Lake District Walks
Date: 2nd March 2013
Distance: 5.8 miles
Ascent: 1647 feet
Time: 3 hours 20 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY066129
A short walk on a grey cloudy day to Lank Rigg, one of the westernmost fells Lake District.
Route Summary: Cold Fell Road - Whoap - Lank Rigg - Poukes Moss - Latter Barrow - River Calder - Burn Edge - Cold Fell Road.
1. The track leading from Cold Fell Road towards Lank Rigg
3. On Whoap
4. Looking across the Solway Firth towards Criffel
5. Lank Rigg from Whoap
6. The short valley of Whoap Beck
7. Looking back at Whoap from the climb up Lank Rigg
8. On the top of Lank Rigg
9. The small frozen tarn on the top of Lank Rigg
10. One of a number of cairns on Latter Barrow
11. Looking along the River Calder towards Grike
Walk Detail: On the way down from Iron Crag the previous day there was an option to make a 2.5 mile 'out and back' detour to bag the summit of Lank Rigg, the last Wainwright I needed to complete the Western Fells. As it happened I wouldn't have had the time and it was getting close to sunset when I arrived back at the car even without making the detour. I wasn't too disappointed because, even if I'd had the time, I would have missed the opportunity to approach Lank Rigg from the west and so explore a bit of the Calder Valley.
So it was that after a hearty breakfast at the Shepherds Arms Hotel at Ennerdale Bridge I took the short drive out of the village up Cold Fell Road where I left the car to start the walk by, rather unusually, descending first into the upper reaches of the Calder valley. The weather had been glorious the day before but today it was fairly grey and cloudy. The lack of sunshine made the valley seem rather drab which was a shame as even a few patches of sunlight could have made a huge difference to the feel of the place.
The route itself was very simple following a fairly clear path all the way to the head of the valley before a short ascent to the top of Whoap. From the top of Whoap I had probably the best view of the day where, between the cloud above and the rolling fog out to sea, I could clearly make out the silhouettes of the Isle of Man to the west as well as Criffel, across the Solway Firth to the north.
Descending from Whoap it was then another short but fairly steep climb up to the waiting trig point on Lank Rigg, my 212th Wainwright. From Lank Rigg I had a good view of Caw Fell and Seatallan while to the south-west I could see the tops of Black Combe and Whitfell struggling to emerge from a bank of low cloud. To the west of the trig point the summit was also adorned with a small (frozen) tarn and a couple of cairns.
Due to the mainly grassy slopes I had the choice of descent in whichever direction I wanted. I chose to head for the Calder via the small hill of Latter Barrow the western top of which was festooned with stones and would be a fertile playground for budding cairn builders. The footpath marked on the map along the Calder proved to be a fairly wet and reedy affair. I found it easier to ford the river and walk upstream on the west bank. Towards the end I cut off a corner by heading over the grassy slopes of Burn Edge back to the car.
Especially considering the grey weather this walk really couldn't compete with the previous day's walk up to Haycock from Ennerdale. Nevertheless it was enjoyable enough and, if the opportunity arose, I'd definitely go back. Perhaps next time I'd approach from further south along Worm Gill and then return over Boat How and have a potter about looking for the antiquities to be found up there.