Rampsgill Head

Published 29 October 2017

The summit of Rampsgill Head, seen when approaching from The Knott

A few rocks and a cairn mark the high point of Rampsgill Head

Leaving Patterdale, Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk passes by several of the Far Eastern Fells. For my second day walking in the Patterdale area, I followed it, visiting seven different fells along its route. Fell three had been The Nab, number four The Knott. So what was number five?

From The Knott, Rampsgill Head is a mere third of a mile’s walk. It;s not even that exciting a walk. All you do is leave the cairn at the top of the Knott, cross over the footpath that carries Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, and then walk up a gentle grassy slope. The path’s nothing particularly special. It never gets chance to be so. It’s not particularly difficult. It never gets chance to be so. And this leads to a question. A very serious one. Just how am I supposed to write a couple of hundred words about it?

It’s difficult. A third of a mile, where nothing particularly happens. And if I’m brutally honest, I was at the summit in less than 20 minutes. Perhaps even fifteen. This really makes writing a compelling narrative about the thing just a little tricky. I could, instead, try to fill the space with some sort of rambling annecdote, and end it with some highly tenious connection to the fell, however I couldn’t think of any. So I won’t.

At least Wainwright could think of something to say. His introduction to Rampsgill Head lasts for a whole page, roughly double what most fells get.

Summit cairn of Rampagill Head

It doesn't take long to get there, but the cairn is good when you do.

Perhaps the most interesting thing he reveals is that the Head – as those of us in the know probably never call it – is the meeting point of two different ridges. One of them is the ridge from the High Street range. You could – if you had the time – walk all the way here from Pooley Bridge, visiting Loadpot Hill and Werther Hill first, before going over High Raise and arriving at Rampsgill Head. Indeed at one point I considered doing just that. At least until I looked at the map properl and realised that to do so would require walking quite a lot of miles, and that I wouldn’t get to my accommodation until 8pm at the earliest.

But what Rampsgill Head offered in terms of a thrils-and-spills, laugh-a-minute, mega-exciting ascent, it made up for in a thrilling summit. And yes, I’m being serious now. There were some delightful rocky outcrops to admire, and there was a stunning view.

To one side I could see Rest Dodd and it’s good friend and neighbour, The Nab. Down below ut was Ramps Gill Beck, the stream that gives the fell its name, and that flows on through Martindale.

View of neighbouring fells from Rampsgill Head

A cracking view when conditions are good.

Visible too were Wether Hill, Loadpot Hill, Bonscale Pike and Arthur’s Pike. Four Wainwrighta that I’d traversed the previous day in heavy rain and a level of cloud that meant I’d barely got to see them at all. Now I could see them properly, and boy they looked enticing.

In front of them was High Raise. That one in particular was important as it was the penultimate fell of my day’s walk. And that was where I went next; my five minutes of appreciation of Rampgsill Head now complete.

Next time: the mighty High Raise. You can see all of my photographs from my three days in Patterdale over on flickr.

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