The Newlands Hause Fells from Rigg Beck

31st March 2013

Last week while sitting out the bad weather Lakeland & indeed the whole country has been experiencing I compiled a list of around thirty new walks never attempted before by myself. A lot of the walks on that hand written paper maybe reserved until warmer climates arrive but not all of them.

This is walk four of that carefully compiled list.

The Newlands Hause Fells from Rigg Beck.


Wainwright Guidebook

The North Western Fells

-Ard Crags:

In fell-climbing (as in other pursuits) there is a difference between achievement and satisfaction. Ones sense of achievement is roughly in proportion to altitude gained by effort, but ones sense of satisfaction is not necessarily governed by the same rule. Lonely Ard Crags offers this.


Ascent: 2,848 Feet 868 Metres
Wainwrights: 3 Ard Crags – Knott Rigg – Robinson
Weather: Bright & Sunny To Start Turning Overcast Towards Midday, Bitter Winds On Tops, Highs Of 5°C Lows Of -3°C Feels Like -10°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Rigg Beck, Newlands
Area: North Western
Miles: 7.2
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL4
Time Taken: 5 Hours 30 Minutes
Route: Rigg Beck – Aikin Knott – Ard Crags – Knott Rigg – Newlands Hause – High Snockrigg – Buttermere Moss – Robinson – Blea Crags – High Snab Bank – Newlands Church – Rigg Beck

Map and Photo Gallery



Blencathra from Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Whilst on my way to Newlands I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head over to Castlerigg Stone Circle to take a few shots of Blencathra under such great morning light.

As I approached the Stone Circle I noticed a guy taking photos from his SLR mounted on a tripod, I hope you don’t mind I ask, but do you mind me taking a few shots, I’ll be out your way in no time, I get a polite smile & nod as he trots away, within minutes I am gone & the gent has Castlerigg all to himself again.


Sunrise over Clough Head from Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Time to get back on the road.


Ard Crags from Rigg Beck 08:07am -3°C

After leaving Castlerigg I soon found myself on the Newlands Pass & Rigg Beck Bound, given the fact that today is Easter Sunday & the popularity of Ard Crags – I try not to let the limited parking spaces worry me along the final drive in, needless to say I needn’t of worried as I arrive at an empty car park.

I kit up under a warm sun & question the fact on why I am taking full winter kit onto the fells this morning, with the ice axe & crampons ladling my pack I set off up the narrow track with Rigg Beck for company, minutes into my walk I delayer, hat & then gloves…now this feels spring like I mutter to myself.


Ard Crags, Sail & Scar Crags over on the right as the views start to open up.

I continue along the narrow path until I came to a crossing where I hooked a left & scaled over Rigg Beck with the easiest of jumps, from there I ascend the steep grassy bank on the left to join with Birk Rigg.


Ard Crags from Birk Rigg.

‘I always wanted a nice steep ascent straight from the car’

What Ard Crags lacks in height makes up for in steepness! It wont climb itself so I best press on.


Robinson, Hindscarth & Dale Head from my ascent.

I pondered, should I include Hindscarth on todays itinerary & return by a much awaited descent via Scope End? I see how I feel later…


Looking over towards the dominance of Causey Pike & a distant Blencathra from just below the ridge top.


Equally Scar Crags also dominates the ascent.


As does Sail.


The splendid ridge towards the Ard Crags summit serves just the one fault, it simply isn’t long enough.

I expected to see more people along the ridge top but found I had the whole summit to myself, here I took my time if only to take in this short expansion of Lakeland at her best.

It was now time to re-layer as the wind chill was mind numbingly bitter, queue the brain freeze!


Looking back along the ridge from Ard Crags summit cairn with Causey Pike’s unmistakeable summit Pike over on the left.


Robinson & Robinson Crags from Ard Crags summit, I shall be up there soon.


Zooming in on Keskadale Farm & part of the Newlands Pass from Ard Crags summit.


Looking back on one of Lakelands finest, yet shortest ridge walks.


Wandope, Addacomb Hole, Crag Hill (Eel Crag) & finally Sail in the foreground from Ard Crags.


Wandope & Addacomb Hole at close quarters.


The whole High Stile Ridge dominating the next part of my ridge walk towards Knott Rigg.

