Where is this walk?

Nine Standards Rigg

July 22, 2019

Nine Standards Rigg is a large fell situated near Kirkby Stephen and a significant obstacle on the Coast to Coast. It is a peaty mountain with some hard walking although this route is fine. The summit is a fascinating place.

The Walk

Nine Standards Rigg is regularly visited for two main reasons. Firstly it is on (actually just off) the official route of the Coast to Coast. Secondly there is a series of large, imposing but intriguing cairns lined up on the summit plateau. Quite where these came from is a mystery. The less interesting theory is that they marked a boundary line between Eden and Swaledale. A more interesting story is that the Romans or later the English built them to scare off the Scots. However my favourite theory is from Alfred Wainwright who simply believed the locals were just bored and it seemed like a good idea at the time!

On arriving along the main path from Kirkby Stephen I was also intrigued by two smaller stones which appeared to be an entrance to the larger stones. I had missed these on my first visit when I took the quick ‘ticking’ from the nearby B6270.

Another great reason to visit Nine Standards Rigg is the excellent view finder on the summit. The views are therefore accurately explained (weather permitting) although a map would still be needed to find the summit. For those not particularly familiar with the topography of the Eden Valley (like myself) the view finder is a revelation . It has to be said though that the majority of Nine Standards Rigg is remarkably featureless, usually muddy and always wet.


Do not ask the many thousands of Coast to Coasters whether they are enjoying their long distance walk, this is often a low point!

Navigation Tips on Nine Standards Rigg

Any Coast to Coast walker would argue that plenty are needed! In bad weather a knowledge of taking and following a bearing is vital. There are serious bogs to avoid and very few paths to help. The slopes to the west and north are the worst.

  • Carol Watson says:

    We walked Wainwrights Coast to Coast route in early summer of 1990. Visibility awful on the Nine Standards Rigg section and we only knew we had got to the top when the rain was pouring horizontally. Never actually saw the Nine Standards. Have been back since just to see them.
    In following years we have completed several self-styled Coast to Coast routes across northern England and have another planned for this year, Whitehaven to Whitby. We may include Nine Standards Rigg on our trip…depending on the weather.
    Great walking and great inspiration from the man himself as he suggested walkers should ‘follow their own star and find their own rainbow’s end’.

  • albert williams says:

    Hi Can you tell me what year the Red,Blue & Green routes first appeared in C2C guide books. Thankyou Al

    • Jonathan says:

      Pretty sure it was introduced 15 to 20 years ago, set up by the then Chairman of the YDNP (who’s name I cant recall at the moment). The idea was to protect the route by having different routes for different times in the year. The mountain as you may know is extremely boggy/peaty and is easily damaged. It was at the time

  • David says:

    Just out of interest, why is this not included in the Dales 30 list?

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi David, the summit is outside the National Park boundary but well worth doing in its own right. It was nearly included as an ‘extra’ until Calf Top was promoted.

  • Emily says:

    This was a highlight of my coast to coast walk back in 2010. Small female. Walking on my own. Bumped into some of the guys doing the route at the same time at the top as the weather was changing. It got bad. I ran down with two of the guys who more than once pulled me out of knee high boggy spots. Great fun. Was glad to be with others though!

  • RocknrollramblersTV (YouTube) says:

    Good morning , I did this walk on Good Friday & found it most satisfying , the views really impressive both out to the Lake District & out over the Yorkshire Dales. Visability was bad on approaching the 9 Riggs due to snow and fog but this added to the drama and gave the approach a really Erie feel when they came into view which I’ve tried to capture on my you tube video “Lakeland lunches Part 3”. One of my objectives is to try to inspire everyone but especially young people to get out an explore and do something healthy for body and mind & I really like your website. I’m a qualified walk guide & expedition leader so If you have any need for a guide . Please contact me . Thank you . Craig Labbett

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