Descending towards Latrigg

The descent off Lonscale Fell towards Latrigg, with Derwentwater beyond.

Date completed: 4th January 2013.

Weather conditions:  Dry, mild, but cloudy above 1,500 feet.  Not perfect, but OK considering the time of year.

Fells climbedLonscale Fell (2344 feet above sea level, no. 216), Latrigg (1203’, no. 217).

Distance:  7.75 miles approximately.

Shepherds' monument, from a distance

The shepherds’ monument on the lower slopes of Skiddaw; Barrow and Outerside are the peaks behind. See also below.

Total ascent:  2500 feet approx.

Start and end points: Started at the end of Station Road in Keswick, at roughly grid reference NY268235. There is a bus stop here so there is no need to stay on until the bus station only to have to walk back. Finished at the same point.

Pub at end: The George became the hostelry in which I drank to celebrate the (original) completion of my project, and the Sneck Lifter was very fine (though do not underestimate the potency of this beer).  It’s a good pub, and the food is very good too.

Route card: Click here to download a route card which includes an elevation profile (how hilly the walk is), waypoints with grid references, and a summary map. Route card for walk 70: The Last Waltz

River Greta at Keswick

View of the River Greta at Keswick, at the start (and end) of the walk

Route: From the bus stop head down Station Road. The old railway station is still there but now useful for little more than its toilet facilities. [Postscript: and even they have now closed.] If only different policy decisions had been taken in the 1960s…. but you knew that.

Head left at the little mini-roundabout on the far side of the car park: there is a path behind the hedge to save you walking in the road. Keep going along it, ignoring the side road (signposted to Greta Bank), then as you pass the houses of Briar Rigg take Spooney Green Lane on your right, signposted to Skiddaw.

Spooney Green Lane

Spooney Green Lane – Clare, Joe and, on the left, what appears to be an ent (see Tolkein)

There should then be no problems. This path will lead you up to the Gale Road car park; head through the gate at the end and turn left up the tourist path to Skiddaw, but as you go through the second gate, bear right onto the lower path, which takes you across Whit Beck then traverses across the southern slopes of Lonscale Fell.

Stay on this path until going through a gate at the corner of the fell, where the path turns to enter the Glenderraterra valley; turn up by the fence instead. This fence then leads you, unerringly but rather tediously, up to the summit plateau. Follow it round the first corner, then as it turns again, look for a way into the enclosure on your left – you should just be able to step over the fence. The summit cairn is in here.

Approaching the summit of Lonscale Fell

Approaching the summit of Lonscale Fell

After visiting the summit, keep going through this enclosure until reaching another fence heading off on your left – get across it and then bear right to hit a path going down the right bank of Whit Beck, which begins with a group of small springs just below this fence. This path will eventually lead you onto the tourist path down from Skiddaw, which just follow down and back to Gale Road.

Here take the ‘limited mobility path’, which you can either follow all the way to Latrigg summit or just take a short cut across the grass straight ahead.  The summit of Latrigg is a grassy lawn, without a cairn, but there’s plenty to see to the south.

The descent of Latrigg

The descent of Latrigg, looking towards Bass Lake and Dodd

When you’re done admiring the view head to the right (when looking at Keswick below), pass the seat that you may or may not have passed earlier on the ascent, and if you want to replicate my route exactly, bear left off the path down to the woods (see picture here). Although you could also just return to Gale Road and then retrace your earlier route, a longer but easier option. The descent we took is steep and awkward in a couple of places where mud makes it slippery, but no real problem.

Once back on the path through the woods just retrace your steps back along Spooney Green Lane and into Keswick.

Th-th-th-th-that’s all folks commentary: Well, that’s it. For now.

Gale Woods

Gale Woods, on the slope of Latrigg

On 19th July 2009 I climbed Walla Crag with Clare, on the first afternoon of our arrival in Keswick for a week’s holiday, and even if that walk was later made redundant (Walla Crag becoming the only summit I have so far bagged twice, revisiting it on walk 41), it did mark the start of this project to climb all 214 Wainwright fells without using a car.

As of the morning of Friday 4th January 2013 – two weeks short of three-and-a-half years later – I had done them all bar two. In fact, Lonscale Fell and Latrigg might even have been added to walk 2, done the very next day; neither would take much extra effort to add to a traverse of the whole Skiddaw range. But, they didn’t get done and so have just been sitting there since as ‘red pins’ on my map.

Sheep on the slopes of Skiddaw

Sheep on the slopes of Skiddaw

As I said back in the walk 56 commentary, my original plan had been to leave Scafell Pike to the end, but by spring 2012 it had become obvious that I was going to finish the 214 in the depths of winter, both because of the general pace I was setting (which remained remarkably constant throughout, if averaged out) and also the confirmation that I would be leaving the country for a few months in January 2013 and didn’t want to have just a couple of Wainwrights left over when I went. I didn’t fancy leaving myself Scafell Pike to bag in January, too risky. Something easier therefore had to become the final walk. (With hindsight I’m glad it wasn’t Scafell Pike anyway – it was far too busy up there to really enjoy the moment, and also a long way back down to anywhere where relaxation and celebration could properly take place.)

