Loughrigg, Sergeant Man and Tarn Crag

Outline of Route
White Moss - Loughrigg (via caves) - Silver How - Blea Rigg - Sergeant Man - Tarn Crag - Grasmere - White Moss (Grid ref. NY 348066)
Total Distance 12.1 miles, Total Ascent 3300 feet, Equivalent Distance 18.8 miles

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Escape Routes

  1. Return via the Loughrigg Terrace after descending Loughrigg.
  2. Head across the plateau of Silver How to the footpath from Lang How to Grasmere and descend to the Easedale Road.
  3. From the col between Blea Rigg and Sergeant Man descend the clear footpath to Easedale Tarn and on to Grasmere

Details of Route
The 2.5 inch to 1 mile Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Maps Nos. 6 and 7 are recommended for this walk: it really will challenge your navigational skills. Starting from White Moss Car Park - note, this is no longer a National Trust car park, so no free parking for members - cross the wooden bridge over the River Rothay (photo) and follow the path through the woods where you might see bluebells (photo). You'll come to a wall on your left, follow it and go through a gate to the open fell. Take the path to the left that rises slightly across the fellside (photo). The view across Rydal Water to Nab Scar can be beautiful in the early morning (photo). After about quarter of a mile you will come to a large cave on the right which is worth an exploratory visit (photo). There are fish in the pond inside. Continue along the path and bear to the right, westwards and uphill when you get the opportunity. Further up the fell there is a path up to the right crossing a small beck which leads to a strange walled enclosure (photo). There is a myriad of paths across Loughrigg and almost as many individual crests. The opportunities to get lost are endless, but, provided adequate visibility - don't do this walk otherwise - you will find your way to the highest point, topped with a triangulation pillar. Loughrigg is not very high, about 1100 feet, but provides an uninterrupted view in all directions with many well known peaks in the panorama (photos of Grasmere , of Langdale, of Silver How , of Elterwater).

Follow the well-worn path downhill towards Grasmere (photo) and bear left at the Terrace path. After going through an iron gate go straight ahead along the track, ignoring the path through a gate on the right marked to Grasmere. Further on, ignore a track on the left between two gateposts. You will come to the road at Red Bank. The path forks just before reaching the road and it is best to take the right fork. Across the road and up the bank there is a path often hidden by undergrowth. Join this and follow it to the right if you can see it. Otherwise turn right along the road until a road sign announcing a steep hill is reached - cyclists are advised to dismount. From here on the left there is a footpath to Grasmere. To the left of this a set of rock steps leads to a higher path which is the one to Silver How. It keeps between the upper wall of Redbank Wood and the lower wall of the higher (Hammerscar) plantation and is shown as a tiny black dotted line on the OS map. This path crosses the well-used Elterwater to Grasmere path with either a steep scramble up by a wall or a slightly less steep path on the left (photo) and on to Dow Bank (photo) which overlooks Elterwater (photo). Continue over Spedding Crag to the Langdale to Grasmere path then find your own way up to the top of Silver How slightly to the right (photo).

The path from Silver How meanders westwards past several tarns, the first being by Lang How (photo). Continue westwards along the broad ridge, there are fine views of Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle (photo), and also Easedale (photo), and climb up onto Sergeant Man where there are fine views to the west (photo), and the east (photo). This is a popular felltop, and inclined to be busy - a marked contrast to fells you've covered since Red Bank. But, never fear, peace will return as you head for Tarn Crag.

Set off ENE from Sergeant Man past the little summit tarn to Codale Head. Aim towards Gibson Knott ( to the left of Helm Crag) from here and the Tarn Crag ridge will come into view (photo). I've been along here five times in the past five years and whilst I can imagine it being pretty boggy during wet weather it's provided pleasant walking for me. There are many indistinct footpaths and/or sheep tracks, any of which will help you reach Tarn Crag summit(s) (photo). The northern one is the higher but it's worth visiting the southern for a fine view of Easedale Tarn. Find your way carefully down to the east from the top of Tarn Crag and, at the bottom of the dip before you get to to Greathead Crag, follow a path to the right which zigzags down through the bracken to Easedale Tarn (photo). It affords a fine view of the tarn (photo). Cross Sourmilk Gill as it leaves Easedale Tarn and follow the path past the waterfalls (photo) and over a footbridge by a ford. There are some very colourful shrubs (photo) around here blooming in May. Head back through Grasmere village, out to Town End and on to White Moss along the main road, hopping over the wall and onto the paths through the woods on the right at the first opportunity. It is worth visiting the water's edge to have a last look across Grasmere to Silver How (photo) before walking back along the River Rothay to the car park.

White Moss is an excellent starting point for walks less strenuous than those which generally appear on this site, e.g.:

Rev. 02 September 2014

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