I found the pockets of snow left behind along the ridge difficult to get around so walking over them was the only option, its just snow I know but this snow was old & hard, walking over it almost turned my ankle more times than one.


Looking over the Newlands fells towards the whole Helvellyn ridge from Clough Head all the way to Fairfield, anyone along that ridge today would be having some great views & fantastic walking.


Turning my attention to objects more closer to home, in this case…The vastness of Wandope, something that you wouldn’t see whilst on her summit approach is just how much Wandope occupies the valley below.


Red Pike & High Stile from Knott Rigg summit cairn.


Still on the Red Pike theme, this time looking west towards the end of the High Stile ridge incorporating Starling Dodd & Great Borne.


Preparing for a sharp descent & an equally sharper ascent.

Thats Robinson over on the right & the flat bit ahead is High Snockrigg, I need to find myself on High Snockrigg in order to gain Robinson but first, its a steep grassy descent via Newlands Hause.


High Snockrigg & Newlands Hause from my descent off Knott Rigg.

I’ve viewed this fine grassy path many times but have never actually used it, I found it to be alot steeper than it looks from the Hause down there, even so It was still an enjoyable descent, all the while watching other walkers getting ready for their time on the fells down below.

I took the time to show my route onto High Snockrigg as It was new territory to me & from up here I could pick out my path quite clearly.


An alternative route an be found via Moss Force Waterfall but seeing as the waterfall had completely frozen, I deemed it safer to use the more user friendlier path to gain High Snockrigg.


Moss Force in her frozen impressive state.

As I crossed Newlands Hause I passed on my good morning to the walkers & climbers kitting up for a day on the fells, two of which were preparing for an ice climb using ropes & harnesses up the frozen falls.

A little too extreme for me but great fun if you know what your doing.

On with my own climb…


The Newlands Pass with Knott Rigg & Ard Crags over on the left of the pass with Robinson flanking to the right.


Gaining High Snockrigg.

If there were two matters that held thought one was this path & locating it, with the location clearly dealt with I pondered just how steep & if my legs could take the climb just a day or so after climbing Helvellyn through thick snow & taking on the ridge to Dollywagon Pike.

I wondered had I took on too much and yet was incredibly surprised just how much I liked this steep section. I guess there’s two ways at looking at steep ascents, the way that grinds you down or the other way; it may be steep, but this can only mean one thing; the steepness will get you there quicker.

(He says this as said walker pauses for yet more breath & unscheduled camera breaks)


Robinson over Buttermere Moss.

It was time to cross Buttermere Moss, A usually boggy place I understand, but not today, today I had the delights of crossing over frozen ground which sapped less energy.

Here I eye up my route as I can see two distinctive paths running through the snowline, in order to reach both I must cross Buttermere Moss, I do this by flanking right across the moss following a path used by fellow walkers.


‘So I’m not walking myself in circles’

The path under the conditions was an added bonus which as you can see had been widely used, I stick to the path but only for a short while when I notice sporadic boot prints leaving for Robinson’s main summit path.


A host of north western fells from Buttermere Moss.

I spent some time eying up two paths to gain Robinson’s summit, both of which looked almost alpine as one took on a more vertical approach than the other – which seemed to give the walker a more gentle approach as it hit the fell side from a more sideways angle.

Either way, despite the snow being crunchy & unable to bear my weight underfoot, I figure I am going to need my crampons & walking pole for this ascent.

(The thought of me questioning myself on why I needed winter kit this morning quickly fade)


I guess the Crampons have paid for themselves many many times!

The next part of the climb was both incredibly enjoyable yet immensely energy sapping. Blazing a trail through thick snow is hard work, I was lucky enough to be able to follow two sets of prints up my route today, none of which held my weight as each step punched through the thick snow which put much added time to my walk.


Looking down from one of the many breaks I took whilst making the ascent.


This time looking over Buttermere Moss towards the High Stile Ridge.


Here looking towards Mellbreak, Crummock Water, Loweswater & the Loweswater Fells.


Zooming on High Stile & Red Pike from my ascent, those of you with a keen eye may be able to spot a glimpse of Bleaberry Tarn.


Looking up towards the summit shoulder.

It seems the weather is turning slightly overcast from here on in.


Robinson summit shelter/cairn.

