Ard Crags is a fell in the Lake District situated in
the Newlands Valley just off the minor road between Keswick and
Buttermere. The Ordnance Survey officially records the fell's altitude
at 581 metres (1,906 feet), considerably more than the approximate
1,860 feet that Alfred Wainwright attributed to it in his Pictorial
Guide to the North Western Fells, published in 1964 well before the
advent of satellite mapping.
Ard Crags is situated close to other
higher fells such as Causey Pike and Eel Crag and can be easily
overlooked. However, viewed from certain points in the Rigg Beck or
Newlands valley area it presents a clearly defined and pyramidal shape
which catches the eye.
A long high ridge sweeps east from
Whiteless Pike via Wandope, Crag Hill, Sail (Lake District) and Causey
Pike, crossing from Buttermere to Stair.
Running parallel to the
south is a lower ridge, a tenuous connection made centrally at Sail.
This lower ridge consists of Knott Rigg and Ard Crags and has a
beautiful narrow and airy character. Ard Crags forms the eastern half of
the ridge, rising between Keskadale and the side valley of Rigg Beck. It
is sometimes referred to as Aikin Knott, the name of the rash of rock on
the nose of the ridge.
The narrow ridge is carpeted with heather,
the top marked by a small cairn.
The view from the summit is
severely restricted in a north and westerly direction by the higher Eel
Crag to Causey Pike ridge. The best feature of the view is the aerial
view of the Newlands valley while Scafell Pike can be glimpsed eight
miles away through a gap in the hills to the south.
The fell is
linked by a ridge to another “Wainwright” fell, Knott Rigg and most
walkers will climb both hills together in the same walk.
are two possible ascent starting points, one is at Rigg Beck in Newlands
near the site of the eccentrically painted “purple house” which was
destroyed by fire in June 2008. This route goes directly up the eastern
ridge passing the outcrop of Aikin Knott after which the ridge narrows
considerably to reach the heather covered summit which gives a
precipitous view of Newlands.
The alternative starting point is
the car park at Newlands Hause which stands at an altitude of 333 metres
(1,093 feet), the summit of Knott Rigg is crossed first before
continuing onto Ard Crags.
Walking routes near Ard Crags