The small but popular Wainwright of Loughrigg Fell makes for a great walk. And we started ours from Grasmere and made a whole day of it. Visiting Rydal Water and Rydal Cave along the way. There was nothing that was going to stop us from enjoying this Wainwright, even if it is a long round trip to get there on a very sunny day.
A family affair of a walk to Loughrigg Fell
It’s not very often that we get the whole family together. But our parents came up to the lakes for the weekend while we were up there for the week. So we planned out a full day walking around Loughrigg Fell. As this was a Wainwright that we hadn’t bagged before.
We all met for breakfast at the Premier Inn at Cockermouth. After filling our stomachs and packing our backpacks up we hit the road. And after joining the A66 from the roundabout next to the Premier Inn it wasn’t long before we drove past Keswick. We then turned down the A591 and was on our route to Grasmere.
Parking in Grasmere for our Loughrigg Fell Walk
So we parked where we usually parked and that’s in the pretty decent sized lay-by on the A591 just before the little roundabout going out of Grasmere. Here we always find ample parking especially first thing in the morning. There is, of course, a huge car park (pay and display) in Grasmere itself, If you continue past the lay-by up to the little roundabout. Here you turn right onto Stock Lane and it is on the right-hand side. You will also find toilet facilities here, which will be at a slight charge (20p).
Once we got parked up in the lay-by we looked behind to see Helm Crag, also known as the Lion and the Lamb. We of course mentioned this to our parents as they hadn’t seen it before. And if you haven’t seen it either it’s worth looking out for it. You can definitely make out both the lion and the lamb sat to its side. But today we were off to Loughrigg Fell and looking forward to our walk.
Wordsworth Museum on the Grasmere round route
But for this walk, we are heading in the direction we were driving and that’s straight on towards Rydal. So once we got loaded up with our backpacks and plenty of snacks we headed onwards. Once we hit the little roundabout again we continued straight over. This is where you need to keep an eye open for the turning off to your left. Which is nearly immediately after the roundabout.
If you are interested in history and find yourself with an afternoon spare, then perfect. As there is the William Wordsworth Museum just on the left-hand side further up the road. More about him later too. We haven’t personally been but we have heard good reviews on it. So it’s maybe worth adding into your Loughrigg Fell round trip.
Coffin route towards Rydal Water
Continue up past Dove Cottage and you’ll find the road will have a slight incline to it. As we continued down here we soon found a signpost. This is where you need to head left, continuing to climb slightly more again. As you continue to head up and around you’ll soon be faced with yet another smaller signpost. This is the one where you need to head right. Sing-posted Coffin Route to Rydal.
Continue along this path and take in the beautiful scenery. We felt like we were walking forever but I think that’s because the sun was already beaming down on us. For our Mum who doesn’t like walking uphill, it was a slight struggle for her, but she managed it perfectly. It is still a perfectly clear path, well road really so underfoot is easy going.
As we continued down the road you’ll see other signposts that continue to point you in the right direction just like it did us. Which is super helpful so we didn’t have to keep checking the map. But could instead enjoy the conversation and pleasant company.
The higher up you walk the more you’ll be able to see the stunning views. Loughrigg Fell itself will come into view across the Rydal Water and that’s when we knew we were in for a long walk. The road itself soon becomes an actual path and this is where the walking gets more inserting underfoot.
Coffin Route continued to Rydal Water
As we continued up the Coffin Route towards Rydal the path starts to deteriorate slightly. When you reach a wall, keep left and high to avoid having to climb back up for the gate. Things here got a little confusing for us but we made it and so can you. As long as you get to the gate then you’re good. This way you’ll be on your way to walk up Loughrigg Fell in no time.
Continue walking and again it does feel for quite some time here. Take in the views and scenery or do like us and having a mini-break. Snacks are always a good conversation starter we’ve found. After some time you’ll come across another gate. Go through this and you’ll find it joins a lane.
St Mary Church into Rydal for our Loughrigg Fell walk
This lane leads into Rydal itself which is the way we are heading today. So we turn right down the lane and continue past St Mary’s church. Where we saw some dodgy parking if I do say so myself. From here we continued down the lane until we hit the A591 again. This is where we are going to cross the road.
