Walk up Nine Standards Rigg from Kirkby Stephen
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A contrasting adventure among limestone and moorland scenery. Though Nine Standards Rigg stands just outside the Yorkshire Dales, it’s too good to miss.
Route Start Location: Kirkby Stephen
|19.06 km||589 m||5-6 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Hard Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
There are plenty of shops, pubs and cafes in the town along with some public toilets (Stoneshot) and the Upper Eden Visitors Centre.
Navigating across the moor as you descend from Nine Standards Rigg can be tricky in poor weather. Good navigation skills will be required.
Parking : CA17 4HA
There are a handful of car parks in Kirkby Stephen. The largest (which is equipped with EV chargers) is Christian Head, located next to the fire station. The best news, it’s free!
The following bus services serve Kirkby Stephen; Service S4, S5, 502 and 571 (Brough – Kendal)
Kirkby Stephen is on the Settle – Carlisle railway. For timetable information, click here
Walk up Nine Standards Rigg from Kirkby Stephen Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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Walk up Nine Standards Rigg from Kirkby Stephen
Nine Standards Rigg is not the most fashionable fell on this list but the line of cairns atop its summit are intriguing enough to add it to the list of the Best Walks in the Yorkshire Dales. Strictly speaking, Nine Standards Rigg is the summit of Hartley Fell and is located all of 700m outside the national park boundary, but we’ll overlook that for now for it’s too good to leave out and we’re not planning a ‘Top 10 Walks Just Outside the Yorkshire Dales’.
The walk to Nine Standards Rigg from Kirkby Stephen is a real adventure, following the route of the famed Coast to Coast. You’ll start in the busy market town before venturing out through pasture and woodland to find the surprising Ewbank Scar – a feature best described as a limestone water slide. Beyond this, you’ll strike out onto prime Pennine moorland for the gradual ascent to the summit.
The Nine Standards themselves are a collection of tall cairns which lie close to the summit. Their original purpose is largely unknown, so why not venture up there and decide for yourself?
Nine Standards Rigg from Kirkby Stephen Route Description
1 – From the car park at the fire station, head east along Silver Street to the main road through the town (Market Street). Follow Market Street south until you reach a junction with traffic lights. Take the road to the left (Nateby Road) and follow it past a church and primary school. Immediately after passing the Bollam Cottage B&B, look for a fingerpost pointing left towards the path between a garage and stone wall (NY 77559 08098).
2 – Follow the walled lane down to the River Eden, crossing via a footbridge. Keep following the lane until you reach a junction with another walled lane among the trees. Cross the lane via a stile and strike out east across a field (you may need to negotiate some tall grass as you climb the hill). Cross the field where you will reach a stone bridge over an old railway line(NY 78053 07730). Cross the bridge and follow a fence as it climbs over a low hill towards the woods alongside Ladthwaite Beck.
3 – Enter the woods by bearing left over a stile and following a fence downhill towards the stream. A path follows the stream to Ewbank Scar, an impressive feature where the stream has undercut a tall limestone cliff. Keep following the path along the scar until you leave the wood, following the course of Ladthwaite Beck. The path rounds the toe of Birkett Hill, leading towards Ladthwaite Farm.
4 – Cross a stream via a small footbridge (NY 78053 07730) then take a left along the access road for the farm. Follow the road until you reach a point where it turns sharply left. Follow it left, through a gate, then double back on yourself up a stony track. Avoid the track bearing off to the left. Pass through another gate (NY 79921 07516) and continue along the track.
5 – The track climbs the western slopes of Nine Standards Rigg (Hartley Fell). The cairns atop the fell will start to come into view briefly. Keep following the track along the wall until you find a path branching off to the left (approximately NY 81046 06735). Follow this new path which leads to the summit of the fell.
6 – You will reach the Nine Standards first. Once you have explored the area, turn south along the top of the fell to find the toposcope (NY 82450 06400). If you want to bag the true summit, the trig pillar is located some 500m south of the Nine Standards across some boggy ground.
7 – Return to the toposcope then look for a vague path leading SSW across the moor, heading in the direction of High Dukerdale. Follow this path (which can be boggy) downhill until you reach Rigg Beck at the head of High Dukerdale (NY 81276 05142). Head west past a bend in a wall, bear right along a vague path (NY 81124 05150) then bear left (NY 80928 05319) to make a gentle climb up to the top of Tailbridge Hill, marked by a large cairn.
8 – From the cairn, make your way south along the edge of the escarpment to find a small parking area on the B6270 (NY 80411 04543). Turn right onto the road and follow it some 3.7km to the village of Nateby (though it’s along a road, there is little traffic and it’s easy walking, with nice views across the northern moors of the Yorkshire Dales. You may also welcome the more solid feeling beneath your feet).
9 – Upon reaching the village, follow a stream by bearing right down a narrow road. Cross the stream via one of the small footbridges then right down a walled lane marked by a green footpath sign.
10 – The walled lane leads back to the gates and stile mentioned in paragraph 2. Head left and cross the River Eden once again, retracing your route through Kirkby Stephen to the car park.