High Rigg on a Lovely Winter’s Day

6 01 2015

Mon 24 Nov 2014
One of Richard’s yet-to-do Wainwrights was High Rigg – an easy ramble across a lovely, undulating fell with many summits. As he was a bit tired after the day before’s walk, we decided this would be a nice easy day and drove around to the carparking at the junction of St. Johns-in-the-Vale and the Keswick to Grasmere road. The carpark was a pay-and-display and we thought two hours would be sufficient – that turned out to be quite optimistic!

Photos a mix of Richard’s digital and my film – click on for full size/resolution
The walk starts by returning along a lane to the main road to cross the river bridge and then we took the first stile back into the enclosure to take the path up the end of the fell. It’s a pretty steady climb but most of the height is gained in the first half mile or so. There were good views back down to Castle Rock of Triermain – a climbing crag I used to think I wanted to climb. After studying it during our ascent, however, I thought it looked harder and taller than I first imagined – I believe it isn’t as firm as it looks either (my photos for a while)!

Castle Rock from High Rigg Start

There were lovely views across to the Dodds Ridge – here looking at Watson’s & Stybarrow Dodd and, of course, Castle Rock yet again…

Castle Rock from High Rigg

An arty-farty shot of Castle Rock through the trees…

Castle Rock through the trees

Richard continuing on the great path up the fell…

High Rigg Start

And his photo of the ‘parkland’ look nearing the top of the climb…

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About a quarter of the way along the fell, there is a deep dip to a wall crossing and the second half of the fell. I looked at my watch at this point and realised that, with all the stopping and taking photos, we had no chance of getting back before our parking ticket expired. I informed Richard of this and we decided we didn’t really care as it was mid-week, there were only two cars in the carpark and we were unlikely to get caught. We continued to dawdle along and take photos – I took these of the second half of the fell and the exit of the dip…

High Rigg - Second Half

High Rigg Gill Crossing

I took another of Watsons & Stybarrow Dodds…

Watsons & Stybarrow Dodd from High Rigg

We both took the same photo of Clough Head above a little tarn but my photo won!

High Rigg tarn to Clough Head

My camera won the next tarn photo too which we both took…

Clough Head across High Rigg tarn

We then both took photos of the lovely golden continuation of the fell and I like both photos equally – Richard’s first…

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High Rigg to Skiddaw

Despite the view being great both sides of the long fell, I have a fascination with Clough Head and especially its Sandbed Gill which is known for its very tough scrambling (more like rock climbing I’d say – I certainly wouldn’t tackle it without a rope). Richard was equally fascinated as he still has Clough Head to do and was quite impressed with its architecture – he took this great zoom of it…

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I liked this one with the ridges of High Rigg in front so snapped it…

Clough Head across High Rigg ridges

and we both took this one across a lovely dip of golden bracken but I like mine best ๐Ÿ˜‰

Clough Head across High Rigg dip

We then strolled along to the summit where Richard took this photo looking towards Blencathra…

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We then both took photos towards Skiddaw and the Lonscale Gap from the start of the descent (Richard’s first)…

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High Rigg Descent to Skiddaw & Calva

Richard took another photo of Blencathra from the lovely path through the golden bracken…

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Halfway down, the descent becomes very steep indeed and we had to watch our footing for a while. Just before the steepening, I took a quick photo of Low Rigg (which we decided we didn’t have time to include unfortunately) before turning my attention back to the arresting Clough Head again…

Across Low Rigg to Skiddaw

Clough Head from High Rigg end

Richard took a beauty of Low Rigg and the outdoor centre and then one of St. Johns-in-the-Vale church…

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Just after the church, we branched right onto the track which cuts back under the east side of the fell along the riverside back to the carpark. Unfortunately, this path was out of the sun for our return…

I wasn’t sure whether this would be a wasted shot so asked Richard to take it – came out alright but he has a better zoom than me…

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While I took one across the river…

Clough Head across river from St Johns

Another close-up of Richard’s followed by a nice one of Blencathra…

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I then continued my obsession with Sandbed Gill – my photo first and then we both took a zoom but Richard’s was better (that zoom again)…