Firstly we turned right when we hit the road. Be very careful as it is a busy road you need to cross over. There is a pavement on both sides. Once you get closer to The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar you need to look out for a small hole in the wall. Once you are through here you’ll be able to see the bridge we crossed. It’s a cute little one.
This bridge crosses over the River Rothay which actually joins both Rydal Water and Grasmere together. Now that was over the bridge we continued our walk, taking a right hand turning until we reached the shores of Rydal Water itself. And wow, what a view it is. We were lucky enough to have it on a beautiful day. But even on a cloudy way, I bet it’s superb too.
Above and beyond we could see Loughrigg Fell, our main target of the day. We were getting closer to being in its grips. We couldn’t wait to keep going. But…
Taking the higher route to Rydal Cave on our walk
Well, it may surprise you to know but we had a pit stop at Rydal Water lakeshore. Why not? It has some beautiful views, but also our Dad got a puncture. Also known as a blister. So we had to get the old first aid kit out and on it straight away. That’s one thing you don’t want to be walking with is one of those bad boys. Especially when you know you’re not even climbing Loughrigg Fell yet.
So we came across two options as we made our way around the first part of Rydal Water. You can either go on the bottom path which takes you around the base of Rydal Water and towards Grasmere. Or you have the second option which is the one we took. This is a higher route (nicer views) but takes you past Rydal Cave. We’d read a lot about it and there seemed to be some hype. Therefore we wanted to check it out.
As we continued up towards the top route around Rydal Water we soon started climbing again. The weather was absolutely stunning and the heat was growing with every step. I’m not sure if anyone has ever used the term, sausage fingers before. But we always do when our hands get hot and feel like they’re expanding and getting puffy and thick haha. This was a sausage finger moment, and the walk up Loughrigg Fell was only going to make them worse.
Rydal Cave itself in all its glory
On a beautiful day like this, you can imagine there was quite a lot of folk around. And the closer we got to Rydal Cave the more people there were. We were hoping for some good viewing and boy it didn’t disappoint. It’s much bigger than you realise to start with. It goes further back. And for us on that particular day, we had to go across stepping stones. Some we wobbly stones at that but we made it into the mouth of Rydal Cave.
Our mum took a little more convincing to make it across the rickety stones. But with a lot of encouragement, she made it. The photo wouldn’t have been the same without her. Even though there we quite a lot of people in the cave it still seemed rather large. And a welcome relief from the sun that had no give in it today at all.
The coolness made us want to stay in there forever but we remembered we had Loughrigg Fell to climb on our walk. So after a few snaps and a quick drink and snack, we were heading back out again. Trying not to get in other people’s way as they were passing against us.
Let’s get walking to Loughrigg Fell
Back into the harsh sunshine, we continued our way on the top path of Rydal Water. At the caves, we were about halfway round and now it was quick walking to the end of Rydal Water. Once Rydal is out of sight Grasmere is back in site again. And soon you can find a path taking a detour to the left of the path heading upwards. Even though it isn’t marked for Loughrigg Fell, it is pretty obvious.
Mum still not the keen climber that we are decided to sit on a bench a bit further round. While I, Zoe and our Dad went on up. It felt like a tough little climb as we didn’t stop the whole way up. It couldn’t have taken us longer than 15 minutes to reach the top of Loughrigg Fell. And boy was it worth it. With the fluffy harmless clouds dotted about and the clear view for miles, it was gorgeous.
A well achieved high five at the top of Loughrigg Fell
A well achieved high five was of course rewarded as the views were taken in of the surrounding Wainwrights. This was one of those moments for us when you have the chance to look around and see exactly what you’ve already climbed. We could pick the Wainwrights out that we’d already climbed like they were our friends now. Strangers to start with but once tackled you feel you know them better.
And even though Loughrigg Fell is a small peak, it certainly makes up for it in 360-degree views. Windermere was glistening in the southern direction. You could see the boats and ferries making their way across the water. And you could just make out where the Coniston Fells were too.
In front to the north stood the majestic road into Grasmere with the towering mountains on either side. Helm Crag (the Lion and the Lamb) took podium still, as did Great Rigg on the right-hand side of the A591 too. We took a moment to take in the views and see all the other alternative routes heading down from Loughrigg Fell.
