Loughrigg Fell

The weather forecast last weekend looked great – a completely clear day with an almost non-existent chance of rain. Therefore we put our Wainwright bagging plans into action and mapped out a full day expedition to tackle the Fairfield Horseshoe, which would net us 8 Wainwrights in a walk of around 5 hours. However, as the week progressed, the wind forecast went from 10 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour, so we decided to revise our plans and tackle a slightly lower fell and save Fairfield for another day. We settled on Loughrigg Fell, another walk starting from the Rydal Road car park in Ambleside, but much lower and therefore slightly less windy!

There’s a large car park on Rydal Road in Ambleside, which was about half full by the time we arrived at quarter past nine on a Sunday morning in November, it does fill up even earlier in summer so set those alarms! We set off from the car park and about half a mile down the road I checked with Sam (chief navigator for the day) that we were going the right way, as I’d thought we’d return down the road we were walking down. We checked the route in the book and sure enough we were doing it backwards – sigh.

The route we followed (backwards) was a 6.5 mile circular from our Day Walks in the Lake District book – there’s a similar route available on WalkLakes. We did the longer, flatter stretch of the walk past Rydal Hall and Falls at the start of the walk, which meant that once we’d reached the trig, it was a relatively quick walk back down to the car.

A few miles from Ambleside we picked up a path which took us along the edge of Rydal Water, and then climbed gently uphill to get good views over both Rydal Water and Grasmere. From above Grasmere, the route veers away from the gently undulating track and takes you up a steeper path which alternates between steps and flatter grassy sections.

This section means you’re nearly at the top of the fell, and you’ll get great views of the neighbouring fells to enjoy on your way up to the top. When we got to the top there were several groups of people already there with a miniature queue forming for the trig point, so we didn’t hang around for long before starting our descent – we have never and will never queue for a summit photo!

This is a great walk if you’re looking for an easier option, but still want to feel like you’ve had a good day out in the Lakes. It took us just over three hours to get from start to finish – we didn’t hang about at any point though as there was an extremely cold wind blowing – we were glad we’d decided to save the Fairfield Horseshoe for a slightly less chilly day! We did walk past it on our way back to the car and it looked very tempting, so it’s definitely one we want to get out to do soon.

Walking past the Fairfield Horseshoe on the way back to the car

Dog friendly rating – 4/5. For a Lakeland fell walk, this walk is surprisingly dog friendly. We spent a fair amount of time on an enclosed lane where we saw plenty of off lead dogs, and the section alongside Rydal Water is a perfect opportunity for dogs who like a swim. This does seem to be a popular spot for dog walking, but luckily it’s very easy to get off the path and out of the way if your dog doesn’t like other dogs. There are no stiles to worry about on this walk and just a few short stretches along a road at the start and end – both with pavements. All in all a lovely dog walk which both of ours enjoyed thoroughly.

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