Sandbeds Gill & Tree

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My obsession was by now starting to become a tinge of ambition every time I looked at the gill. I asked Richard whether he would have a go at it if we could find a suitable leader – he said no chance! I guess he knows his limits and I’m always trying to push mine… My obsession by now amused Richard…

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Parking ticket expiration now forgotten, it was hard to tear me away! He managed in the end and we continued, still stopping to look back and take more photos – his photos won both these rounds though…

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I was pretty busy studying the sides of the gill for potential escape routes for when it all goes wrong to concentrate very hard on photography… While I mused on, Richard took these shots, the first one looking back to the end of our fell…

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He says these jets were painting a Saltire for the Scots ๐Ÿ™‚

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I was by now looking at Castle Rock’s steep profile and waiting for a decent, sunlit foreground… which never came so this is Richard’s yet again!

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We got back to the car about an hour late but no-one had been in to check the tickets. There was a nice little robin awaiting us so I tore some bits off Richard’s sandwiches (I don’t bother with any) and fed them to him on a nearby log. He was so friendly and tame, I kept nearly treading on him while I was messing about in the boot of the car!

Any willing Sandbeds Gill climb leaders out there? ๐Ÿ˜‰ and does it actually have escape routes?

4 miles, 3 hours but lots of messing about. Folks in a hurry could do the walk in two hours but would miss all the nice scenery ๐Ÿ™‚

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28 responses

13 01 2015
chrissiedixie

Looked like a lovely area and day out that, Carol. Rather enjoyed the photos, too!

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13 01 2015
mountaincoward

One of the best days out this year ๐Ÿ™‚

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11 01 2015
McEff

Hi Carol. I’ve always had a fascination with Clough Head, too, and I’ve been to the top many times but never via Sandbeds Gill. In fact, I’d never heard of it before I read your post. I was thinking of climbing it by Fisher’s Wife’s Rake next time I go, and I see that cuts into Sandbed Gill near the top. I won’t be paying for parking, though.
Great pictures, by the way. Nice walk that.
Alen

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11 01 2015
EchoohcE

Hi Carol, thanks for the posting about High Rigg, it is a beautiful wee hill. I’ve been up it quite a few times as it is very close to my club hut which I sometimes stay at.
I seem to recall looking at Sandbeds Gill, with a view to climbing up it but I have the feeling it looked very difficult/wet. (Quite a while ago.)
Went up Fisher Wife’s Rake once, it’s an interesting approach to Clough Head but very steep, and the thin layer of wet snow didn’t help at all!
Mike

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11 01 2015
mountaincoward

I think we’re going via Fisherwife’s now for Richard’s Wainwright-bagging trip up Clough Head. I haven’t been to Calfhow Pike either so I’ll be having a quick visit to that. While I’m going up Fisherwife’s I’m going to have a good look down Sandbeds Gill and I’m also going to have a little recce from the foot of it too ๐Ÿ™‚

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11 01 2015
mountaincoward

Hi Mike, my mate has sent me a description from the scrambles book on Sandbeds Gill – it’s a grade 3S scramble and is so wet near the top, apparently it’s advisable to wear socks instead of boots ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
Carol.

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12 01 2015
EchoohcE

Hi Carol, going by the description of Sandbeds Gill I think I would wear neoprene wetsocks, like cavers or surfers use! Or maybe a pair of large woolly socks over your boots. Actually I think I’d go the whole hog and wear a wetsuit as if dressed for caving, and maybe abseil down the gill instead – if you did it at night it would be like potholing…
Sounds like something to do on a nice warm summers day to me!
Mike

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12 01 2015
mountaincoward

Definitely a dry-day-in-summer to-do – I wouldn’t even consider it if the weather was or had been wet. Some people do do it with their socks over their boots. I think I’d just take my boots off. I’ve had wet feet plenty of times!

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8 01 2015
razzah

Lovely looking pics and looked a cracking day for it.

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8 01 2015
mountaincoward

It was a superb day – so few of those in the hills…

Forgot to say on my other answer, hope your chest is feeling better soon. I’ve got a case of shingles right now but it seems to be clearing now.

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8 01 2015
razzah

Thanks, it’s the worst I’ve felt in years. I’ve had to content myself by looking up future adventures online! Glad to hear your shingles is clearing too.

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8 01 2015
mountaincoward

That’s partly why I blog – so I can at least read of the great times I’ve had in the hills if I can’t get to them – sort of stocking them all up for my old age ๐Ÿ˜‰

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7 01 2015
underswansea

Wonderful photos and post! I enjoyed the colour (nothing but grey here). Sounds like a good hike. I looked up the church and saw it was built in 1845. It must be interesting walking in places with such history. Thanks for taking me along. Bob

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7 01 2015
mountaincoward

That’s the great thing about the Lakes in winter – it’s either covered in snow (which is exciting for us) or it’s golden due to all the dead grass and bracken ๐Ÿ™‚

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7 01 2015
fedup

A selection of nice pics from both of you, the Sandbeds Gill scramble is graded at 3S (I’ll send you an email – although you may already have the info by now). Theres plenty of parking about you don’t need to pay for it!!

Cheers Simon

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7 01 2015
mountaincoward

I never seem to see any down St Johns in the Vale – only a couple of small one-car pull-ins and they always seem to be booked up – especially by the time me and Richard hit the hill (not early)

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7 01 2015
fedup

The late breakfast probably explains it, there is usually plenty near Legburthwaite, a little sparser in St Johns. Its against my religion to pay for parking ๐Ÿ˜‰ the only place I tend to pay to park rather than hunt for a space is in Cockermouth!

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7 01 2015
mountaincoward

It’s Cockermouth where, if you park outside the parking bay line slightly, you get a parking ticket! Or too far out from the kerb! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

It’s against my religion to pay for parking in my own area too…

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7 01 2015
bob

It’s a lovely area that. Very varied and some lovely photographs. (from both photographers) Sandbeds Gill is a new one on me. I’ve attempted Clachaig Gully and the Chasm around Glencoe and Glen Etive .Both V Diff/ Severe before deciding gully climbing was not for me. Pick a dry day for your ascent :o)

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7 01 2015
mountaincoward

A dry day might not even help! I was having a google search on the route and there is little out there about it but there was one comment about having to wear socks over your boots on one bit so I gather it’s a bit wet and slimy!

I’m impressed that you’ve had a go at ‘The Chasm’ – I’d love to see it…

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6 01 2015
tessapark1969

Looks a nice little walk ๐Ÿ™‚

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6 01 2015
mountaincoward

It’s superb and, with it being a much lower hill, can be done when the weather isn’t suitable for the higher stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

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6 01 2015
Johann Briffa

This is a really stunning part of lakeland; I really like how that relatively low fell stands out in the middle of the valley.

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6 01 2015
mountaincoward

It’s a great viewpoint with it being stuck in the middle of the valley – like a long promenade through the higher fells either side ๐Ÿ™‚

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6 01 2015
smackedpentax

Excellent pics Carol and a great narrative. It is time I got back to the Lakes – I was supposed to be meeting Helen (from Helens Journal https://helensjournal.wordpress.com/) a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately work got in the way ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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6 01 2015
mountaincoward

It was one of those fells I haven’t done since I first did the Wainwrights at least 10 years ago and one of those where I realised I’d been missing out not re-doing it!

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6 01 2015
stravaigerjohn

Lovely pics. How much do they charge on that car park?

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6 01 2015
mountaincoward

It was around ยฃ2 for the couple of hours (which you could do the fell in if you rushed, but you wouldn’t want to rush), or about ยฃ4 for the right length (4 hours I think). There’s some free parking at the wide entrance to the lane we came back out of onto the main road where a lot of people park for free. I’m not sure that there isn’t another carpark which might be free even nearer the end of the St. Johns in the Vale road at the Stanah end.

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