High Rigg

Although named High Rigg the fell stands at a modest 357m and is only high in comparison to the nearby Low Rigg. An undulating ridge walk there are fine views of the Helvellyn and Skiddaw ranges and into the valleys of Thirlmere and St John's in the Vale with a return route back through the valley.

  • Distance - 5.2 miles
  • Time - 2.5 to 3 hours
  • Starting point - United Utilities Legburthwaite Car Park St John's in the Vale GR NY318195 CA12 4TQ
  • Enter via the B5322 road off the A591 at St John's in the Vale between Keswick and Grasmere
  • There are toilets in the car park, though these may be closed in winter
  • Public Transport - 555 bus to Legburthwaite on the A591 The bus stop is close to the ladder stile in section 1 of the route.
  • Notes - Good footwear is essential as can be boggy. Care is needed with younger children as some steep drops on the final section of the walk.
  • Feedback - Please contact Keswick Tourism Association email [email protected]

1. Leave the car park via a small gate at the opposite end from which you drove in. Turn left onto a walled lane. Turn right onto the A591 and walk along the grass verge for 250m and then turn right over a ladder stile or through a gate.

2. Take the left-hand path heading uphill. The path soon splits again, take the left-hand path continuing uphill. Follow the path as it undulates upwards with Thirlmere soon coming into view behind you with Raven Crag looming above it. Pause to look at the view behind you with increasingly larger glimpses of Thirlmere as you ascend. As you reach the first summit of the day, Wren Crag, the views now open up over St John’s in the Vale towards Blencathra.

3. The path now descends, goes between a wall before climbing more steeply up a narrow stony path. The path levels out, drops a little, then gently undulates with views down into the valley below. Follow the path up and down and then go over a stile and turn right to walk beside the fence. High Rigg Tarn soon comes into view. There’s a path to either side, head round it whichever way seems the driest as it is prone to being boggy.

4. The path now drops to a ladder stile over a wall. The path continues up alongside the wall. As the path splits keep to the path alongside the wall to the right of Moss Crag. Drop down and turn left away from the wall skirting round the end of the crag, then turn right upwards towards the next summit.

There is some confusion over which parts of the fell are the true summit of High Rigg. This is the Wainwright summit but according to the OS map the summit is at the high point of 357m further along the ridge.

Keep forward on the grassy path. As you meet another path turn left. Soon the path drops down before steadily climbing to the summit as marked by a cairn.

5. Drop down off the craggy top to join the path heading downwards. In the distance is Tewett Tarn though our route today doesn’t take us that far. Beyond is the Skiddaw range with Latrigg beneath it. As the path splits continue steeply downwards heading (the stepped foot-holes making the descent a little easier) to a white building. The path goes through a gate in the wall and then to the left of the Carlisle Diocesan Youth Centre.

6. On reaching the road turn right, shortly passing the tiny St John’s church. Visitors are welcome to go in. Just past the churchyard turn right through a gate signposted Sosgill Bridge. Continue along the path, after some time going through a gate then keep forward. The path continues, goes through a gate and over a stile. Keep following the path and go through another gate. The path then skirts above Low Bridge End Farm.

7. After the farm the route heads along the beck before starting to climb. Take care especially with young children on this stretch due to steep drops below the path. Soon the path heads away from the river and then brings you back to the main road. Turn left and left again back to the car park.

Download pdf - High Rigg walking route

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Thirlmere from Wren Crag