High Rigg and Tewet Tarn from Lonscale Fell

View of High Rigg, walked last time (walk 69), with Tewet Tarn just in front – seen from Lonscale Fell

The main reason this one ended up as the last walk was its accessibility, and also the promise of a very good view; in fact going on the pages of Wainwright, Latrigg may well have the best view for its height of any of the 214, and Lonscale Fell’s is clearly excellent too. So there was a sense of symbolism about it, finishing with a walk from which I could survey most of the rest of the district, and go, yes, well, done those.

It didn’t quite work out like that – we walked on a reasonable day for January, certainly not cold (some 10-11ºC in the valley and not a great deal cooler at 2,000 feet), but cloud covered everything above about 1,500 feet and did not shift all day.

Shepherds' monument

Clare and Joe inspect the monument (see also the picture above)

Lonscale Fell also turned out to be something of a trudge. Never mind – there were views on the way up, and Latrigg itself may not have delivered its full panorama but it’s certainly a fine view, and the best single view of Keswick – you realise from up there quite how big the town is. And it was only about 45 minutes from there back to the town centre and all its fleshpots. Joe’s hiking boots – first worn in anger on Gibson Knott and Helm Crag nearly two years ago (walk 31) – are by now too small and hurt his feet, we found this out too late to avoid a lot of complaints on the way down but that was another reason to welcome a short descent.

OK, I guess I should do some ‘Personal Notes in Conclusion’ like Wainwright does at the end of each volume. I’ve set up a separate page which lists (in my usual anal fashion) a range of awards, bests and worsts and that kind of thing: do feel free to have a look at it. I’m going to give you another reminder about the sponsorship: I’ve been trying to raise some money for Mountain Rescue through doing these walks so if you’ve enjoyed following the blog please visit my Just Giving page. There’s going to be an article in UK Hillwalking magazine about this project and I’ll put a link to it here when it’s out, it’ll review some of my general feelings about walking and public transport so no point repeating them here.

Trees in the Derwent valley, from Latrigg

Trees in the Derwent valley, from Latrigg

Finally I should thank everyone who has helped me: Clare and Joe particularly, who have begun their own collection of Wainwrights as a result – though I feel Joe will be the one more likely to continue it (no offence meant dear); others who came with me or offered support, even if I did not accept it at the time, included Vicki, Pete, Daisy and Tom Lee, my Mum & Dad, Mike O’Donoghue, Anne Kakkonen, Dan Bailey, and the Tuesday afternoon crowd in the Railway pub, Hebden Bridge. Also everyone who bought one of my 2012 calendars, I’m sorry I didn’t get to do another one this year.  Carol and Dave for putting me up in Morecambe on several occasions. Thanks to all, and anyone else who I’ve not named here directly.

Latrigg summit view

Father and daughter on the summit of Latrigg. Great Mell Fell in the distance.

So, what now? Do them all again? Maybe one day, but there are plenty of other places to explore now, whether in Northern England (the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, the Howgill Fells) or further afield. I’m off Down Under soon – the aforementioned few months away – and New Zealand is definitely getting some walking attention during that time. Once I get back in the summer, so will Norway, where I’ve a bit more work to do yet. Although this blog’s primary task is done, so there will be no more additions to the information on the 214 Wainwrights, I will keep using it to document my walks (I like the photography element too much); as with my hike up Pandokrator, which I will now shift into an ‘International Walks’ page, and probably add a ‘Pennine Walks’ one as well. So keep checking back if you like following my journeys.

And thanks for your support too. I’m glad you’ve been here. Now, let’s have a bit of a rest.


5 Responses to “Walk 70: The Last Waltz – Lonscale Fell and Latrigg”

  1. […] will be other posts to come as I walk. Thanks for supporting me on this one, however. Enjoy the walk 70 page and the Personal Notes in […]

    • mbc1955 said

      I’d like to say congratulations on your achievement, and don’t forget to register yourself with the Long Distance Walkers’ Association.

      My own final Wainwright moment ended up being the first walk of the year, and,for personal and symbolic reasons, I reserved the undistinguished Seatallan for last. It was a day of sun and too much haze for views, but I got the summit to myself for reflection – and a handy party of walkers arrived just before I left to take my photo at the cairn.

      Good luck on your further adventures, but don’t waste the chance now to return to those places that deserve to be seen in sunshine, nor the walks that no longer have to be planned for efficiency.

      Thanks for such enjoyable reading.


      • Drew Whitworth said

        Dear Martin, thanks for your kind comments. I hope you had a better day on Seatallan than I did 🙂 And yes – there are definitely some places that must be returned to in better weather, Crinkle Crags, Great Gable and Ill Bell being the three main ones for me at this time. Picking up some of the Outlying Fells is an option – or exploring other parts of the world, of which there are of course many!


  2. […] by the title of this blog, that’s because the main 214, which I completed in January 2013 (on walk 70), are added to by the 116 fells in Wainwright’s ‘sequel’, volume 8, The Outlying […]

  3. […] in January 2013, on walk 70, I attained the top of Latrigg and, thus, the 214 ‘main’ Wainwrights were completed, […]

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