Nine Standards Rigg

  • An intriguing and mysterious name
  • Great views over the Eden valley
  • Visit pleasant Kirkby Stephen

Nine Standards Rigg is well visited for only 2 reasons. Primarily it is on (actually just off) the official line of the Coast to Coast and secondly there is a series of large, imposing 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, whilst my favourite is Wainwright’s theory that the locals were just bored and it seemed like a good idea at the time! They are certainly dramatic and when arriving along the main path from Kirkby Stephen I was intrigued by two smaller stones which seemed to provide a doorway to the main stones. I had missed these on my first visit when I cut across from the B6270 – collecting a summit tick but a less satisfactory ascent in all ways.

Another positive about Nine Standards Rigg is the excellent view finder on the summit which points to the main heights near and far away. As this area of the Eden Valley is somewhere I am not really familiar with (few are) it is great to spend some moments working it all out. Without these oddities Nine Standards Rigg would be rather a tedious high plateau of wet bogland that can typify much of the higher land to the north of the Dales, with them though it is worth the climb.

Recommend: There are a lot of tired and hacked off Coast to Coasters at this point, do not ask if they are enjoying Nine Standards!!

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Nine Standards Rigg map

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OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL19 Howgill Fells & the Upper Eden. Buy Map
Start Point: Either NY 775085 in the town centre or it is possible to drive to the road end through Hartley where there is limited parking at NY 799074, thereby saving a good 4 miles road walking.
Height to Climb: 486ms(1,594 feet)
Terrain: Wet, wet, wet. This is a notoriously wet and boggy hill and subject to some erosion on the paths. From the summit I have suggested an alternative coming off just to the west of south. Finger signs then direct you back onto the coast to coast.
Eating & Drinking: Kirkby Stephen is a market town with a good variety of eating and drinking places.
Similar Walks Nearby: Killing Grounds of the Wild Boar
The Ancient Castles of Mallerstang
The Northern Howgills
Places to Stay: The Cottage, Kirkby Stephen