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Spring Walks 2015, Vale and High Rigg, Sunday May 3rd

Reporter: Caro Brown

I am not a regular hill walker, nor do I know the Lakes particularly well but I like this route. It’s not very long or very high, has some wonderful views and in my limited experience I think that the variety of terrain covered during the course of the walk is a good representation of what the Lakes has to offer. All in all, the Lake District in miniature and a great introduction to Lakes walking for those not accustomed to it.

Alan’s and my memories of previous SCoM Lakeland walks have been coloured by painful boots (me), ill health (him) and inclement weather (everyone else last year!), so this less strenuous, low level walk came to mind as an alternative offering to the main Club walk this year, with an option of extending the route to take in Tewet tarn if desired. As it happened, the weather was not great on the day and several people opted for this walk rather than brave the wet and windy heights with Steve so we ended up with a much larger group than originally anticipated.

We started from the southern end of High Rigg and some of us chose to give the narrow path with a long drop down to the river a miss, but by taking the road to Low Bridge End Farm instead we missed Dave Miller’s heroic efforts to reunite a lamb with its mother, which I believe involved a certain amount of floundering in the river! Photos anyone?!

Having regrouped, the option to extend the walk to Tewet tarn was exercised and a short snack stop taken enroute before the first great view of the day—Blencathra—came into sight. On reaching St John’s the party split, with those keen to keep their heart rate up starting the climb up High Rigg before lunch while the rest found picnic spots in the churchyard. The initial climb is the steepest part of the walk and there were good views from the top across to Bassenthwaite lake and Braithwaite village where we were staying, although most of Keswick and all of Derwentwater remained hidden from sight.

The route along the top is fairly undulating and once past the small tarn where we stopped for a cuppa, the ups and downs can prove quite wearing on the knees. From here we could see Thirlmere in the distance, glistening in the afternoon sun once the last of the rain had blown through. The end of the walk looked tantalisingly close at this point but there was still a fair amount of scrambling to do to get back to the start and as the rain had made the path quite slippery in places a fair degree of caution was taken by those of us not used to the conditions. Happily we all arrived back unscathed and everyone seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

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