The summit was gained with tired thighs & aching limbs, by this point I had already made the decision not to press on towards Hindscarth as the wind cut through me like no other – chilling my bones to the core, I ponder about the summit making sure my decision was right not to carry on.

Decision made.

As the pain from my thighs fade I leave the summit with my hood firmly fixed over my beanie, my lips are chapped & my nose is running uncontrollably, it’s time to head down.

Richard Robinson of Buttermere purchased estates and this here un-named fell at the time many many centuries ago, back then, Robinson was known as Robinson’s Fell.


Grey cloud builds up over the south western fells as I take in the broad expanse of Robinson summit plateau.


A closer view of Kirk Fell (L) & Pillar (R) with High Crag in the foreground.


Looking over towards Dale Head & Littledale Edge, Hindscarth sadly is out of shot over in the left of the picture.

There’s four walkers in this picture, can you spot them? Click on the photo to expand.


Almost at the end of the summit plateau when I took this photo looking towards the Newlands valley & northern fells, it sure looks a little lighter above over there than it does here in the north west of the district.

I wander off right of the cairn & pick up my descent path, all the while in the back of my mind I keep a constant thought as to what condition the three rocksteps are in that I am going to encounter a little down the ridge.

The snow was running thin so here was also the spot I take off my crampons.


Looking down my ridge route (L) As I take in the wintery snow topped north western fells.

I guess it’s now time for lunch so I track down the ridge until I can find a place out of this bitter wind.


Lunch time & out of that wind.

It was nice to be out of that bitter wind, surreal even as I take my time munching on my sandwiches. I still have to negotiate the rocksteps situated on the other side of the crags ahead, but that can wait a while.


Looking back on the rocksteps from High Snab Bank.

The rocksteps were negotiated carefully & thankfully without incident using anything at hand including my arse & elbows.

The guy you see at the top was with his girlfriend who spoke with an Australian accent, I was asked the questions which seem to be getting more & more common as the season gets warmer.

Do you think we’ll be ok if we go up there?

Can I get up there do you think?

How long will it take us to go over that one & back to Keswick?

Are those boots or shoes?

Have you tried the hot chocolate in Keswick? its really good.

I’m all good with creating conversation on the fells but you have to stop at some of the questions being asked here…Only two days ago whilst talking to a hardened walker on Helvellyn was we touching on the same subject of such questions, his answer to them all was; if you don’t know how long it will take you, or where you are, you shouldn’t be on the fells.

Harsh but true.

I know this couple were just being friendly, & I did answer all their questions (the sane ones not the stupid ones) as best I could.

You’ve got to ask yourself this though? would you fly to the other end of the world & climb mountains that you have no knowledge of & carry no maps of?

Okay, lets not get bogged down on this one, lets press on eh…


Littledale Reservoir lies frozen from High Snab Bank.


Littledale & Littledale Crags together with Hindscarth (L)


Looking back along High Snab Bank towards Robinson & Robinson Crags.

It is time to leave High Snab Bank & head down the steep grassy path that will lead me all the way into Littledale & Scope Beck. There I can pick up my path for Little Town & eventually Rigg Beck, but, that is a little while away just yet.


High Snab Bank Farm with you’ve guessed it, High Snab Bank Behind.


Snow drifts cleared as I make my way to Newlands Church.

Sand & grit litter the road surface as evidence of a snow plough leaves scorch marks across the tarmac road


Newlands Church.

As I take in the single lane in-between High Snab Farm & Newlands I notice besides the scorched tarmac the fact that there are no lambs in the fields, here normally the fields are filled with young lambs bouncing around – tails wagging.

Not today though, its too cold for their young bodies to cope with, I’m thinking they need some good old fashioned Keswick hot chocolate down them I guess.

The small car park near Chapel Bridge is awash with cars (some parked more badly than others) taking in passing lanes & anything they can park two wheels on.

I leave the hustle of the place & take in just under a mile of peace & quiet before I reach Rigg Beck where I find its car park has just two other cars than mine, cyclist & runners take in this awkward little junction as I sip hot coffee from my flask, it seems a world a way from the blue sky walk of which I started this morning, nevertheless, another fantastic yet bitter day on the fells, roll on spring eh, not just for us walkers…for the lambs too.


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