Start: Ambleside, Cumbria
End: Rydal, Cumbria
Distance: 6 miles
Ascent: 1,400 feet
Time: 5 hours
Getting there: Nearest train station is Windermere, and there are plenty of bus services from here to Ambleside.
Food and loos: Nothing until you get to Rydal, then you have a couple of pub options or a tea room.
Terrain: Gravel and stone pitched paths throughout; steep descent onto Loughrigg Terrace.
Difficulty: 2/3 – only difficulty is the descent to Loughrigg Terrace, which is steep and does require some clambering down rocks.
Wainwrights: 1 – Loughrigg Fell
The views on this walk are pretty spectacular. If you are in Ambleside, and it is a clear day, do this walk. You won’t regret it!
Heading out of Ambleside, you can either go straight up to the top of Loughrigg alongside the old golf course or take a detour around Todd Ctag and Lily Tarn. I definitely recommend the latter as the views of the Fairfield Horseshoe and Windermere really are something. In fact, we heard a local advising some tourists to do the very same thing as we were heading up the road – but this was always the plan for us.
Todd Crag provides enough height to give you a truly wonderful view along the length of Windermere. This is a sight to sit and behold for a while! Lily Tarn is just a short distance further along the path, and provides a good spot for a bit of refreshment.
Then it’s a zigzag of paths up to the summit of Loughrigg Fell. This is not a difficult ascent, the paths are obvious and the incline isn’t steep. But there are a lot of different paths to choose from, and whilst it is always obvious where you are going, the sheer range of options does take a little getting used to.
The summit has a nice trig point, and the best views are just slightly off the sides in all directions. My knowledge of the Lakes isn’t good enough to tell you exactly what I was looking at, but to the best the best views come when you start the descent. Here you get great views over Grasmere and then eventually Rydal Water.
The descent to Loughrigg Terrace is pretty hard going at times. Apparently, this is one of the older stone pitched paths, and places the stones at angles rather than as steps. The switchbacks are a little hairy at times, and some care definitely needs to be taken. I had a small slip myself, and I saw one other person slip too. Allow plenty of time for this descent – there’s nothing horrendous about it, just needs to be given a little respect.
Once your get to Loughrigg Terrace, the walk into Rydal is so simple you could moonwalk it. But stop a little while on the banks of Rydal Water, as dozens of people were doing, to dip your toes – especially if the weather is as hot as it was when we were doing this walk. I did intend for us to go by Rydal Cave, but totally forgot about it in the heat and sunshine. So that is saved for another trip.
At Rydal you have the option of going to the pub, looking around the Wordsworth buildings, walking back or catching the bus to Ambleside. We went to the pub and got the bus. A lovely walk, gorgeous weather and some truly incredible views.