourite bluebell spots this year. I haven’t really done the local, or evening walks which I would normally do. Hopefully, they’ll still be there next spring! I have noticed the invasive Spanish bluebells growing in local woods, which is a shame.

  1. I remember Loughrigg well as my second ever Wainwright, not into the whole map reading thing we ascended by the usual terrace path, but as is my way I refused to return the same way (I like a loop). My boys were 5 and 3 and had walked to the summit. However my youngest was tired and decided to fall asleep as I carried him straight down the front of Loughrigg via a bracken covered rocky stream!!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      An improvised route! Sounds perfect. Now you’ve got me thinking. Second ever Wainwright? First ever Wainwright?
      I know that my first Munro was Schiehallion, climbed on a family camping holiday in about 1978. I know that we stayed in a caravan somewhere near Grange-Over-Sands around the same sort of time and I have a vague recollection of a wet and windy walk on a hill or hills overlooking a lake – could have been Windermere, could have been Wansfell? Otherwise, my first (or second) would have been whatever my first Lakes hill with the University hiking club was. Andy has a much better memory for these things than I do, and it was almost certainly with him. Possibly Helvellyn or Fairfield.
      First ‘proper’ hill, something in the Peak. First mountain, Cader Idris almost certainly. It’s way too long since I was last up there.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I actually feel much better when I manage to stick to it, but when I’m at work I’m bored by lunchtime and my resolve crumbles.

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