Silver How summit

Joe reaches the summit of Silver How

Date completed: 17th August 2015 (with Joe).

Weather conditions: Warm and sunny, an excellent summer’s day.

Summits bagged: Silver How (1292’). Number 18 of the second round.

Looking along Loughrigg Terrace

Looking along Loughrigg Terrace

Start and end points: Started at the main bus stop in Grasmere village. Ended at the bus stop in Rydal, which is at the junction of the main road and the lane to Rydal mount. Both places are served by regular buses from Ambleside and Windermere train station that run at least every 20 minutes in the summer. The walk took 3.5 hours. It could be shortened a little by catching the bus from the White Moss car park but there are no refreshments available here.

Distance walked: 5.5 miles approximately.

Total ascent: 1400 feet approximately.

White Moss woods

In White Moss woods

Pub at end: The Badger Bar at the Glen Rothay hotel, Rydal. Having missed the existence of this place when Joe and I last visited Rydal some time ago (walk 22), it was good to patronise it today. Excellent beer, cosy inside but also good beer gardens (one at each end of the pub), and the gents is worth a visit to see clearly how the building was built around the rocks of Nab Scar above.

Route: From Grasmere village take the lane signposted to Allan Bank. Signposts direct you up to the right of that house and then, at the next cottage, half-left to a path going up the hillside. Good views open up of Helm Crag, Seat Sandal and the western half of the Fairfield Horseshoe.

Helm Crag, Seat Sandal, Fairfield

View from the ascent of Silver How. Left to right — Helm Crag, Seat Sandal and Fairfield

Look out for a big cairn by the path which indicates a junction, at this point you should turn right. This heads into a small ravine which you need to drop into then climb back out of. From this point the path is clear up to the top of Silver How, which is at the left of the plateau ahead (not the craggy rise to the right — this is called Lang How and is on the ridge to Blea Rigg). The summit is reached after a short but steep climb. Enjoy the great view of Grasmere and Rydal Water below, Windermere in the distance and, in the other direction, Langdale Pikes, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell. (The blot on the landscape is the quarry at Elterwater — see below.)

Sheep and bracken

Today’s obligatory sheep picture…

Loughrigg Fell is clearly visible above Grasmere, but this walk proved that the route finding difficulties I had last time I was here (walk 8) were not just due to the poor weather and visibility that day. Wainwright calls this walk a ‘ridge route’ but while it starts off having the appearance of one, this is not really matched by one’s experience on the ground. There are times when it seems almost certain that you will drop down to valley level, the path first of all seeming very close to Elterwater, then lurching over to the other, Grasmere side of the ridge. Despite not being able to work out where I felt certain we had lost the path, but it turned out with hindsight that we remained on it throughout.

All the same, by the time we got to the Red Bank road (at which point turn right for just a few yards then take the path into the wood — this is where I went wrong, going in the other direction, on walk 8), it being a hot day and Joe’s boots not fitting all that well, he had lost much enthusiasm for the second steep ascent of the day up to Loughrigg Fell and I can’t say I was that bothered either. So instead we bore left along the Loughrigg Terrace path. This is a well-used and famous path and rightly so, the view of Grasmere is a classic. Look also for the way Lonscale Fell, way to the north, fits itself neatly into the trough of Dunmail Raise.

View from Loughrigg Terrace

Part of the classic panorama from Loughrigg Terrace. Silver How is on the left.

The path leads to the White Moss car parks, where a bus can be caught if you want. But the pub is only about 10-15 minutes along the road to the right (or turn left to return to Grasmere). This road is safe to walk on as it has a path, and although the traffic is irritating there is compensation in walking alongside Rydal Water, the cute baby of the Lake District. Take care crossing the road however, which you need to do at some point, whether to go to the pub or to catch the bus back to Ambleside.

Bathers in Grasmere

And the close up — bathers in Grasmere

Notes: I was trying to be a purist and keep every walk as one that bagged me fells on the first round, rather than starting on any that were ‘second round only’. But the four walks that remain to complete the 330 are all logistically awkward and none are really suitable to do with Joe, for various reasons.  Today it was far too nice a day today to stay in and I did want to get the boy out in the fresh air, so a mild (very mild) dilemma ensued, mainly to do with numbering — did I call this one walk 100? In the end I renumbered it after the 330 were finished (in November 2015), and here is how the numbering will stay.

This is certainly one of the most beautiful walks available in England, with top-notch scenery all the way around, and intimate views of Grasmere and Rydal Water, a pair of jewels that would adorn any landscape crown. The very visible quarry at Elterwater is unmissable, however, and really ugly. I don’t remember it being that way on previous visits. Recent news that a huge potash mine has been approved for the North York Moors shows where the priorities lie for the corporate state that now rules the UK (voted in by just over 20% of the population). Where others may see a great natural heritage being preserved and sustainably managed for the public good, the corporate state see potential private profits going begging. The sop is the claims that jobs will be generated — but are they sustainable? Do the profits stay in the community? I doubt it.

Walkers below Lang How

Walkers below Lang How, looking west from Silver How

On top of that today was a particularly heavy day for the ‘practice’ flying of weapons of mass destruction over the valleys of the Lakes. Each time one of these armoured jets screams overhead, remember that a single flight burns enough fuel to pay for a nurse for a year, and remember again where your taxes are going and why ‘austerity’ is just a lie. Ah well, back to work.

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