At the south western end of Ennerdale Water lie the three Wainwright fells of Grike, Crag Fell and Lank Rigg. Characteristicly these are of modest height with rolling grasslands and occasional stands of conifers - some of which have been felled. Any poorly drained depressions gather peat and water which in wet conditions will not be much fun.
Crag Fell is a little more interesting than the others. It overlooks Ennerdale Water, the summit cairn stands a little back from the edge, but the view from a small knoll just below looks down much of the length of the valley. Further down towards the water a number of pinnacles stand just below Revelin Crag. It is preferable to climb up to them at least for the first visit as they aren't particularly obvious and the ground is steep down to the col with Anglers Crag.
It's worth noting that on the return from Lank Rigg, along the valley of Whoap Beck, there are two fords to cross. Normally these wouldn't be an issue, but during rain and for some time afterwards they are likely to be in spate making the crossing precarious if not dangerous.
The walk starts above Ennerdale Bridge on the road over Cold Fell. At NY060138 there is some informal rough parking at the end of a track over Scaly Moss.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the parking area continue along the road southwards for 100m (110 yards) - there is an off-road path on the left hand side. At the small signpost to "Public Bridleway to Crag Fell", turn left and follow the bridleway track north east climbing steadily around Blakeley Raise.
Where the track becomes a bit of a muddle, keep left. Enter the plantation by the gateway and keep following the track up through the trees. Approaching a forest road bear right and continue up to it join it. You reach it at a great junction tracks. Bear right, then in a few metres bear left to follow the track along the fence. Ignore the tracks on the right which do not appear on the map.
Follow the track through the clear felled plantation along the fence to a gateway and stile. Cross the fence by the step stile, no provision for dogs but the gate wasn't actually locked despite appearances. Bear right and head for the stile higher on the skyline. Cross the step stile again.
Continue up to the summit cairn and windshelter of Grike a little further on.
From the summit of Grike continue eastwards, to join alongside the fence just near the radio mast which soon comes into view. Slightly to your left is Crag Fell. Descend to the marshy depression next to the weather station, and keep ahead to the stile over the fence ahead. Do not cross the fence to your right.
The step stile has a lift-up dog gate - which Jessie refused to use and jumped over the stile. Continue ahead on the clear path, and in 100m (110 yards) it starts to swing left, northwards, towards Crag Fell.
The top of Crag Fell is a large plateau of boggy hollows and scattered rocky outcrops. The path, helpfully, meanders to the highest crowned by the summit cairn.
Another knoll slightly lower and just to the north of the summit cairn is a good viewpoint for Ennerdale water.
From the summit of Crag Fell turn sharp right and head southwards. Initially the path meanders amongst the knolls and hollows, and then descends to a well hidden step stile. Cross the stile and continue down through the felled plantation to the forest track.
Turn left along this track for only a few metres and then bear right off it onto a path through a green gap in the tree stumps. This path drops to a boggy little beck just above Black Pots, then bears left to climb to another step stile in the fence just above. Go over the stile and bear left, then right alongside the wall now heading SSE.
Continue along the wall and then in about 150m (165 yards), at the corner, bear right on a faint path with climbs to join the path to Whoap over to the right. Reaching the boggy, intermittent track turn right to Whoap which is the rounded grassy bump now ahead. As the slope eases a path leaves the track to the left to head directly to Lank Rigg, the next Wainwright summit.
A pleasant diversion is to continue on the track over the highest point of Whoap to the large white rock to the right. A small cairn stands beside it.
From the white stone turn sharp left and walk a few steps directly for Lank Rigg. Descending slightly watch for a narrow path in the grass. The ridge that links Whoap and Lank Rigg is in view and shows the task ahead. Turn left on the path to skirt around the head of Whoap Beck with great views down into the valley.
Join with the clearer direct path and bear right to cross the saddle towards Lank Rigg. Cross the boggy depression and climb the grass slope ahead. There is one good respite from the climb, and then the trig point at the summit of Lank Rigg is reached. Just a little further on is a small summit tarn.
Retrace your steps back down the slopes of Lank Rigg to the bottom of the saddle and turn left to descend into the valley of Whoap Beck. The path bears right and descend gradually around the head of the valley on a fine terraced path. Follow it to keep above the boggy floor of the valley and the beck.
Watch for an indistinct path which avoids climbing to join the track directly from Whoap - don't worry if you miss this junction as you'll be collected eventually by the track.
Continue to the small ford just above the sheepfold, on the southern slopes of Grike.
On the other side of the ford continue along the path, and in just under 1.0km (0.6 miles) descend to the ford below White Esk - a shoulder of ground which is part of Grike's southern slopes. Climb the bank and continue on the path. Whoap Beck still meanders across the valley bottom to the left. Continue to the ford where Stinking Gill and Comb Beck join with Whoap Beck to form the River Calder.
Cross the ford and again climb the bank following the track climbing steadily. Keep left where the track splits, but keep above the ravine of Bomery Gill. Continue over the pass to reach the road.
Reaching the road bear right to return to the parking spot. At some times of the day this road gets surprisingly busy with commuters from the nearby Sellafield plant.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Ennerdale Water||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011