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It seems odd that, surrounded by hills and mountains as we are in North Wales, Chris and I seemed to have spent more time on Scottish and Lake District mountains this year. August was no different, which is why we ended up at Rannerdale enjoying views of the sun going down over Crummock Water in the North-West Fells of the Lakes.
We had decided on a less energetic dog-walking day for Chris on day one and a trip out on the higher Grasmoor Hills for me the day after. Rannerdale Knotts seemed to fit the bill for Chris, and Border Collie ‘Mist’ wasn’t all that bothered about where we went, just as long as it involved dinner on the return, so Rannerdale Knotts it was.
Rannerdale Knotts is an interesting little hill next to Crummock Water, and legend has it that the valley with the stream of Squat Beck was the site of a battle between a combined army of the British and Norse settlers fighting against the invading Normans. There is little evidence to support the legend, but we decided there was no point in letting that spoil a good story, so keeping an eye out for marauding Normans we set off.
The hill rears up steeply on three out of four sides, and we had one of the steep sides as our way up. The path started OK on grass but then became steeper with a set of loose-looking stone steps heading upwards. Chris didn’t seem all that impressed with the state of the path, but it turned out to be solid enough, even if it did start gaining altitude fairly rapidly – at least the views helped to distract her a bit.
Once past the steps it was straightforward, if still a bit on the steep side. A short section of steep grass pointed us at a rocky little summit with a gradually descending ridge in front of us. The hard work was definitely over, though to be honest neither the angle of the slope nor any sense of difficulty had the pulse racing.
‘A hill that doesn’t get the pulse racing’ is perhaps a good description of Rannerdale Knotts, but we were, after all, just looking for a good dog walk with a view and this ticked the boxes. The hill does have the advantage of being surrounded by other, higher mountains though, with good views over to Buttermere and to the Grasmoor Hills, my destination for the next day.
A sandwich and a coffee for the humans and a couple of biscuits for ‘Mist’ added further justification for the trip, but it is a small hill and it wasn’t long before we had reached the end of the descending ridge to drop down into the valley to return to the camper parked near the lake. The sun slowly set on Rannerdale knotts and darkness fell over the lake. The next day on Grasmoor was shaping up to be a good one.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock