14th September 2008

Dove Crag via Rydal Head


Walk Overview
Time 08.30 to 13.40
Duration 5 hr 10 min
Distance 9.5 mile
Ascent 2500 ft
Walking with On my own
Rydal - Buckstones Jump - Rydal Head - Dove Crag - High Pike - Low Pike - Low Sweden Bridge - Ambleside - A591 - Rydal
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking next to Rydal Church

The roadside parking area runs from the church up hill towards Rydal Mount. Even though there is room for quite a few cars, this is a very popular place indeed and you will need to arrive early if you hope to get a space.

Just around the corner you'll find the Badger Bar offering food and drink.

The parking is actually free, but there is an honest box on the fence next to the church for those who are grateful for a days cheap parking.


Route Map

It was gorgeous as I walked through Rydal this morning, not a cloud in the sky, no wind, no sound and that Autumnal nip in the air; simply perfect.


Walking in wall to wall sunshine wasn't the only shock to the system this morning; the bigger surprise was the amount of dew on the ground. To say the least everything was soaked, including me from the knees down. Every step I took sent a spurt of water off the front of my boots onto the ground in front of me. Needless to say all the rocks and stones were really slippery as well, which was something I could have done without along a path where I regularly had to step aside to avoid the flooded sections.

The higher of the somewhat audible waterfalls on route to Buckstones Jump.

Buckstones Jump.

Once you round the bend just beyond Buckstones Jump, the view down to the head of the valley opens up to show Heron Pike, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag and out of shot on the right are Dove Crag, High Pike and Low Pike.


What a fantastic place. Undoubtedly looked down upon by thousands of people 'doing' (I hate that expression when talking about the Lake District) the Fairfield horseshoe. Being one of those sad people who finds obscure facts interesting, I'd like to know, over an average twelve month period, the number of people who walk to the head of this valley compared to the number who walk the Fairfield horseshoe.

Needless to say I took a detour from the route I was following above the intake wall to have a look around this fine sheepfold. Although as I approached it I had doubts about actually getting 'into' the fold because of the boggy looking ground on this side of the beck. However, after a couple of hops, skips and one big jump I managed to reach the sheepfold to get some photos.

Trying to get back across the beck was easier said than done. Crossing in the other direction was quite easy, as I needed to jump across the deep bit first and then land on the shallower side of the water. Now I had to do it in reverse. I can tell you there was a splash, but I was quick enough to get my feet out of the water before by boots got too full.


Well there you go, I know the cloud makes for a nice picture, but it was also proof positive that the day was changing. I suppose a full day of sunshine was too much to hope for.

I was just about at the head of the valley when I took this picture, and although I'm in no doubt that there were people fairly close by up on the ridge, the feeling of isolation was more than just a little noticeable; something I always enjoy.
Not the type of place to come if you're not comfortable with walking off path with only yourself for company.

The view back down the valley was showing a bank of cloud moving this way. What I didn't expect was for it to arrive as quickly as it did.
You wouldn't think it to look at this picture, but I'm standing at a point which is higher than the summit of Helm Crag, Cat Bells and Lingmoor Fell.

An unusual view of Great Rigg.

Looking back down to Rydal Head from the off path route I took up to Dove Crag.

Five minutes after taking the previous photo the valley had gone and within no time at all I was walking in thick cloud.

Dove Crag summit.
Please note, the remaining pictures really were taken on the same day; honest.

Just follow the wall.


Almost out of the cloud.

Standing on Sweden Crag for a view down the bottom section of the ridge.

Low Sweden Bridge.

Back to reality with traffic, people and noise.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks