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The Britannia Inn

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Two Loughriggs Walk

By Paul Fry, 10 February 2012 – 0 comment
Hand drawn map of the route Illustration of Loughrigg summit with stone built structure

Caption: The triangulation point at the summit of Loughrigg

One of the "7 Walks from Elterwater" by Ian and Jill Rimmington which has been specially customised for guests of the Britannia Inn.

Type: Intermediate fell walk to Loughrigg Fell and Tarn.
Distance: Approximately 6 miles. One section of steep ascent.
Footwear: Stout footwear is essential.
Map needed: Explorer OL6.
Start: Britannia Inn

Fell walking has its risks. Always have suitable footwear, clothing and carry a map. The directions are correct at time of print but cannot be guaranteed at the time of your walk! Please keep to rights of way.


Loughrigg offers the challenge of an intermediate fell walk on one of Lakeland's most popular fells. The summit (1101 feet) is gained early in the walk, and the outstanding views will make the effort well worthwhile.

Suitable clothing, provisions, footwear and map are essential. Remember the weather on the fells can be different to that in the valley bottoms. Local fell top weather forecasts can be obtained on 08700 550575. It is sensible to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return.

Point 1-2

Leave the Britannia Inn and take the lane between Maple Tree Corner and the village bowling green, soon joining the main road to Ambleside just outside the village.

Turn right towards Ambleside, cross the cattle grid and then take the first lane on the left. At the first bend take the path on the left by the National Trust sign. Cross the stream over two wooden bridges and ascend gently into Low Wood.

Bear right at a fork in the path, and then continue alongside a metal fence until the corner of the wood is reached. Bear left, staying in the wood, and the path soon joins an old carriageway. Keep on the carriageway through the woods, ascending to reach a gateway. Opposite here, go up some stone steps into the gardens of High Close, which are open to the public through the National Trust.

The path passes by rhododendrons and continues past the rear entrance of the Youth Hostel. Ascend a short grassy bank and take the stone steps on the left leading to a walled terrace. Midway across the terrace, descend some more stone steps and take the path straight ahead that runs parallel to the road. At the end of this path, go through a metal gate and join the road.

If you could look down on Elterwater at this point you would be amazed how much height has been achieved with a minimum of effort!

Point 2-3

Diagonally left are a wooden gate and a signpost into Deer Bolt Wood. Take this path and descend gently through the trees, through a gateway and then a kissing gate. Here, bear right, crossing a stream to join the Loughrigg Terrace. Below is Grasmere Lake and beyond it the fells of the Fairfield Horseshoe and the Helvellyn range. Take the path that rises steeply up the fell to Loughrigg. The climb is made easier by the many stone steps and cobbles constructed to control footpath erosion.

As height is gained, Rydal Water creeps into sight and all of Grasmere Lake becomes visible in what is a quite stunning view.

Over the lake is Dunmail Rise, the ancient route from Grasmere to Keswick. Here, in the 10th century the Cumbrian King Dunmail was defeated in battle by Edmund the Magnificent, brother of Athelstan. A large cairn at the summit is reputed to mark the scene of his defeat, an event which is said to have been greeted with some pleasure by his subjects. The King is described by historians as being self important and a great lover of liquor. Following his defeat he was exiled to North Wales, his Cumbrian reign having lasted just a few inglorious years.

Later, as the path reaches a cairn, the distinctive shapes of the Langdale Pikes, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags can be seen over at the head of the Langdale valley. The path becomes less steep as the Triangulation Point marking Loughrigg's summit comes into view.

The triangulation point at the summit of Loughrigg.

At Point 3

If the summit is reached on a clear day, the effort of the ascent is more than repaid with outstanding views in all directions. Here, it is worth taking a moment to check the route down and identifying the general direction in which you will be heading. Looking ahead towards Lake Windermere the route generally follows a line towards its near side, crossing the fell for about ¾ of a mile. In bad conditions the safest, quickest and most straightforward descent is back the way you came.

Point 3-4

From the Triangulation Point continue straight ahead and soon one of Loughrigg's many small tarns appears on the left. Carry straight on. The path is broad, well marked by cairns and soon becomes more pleasant underfoot. Lots of minor paths criss- cross the fell and offer the opportunity to explore, but if you do so remember your general direction line and don’t wander off the main track in mist!

The route keeps to the broad path for approximately ¾ of a mile, passes another tarn on the left and eventually veers left to overlook a small valley. Here the path descends a rocky section and heads towards a stream. Turn right just before the stream and join the path that descends alongside a stone wall.

The path follows the wall around the fell, heading down in the direction of the Langdale Valley. At the bottom, the path reaches a gate. Here turn sharp right through another gate signposted "Loughrigg Tarn and Grasmere".

This then takes you to the carriage way around Loughrigg Tarn.

Point 4 to Elterwater

Follow the carriageway round, past cottages on the right. Then take the path on the right by a wooden bench. Go through a gate, turn left and follow the path up through the trees. The path continues past another gate and across stiles until it ends at a tarmac road. Cross the road and take the public footpath diagonally opposite. Follow the way marks across the field to a wooden gate. Keep close to the wall on the left and head through a gap. With the wall now on the right the path ends at a rather impressive stile, over which is the lane back to Elterwater village.

Turn right down the lane and then shortly fork right, descending to join the main Ambleside to Langdale Road. Turn right again and make your way back through the village to the Britannia Inn.


Why not plan your stay with some of the other "7 Walks from Elterwater" - available from the bar for just £3.00 each!

"High Close" A relaxing 3 mile stroll to the High Close Estate and through the villages of Walthwaite and Chapel Stile.

"Loughrigg Tarn" An excellent 6 mile walk through lanes, woods and meadow to one of Lakeland’s most picturesque tarns.

"Waterfalls" A superb 6 mile walk through Little Langdale to the waterfalls at Colwith and Skelwith Force.

"Slaters Bridge" A delightful 8 mile walk combining the scenic paths of Little Langdale and Slaters Bridge with lesser used paths over the lower fells.

"Great Langdale Valley" An 8 mile walk through the magnificent Great Langdale Valley.

"Lingmoor Fell and Blea Tarn" A 9 mile walk, providing a great opportunity to enjoy the fells away from the main tourist tracks.

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