Wainwright walks 32: High Rigg, lots of beer and a llama

Hills: High Rigg
Wainwright no: 71
Who: Me and the mountaineering minion
When: Saturday 3rd June
Weather: Glorious sunshine
Hangover factor Moderate
Bog factor: Virtually all dried out. Result!
Uses of the arse crampon: Zero
Pre walk drink One Rioja too many
Post walk drink: Various real ales
Post walk watering hole: Keswick Beer Festival (does a beer festival count as a watering hole?)
Special guest star: A llama. Yes seriously.
Mishaps: Read on…

One of these days I will write a walk report that doesn’t fit the usual theme. The theme being that there is usually some walking done at some point; there is usually a transport malfunction of some sort; and there is frequently a drink-related malfunction of some sort as well. The transport malfunction usually has the tendency of leading to the drink malfunction i.e. trying to get a late train after a busy week, train then being packed – oh well let’s have a glass (or several) of wine… Suffice it to say that this report sticks to the tried and tested formula! But since part of the point of this weekend was to attend Keswick Beer Festival, it was unlikely this report would deviate much from the norm. It was also my birthday on the 4thJune so celebrating (or given my advancing age, commiserating) was also on the agenda.

Initially things seemed to go more or less to plan. Our train was not delayed and although Stuart got stuck at work later than hoped we still made the train with plenty of time to spare. We agreed it would be good to have clear heads for the beer festival and were relatively restrained on the train itself. The train was not delayed, our taxi picked us up on time and by 10pm we were dropped at our hotel, the Lodge in the Vale at Legburthwaite and checked in. It was still reasonably light and it seemed too early to go to bed. The bar had just closed but the Kings Head at Thirlspot was just under a mile up the road… the plan was to go ‘for one’ which of course it never is. On the walk I was rather surprised to be engaged in a staring contest by a llama which I suspect I probably lost. Not something you really expect to see in the Lake District!


We finally got back to our hotel at midnight and crashed out with the alarm set for 8.30 – the walk target for the day being the relatively low High Rigg (a mountain oxymoron in the same way there are hills in Scotland with names like Meall Mor – big hill – which aren’t). Irritatingly at 6.30 I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep. Eventually gave up, got up and went to breakfast. The head was definitely a tad fuzzy but definitely nowhere near the scale of fuzziness as my walk up Glenridding Dodd a few weeks previously. After some fairly heavy duty faffing about I was out of the hotel shortly after 10.15. The plan was to meet Stuart (who was going to get the bus and potter about in Keswick) in the Wainwright pub; I would walk over the ridge then over Low Rigg to Tewet Tarn, then Castlerigg stone circle (a favourite place of mine) then walk into Keswick. This actually more or less worked.

The path up High Rigg cuts off the main road by a deer fence stile, then branches off and heads uphill at a pretty steep angle. It is a bit eroded in parts and there is the odd bit of rock but nothing at all difficult. I was also trying out a new pair of trail shoes, rather than wearing boots as I normally do, and was pleased with their grip. What I was less pleased about was getting tangled up with a large, and very slow, guided group just before a mildly rocky bit so after that I blasted past them and put the hammer down to try and get a bit of distance between myself and them (which worked as I didn’t see them again).


The ridge is very undulating; normally I’m not a fan of false summits but the views were great and the ridge walk was lovely. There is a dip with a short rocky clamber out of it about ¼ of the way along which had looked slightly intimidating in some photos but was straightforward and also very short. The trail shoes if anything seemed to give me better foot placement though I was a bit conscious of not having the same degree of ankle support. This was excellent, no effort hill walking which was just plain fun as the ridge winds along over various bumps and past a nice little lochan; even the boggy bits were pretty much dry.


I hit the rocky top at 11.20 all trace of a hangover long since gone. The views from the top were great and I had made good time too. The views from the summit were excellent and I took a 15 minute break to take on some water and take the inevitable summit pictures and selfie.


After that it was time to get going. I dropped down the (very steep) path to St John’s in the Vale church then pressed on over Low Rigg (less of an oxymoron).

imageimageimageUnfortunately something had to go slightly wrong… around Tewet Tarn I completely ran out of steam, either due to the hangover trying to fight back or more likely due to just not having enough sleep. The stretch of (mostly) road walking to Castlerigg seemed to take forever and on phoning Stuart to let him know I was running a bit late I couldn’t get through. Castlerigg was as lovely as ever, but very busy (not surprisingly). After that I practically jogged down the road from the stone circle into Keswick and on reaching the main road saw a bus… and jumped on it. Cheating I know but given I couldn’t get through to Stuart it seemed the best bet to hurry up by whatever means necessary. I finally got to the Wainwright pub at just after 1 and had a couple of halves of Wainwright (seemed apt) before we headed to the beer festival later that afternoon and spent the afternoon and early evening sampling real ales in the sunshine. Rather amazingly, no hangover at all the day after! Clearly beer is better for you than wine is…


All in all a really nice little walk and one I’d be very happy to do again. Definitely recommended. And no need for the arse crampon whatsoever!


3 thoughts on “Wainwright walks 32: High Rigg, lots of beer and a llama

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