Our walk down from Loughrigg Fell
Even though it would have been nice to continue in all the directions possible, for us we went down the same way we came up. Poor little Mum wouldn’t have liked being left on the other side of Loughrigg Fell. So we off we went to find her and some shade.
When we met her she was thoroughly enjoying herself and even said she’d heard a siren from the distant road. We come from a family of people-watchers so sitting back watching people has never been an issue for us haha. And with Mum staying at the bench it meant we hadn’t had to carry our backpacks up with us either. Who wants to borrow her for their next hike?
So as we continued on the path around now Grasmere we soon came to see a wood coming up. Here is where we bared right almost going back on ourselves to go back towards Rydal Water. This meant going further downhill and then we took a left-hand turn to head back into the direction of Grasmere. This route then takes you around the shoreline of Grasmere itself.
Shade on the way back to Grasmere
There is a welcome relief of a Deerbolts Woods to walk through. And a chance to air the now sweaty back with a gentle breeze. This was another mini shaded break that we were happy to accept on a hot walk from Loughrigg Fell. Again it’s simple to follow, literally keep going alongside the shoreline.
Deerbolts Wood soon drifts off behind you and you’re back out into the open again. Take in the sublime views across Grasmere. For us, it was also a reminder of how far we still had to go to get back to Grasmere and the car. Feet pounding, sausage fingers pulsing, the day was starting to feel tiring.
The long walk from Loughrigg Fell back to Grasmere
As you continue along the shoreline you come to a point where you have to walk back up towards the road. Once you head through a gate you’ll hit the road where you’ll turn right on the road itself. Red Bank Road will bring you back into the back end of Grasmere. Literally, carry on all the way down this tedious road, well it was for us in the heat. And the pure lack of energy that was getting to us now haha. Also, be alert as it is a small road track with some tight bends.
This is a good place to strike up a conversation about the day you’ve had, or sing a couple of songs to keep the spirit going. I’m probably being dramatic but it does feel never-ending. The best part is that every step you’re taking is a step closer to ice cream! That thought will power me to do anything. Luckily for us, the chirping hum of our Dad and the giggles from our Mum was plenty to keep us moving. They were enjoying their day in the Lake District walking around Loughrigg Fell just as much as us.
The finishing flag as we walk into Grasmere on our round trip of Loughrigg Fell
As Red Bank Road keeps baring right you’ll soon see the welcome sights of Grasmere coming to life again. Soon you’ll be passing the Grand At Grasmere Hotel. There’s also another huge car park on the right-hand side too.
Continue on the road and you’ll hit a junction. This is pretty much the middle of Grasmere itself. If you haven’t had a chance to look around then I would recommend that you. If you have any oomph left in you of course. Maybe you’re just after the ice cream too. Well, in that case, follow our steps.
William Wordsworth in the Lake District
Take a right on to Stock Lane when you see St Oswald’s Church ahead of you. This will bring you out onto the main road going through Grasmere. Be careful crossing the road as it can get busy. Fun fact here, William Wordsworth’s grave does in fact lie within the grounds of St Oswald’s Church. You can easily get to it and have a look if you wish. It is again a nice historic visit and something that is respectful of the Lake District.
William Wordsworth is buried with his wife close to him. Around them are their children too, Dora, William, Thomas and Catherine. As well as his wife Mary’s sister too. Like I say, we visited it and it is a beautiful place that is worth a look in.
River Rothay, “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found,”William Wordsworth
Back to the ice cream though. Continue past St Oswolds Chruch and just over the little bridge on the left-hand side is Grasmere Tea Gardens. A perfect place for a stop. You can also take a seat outside overlooking the River Rothay, the one we crossed at the very beginning of our walk. From here on we continued down Stock Lane until we found the car park on the left-hand side. And after taking advantage of the facilities there again, we headed back towards the car.
A pretty lovely day all in all and a splendid walk up the Wainwright of Loughrigg Fell, taking in the views of Grasmere and Rydal Water. Not to mention the cool Rydal Cave, that was a very welcome relief.
True Freedom SeekersHazel and Zoe
We hope you find our walks and adventures in the Lake District helpful. And we wish you much fun and success on bagging the Wainwrights yourself. If you want to share any stories with us then please feel free to. Have a super day.