A Riggindale Round

4th December 2019

I managed to grab a day off work to take advantage of dry and bright forecast midweek but typically I had less sunshine and more cloud than what was forecast but it is December in Lakeland so I grabbed the day with both hands and set off for one of my favourite walks.

The Riggindale Round is another of my go to walks, a walk where I don't have to think too much about the route and where I can just enjoy the views and let my mind wander. It's the type of walk that satisfies in all kind of conditions while being blessed with one of Lakelands iconic ridges and most probably one of Lakelands most iconic 'Pike' coming second in my opinion to Pike O'Stickle.

i cut my walking teeth on this ground and it feels kinda like home, I can honestly say that I don't think I have more of an emotional link to the Lakeland fells than I do here in Mardale.

Wainwright Guide Two
The Far Eastern Fells

Appealing mainly to the lovers of mountain solitude.


Ascent: 2,533 Feet - 772 Metres
Wainwrights: 3, High Street - Rampsgill Head - Kidsty Pike
Visiting: Rough Crag
Weather: Cloudy With Varied Sunshine. Feeling Brisk Over The Summits. Highs of 6°C Lows of 1.7°C Max Wind Speed 19mph
Parking: Car Park, Mardale Head
Area: Far Eastern
Miles: 6.5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL5
Time Taken: 4 Hours 10 Minutes
Route: Mardale Head - Rough Crag - Caspel Gate Tarn - Long Stile - High Street - Straights of Riggindale - Rampsgill Head - Kidsty Pike - Kidsty Howes - Riggindale Beck - The Rigg - Mardale Head

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA10 2RP
Grid Reference: NY 469 310
Notes: Probably one of the most scenic car parks in Lakeland found at the head of the Mardale Valley offering easy access onto the High Street fells plus many more. The car park during Summer can fill up quickly but with most car parks in Lakeland if you time your arrival early enough your always guaranteed a parking place. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery

Mardale Head 08:20am 5°C
I usually stop to take a few pictures after passing over the bridge at Rowantreathwaite Beck and this morning was no different. Here I look across to Harter Fell over on the left with the top of Nan Bield Pass centre and Mardale III Bell seen right, nice to see Haweswater is looking full again after weeks of rain.

The Rigg, the Rough Crag Ridge, the Straights of Riggindale, Riggindale and Kidsty Pike from the same spot.

Harter Fell (Mardale) and the top of Nan Bield Pass seen as I look back on Mardale Head.

The car park was staring to fill quickly as I kitted up behind my car before three cars arrived one after the other. On the opposite side of the car park a solo walker is kitting up while I ponder on todays route whether or not to include High Raise, I guess I'll see how Im feeling when I'm up there. Strong winds were forecast today, mainly across the tops but at valley level it's on the chilled side but relatively calm in terms of wind, that said I kit up with the forecast in mind.

With most folk stood behind their cars ktiting up I get an early lead and pass through the gated Deer fence then turn right towards the footbridge over Mardale Beck before continuing along the path towards The Rigg, not before a quick photo from one of my favourite 'photo stops' as I look back on Harter Fell.

Riggindale and Kidsty Pike.
Todays descent route can be seen via Kidsty Howes over on the right, it's a steep descent in places with the odd rock step thrown in but nothing too technical even if the rock is wet.

Looking down on The Rigg and Haweswater Reservoir.
This spot is another favoured location of mine looking down on The Rigg from a step in the stone wall. Found alongside the footpath around half the way up Swine Crag.

Rough Crag is sighted with High Street beyond.
Besides strong winds the forecast did say we may see some sunshine between the cloud which is starting to break up above the eastern and far eastern fells.

Moody Kidsty Pike.
Taken between Heron Crag and Rough Crag.

Fabulous light taken from Rough Crag summit.
With Long Stile and Short Stile capturing the sunlight perfectly.

Adding scale to Long Stile.

Now less the zoom.
Instead of heading straight for Long Stile my plan is to bear left along a faint trod towards Caspel Gate.

Everything in this photo...
...explains why I love walking at this time of year.

Blea Water and Mardale III Bell.
The sun might be out but the temperature has taken a drop, it's time to add some extra layers in the form of my neck gaiter.

