Walking the Birketts, Knott Rigg to Ard Crags

25th January 2020

Walk two started exactly were walk one left off right at the top of Newlands Hause. It had only been a few minutes since I was descending High Snockrigg but in those few minutes it had started to rain heavily to a point where I even thought about sitting the shower out in my car but that would only waste time and since I was wet anyway I'm only going to get wetter.

By the time I crossed the top of Newlands Hause the two walkers I had seen during my descent of High Snockrigg were just disappearing over the ridge. Strong gusts were now being funnelled from the Buttermere side of the pass directly onto Knott Rigg south west ridge which aided me in ascent even though I was treated to an extra soaking I wasn't looking forward to the outward leg knowing I was going to be walking face first into the wind and rain but hey ho - the wind may subside and it may even stop raining.

Gaining Knott Rigg in twenty five minutes from leaving the top of Newlands Hause the weather continued to deteriorate but with the wind and rain on my back I wasn't complaining, well not now anyway.

The Complete Lakeland Fells
By Bill Birkett

-Knott Rigg and Ard Crags Clean cut and roof-like, the high shoulder between Knott Rigg and Ard Crags makes a delightful and straight forward excursion.


Ascent: 1,230 Feet - 375 Metres
Birketts: 3, Knott Rigg - III Crag - Ard Crags
Weather: Patchy Rain Turning Heavier, Low Level Cloud With Gust Over The Summits. Highs of 6°C Lows of 6°C
Parking: Car Park at the Top of Newlands Pass, Newlands Hause
Area - Group: North Westen - NW/GRA
Miles: 3.5
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL4
Time Taken: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
Route: Top Of Newlands Pass - Knott Rigg - III Crag - Ard Crags - Return to the Top of Newlands Pass

Parking Details and Map: Car Park at the Top of Newlands Pass, Newlands Hause
Nearest Post Code: CA13 9XA
Grid Reference: NY 192 176
Notes: There is room to park up to a dozen well parked cars at the top of Newlands Pass which during peak periods can fill up quite quickly. During Winter gaining the top of the pass can be tricky as the road often freezes over both on the Buttermere side and Braithwaite side, my advice is to check the weather first. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Moss Force and High Snockrigg 09:55am 6°C
Given the forecast there wasn't many cars parked at the top of the hause when I crossed it, the red car here I assume belongs to the walkers I've just seen disappear over the ridge.

That's High Snab Bank (Robinson) in the foreground with High Crags (Hindscarth) and Maiden Moor in the disance.

Knott Rigg comes into view.
Seen at the far end of the ridge.

In the cloud.
Before I had time to reach Knott Rigg the cloud rolled in creating some lovely dramatic scenes, here Knott Rigg is seen left with III Crag seen centre and Ard Crags seen far right.

III Crag and Ard Crags from Knott Rigg summit.
With Wandope and Eel Crag (Crag Hill) seen over on the left.

Approaching III Crag.

Ard Crags from III Crag summit.
According to my map a cairn marks the summit of III Crag but I couldn't find one so I guess my walking poles will make a temporary summit cairn while a take a quick photo.

The slight descent/ascent between III Crag and Ard Crags.

Ard Crags.

Cloud dramatics over The Scar.
The Scar is the name given to the ridge connecting Eel Crag (Crag Hill) to Sail.

Mesmerising stuff.

Ard Crags summit.

It wasn't long before reaching Ard Crags did I pass the two walkers who I had seen ascending earlier who turned out to be two girls on their way back to Newlands Hause, it was blowing a gale and raining quite heavily but we still managed a smile as we passed. From the summit of Ard Crags I peer over col between Sail and Scar Crags and spot another hardy walker presumably walking the Coledale Round, by the time I had reached for my camera the cloud had descended and they were gone.

Time to head back to Newlands Hause now.

III Crag and Knott Rigg.

Knott Rigg.

Only my back and left side had taken a soaking so far and now it was time for my right side and front, if I'm honest even though it's only a mile and a half I wasn't looking forward to the return leg. The rain would sometimes let off but predominently it was bucketing down to a point where I struggled to look ahead. The wind howled and no matter how much I fastened my hood down it seemed to get under my hood and dislodge my beanie which by now was dropping down over my left eye. I was treated to the same cyclonic gust once I descended the lower half of the south west ridge but my car was in sight and so too was a hot flask of Vimto in the boot.

I've only been out for the best part of two and a half hours and I look like a drown't rat but you know what, I'd missed Lakeland these last two weekends and if getting a soaking was my welcome back present then so be it, I enjoyed every minute of it.


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