High Street and Long Stile from Caspel Gate.
The tarn isn't named on any map but it's commonly referred to as Caspel Gate Tarn.

It's such a lovely spot.
Did I mention this is another favourite 'photo spot' of mine, no wonder I love this walk so much.


Looking back on Rough Crag from Caspel Gate.
Time to roll the sleeves up now with the last push on High Stile.

Teasing light over Nan Bield Pass.
With Harter Fell beyond and Mardale III Bell north ridge seen in the foreground.

Looking down on Blea Water.
Not far from the top of Long Stile now.

A distant Harter Fell (Mardale) from High Street summit.

From the top of High Stile I paused to look back on the Rough Crag ridge sighting two walkers who were by now ascending towards Caspel Gate from Blea Water. It was also from here I took a reading using my Anemometer which recorded a temperature of 1.7°C but it felt much colder in the wind which fluctuated between 15mph and 20mph.

I struck out and made my way towards the Trig Point which had a solo walker standing by as I approached but he moved off just as I arrived where eyes locked and a 'morning' was shared. Two more walkers were heading towards the trig point from the direction of Thornthwaite Crag and I let them have the summit after I patted the trig with my right glove, then turned around and left.

Views over the Gray Crag and Hartsop Dodd ridge.
Towards Dove Crag (left) Hart Crag (centre) Fairfield (right) and Dollywagon Pike (far right) while in the foreground Hartsop above How.

Light my way...
I'm heading over the Straights of Riggindale towards The Knott seen in the distance, from The Knott I'll ascend Rampsgill Head seen centre before making my way towards...

Kidsty Pike.
Seen far right with High Raise in the distance.

Gray Crag, Hayeswater, Brock Crags and a host of Eastern fells in the distance.

Looking back on High Street from the Straights of Riggindale.
With Short Stile now seen left.

Rampsgill Head and High Raise from The Knott summit.
It always amazes me how many people walk past this fabulous summit while on their way to High Street and beyond, just like the two fellows I passed a few minutes earlier. You can see the path I'm about to use to gain Rampsgill Head over on the right, it's a pretty straight forward march up to the summit but today the path was muddy which slowed my ascent.

Moody Thornthwaite Crag and the top of Stony Cove Pike from The Knott.

Place Fell rainbow from Rampsgill Head summit.
I'd lowered my neck gaiter because I was getting uncomfortably warm but by the time I'd reached Rampsgill Head summit I was propping up my gaiter with the end of my nose. I'm not quite sure what the weather is going to throw at me next but it looks like a shower is passing over Glenridding right about now.

Kidsty Pike next.
I left Rampsgill Head and headed east passing the familiar un-named tarn before linking back up with the footpath bound for Kidsty Pike summit.

Foreboding light captures Harter Fell, Mardale III Bell and the Rough Crag ridge.
That's Caspel Gate seen in the foreground but you didn't need me to tell you that.

Selside Pike and Branstree seen above The Rigg and Haweswater Reservoir.
I've grown very fond of the descent via Kidsty Pike and thereafter, Kidsty Howes but those making their ascent never seem to share my thoughts especially the couple I'd just bumped into from Askham who thanked me for our 'extra long chat' which allowed them a cheeky rest, I couldn't blame them though as THE ascent on Kidsty Pike via Kidsty Howes is steep from the start.

Looking back on Riggindale, Kidsty Pike and Kidsty Howes.

Harter Fell (Mardale)

From The Rigg I took the slight descent alongside the stone wall where it started to rain and quite heavy too, the rain hadn't been forecast and had caught everyone including me by surprise. While fellow walkers took the rain in their stride and day trippers ran for cover popping up umbrellas or making hasty returns to their cars. I stop to pack my camera away then shouldered and got wetter than a wet thing in the five minutes it took to reach my car, in those five minutes and in this rain it pays to plan ahead.

Unlock car, open tailgate, remove boots, add mid trainers, remove jacket, shake jacket, hang jacket on hanger, remove hat, place hat on parcel shelf to dry, remove gloves, place gloves on parcel shelf to dry, remove lunch from pack and place on passenger seat, start engine, set heater to max, take in your favourite views while stuffing your face.


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