Situated on the minor road between Keswick and Buttermere that follows the Newlands Valley, Ard Crags face the valley in front of the larger Wainwright Fells, Eel Crag and Sail. However, it is prominent due to its pyramid shaped summit, and makes an excellent Wainwright walk, particularly in conjunction with the neighbouring Knott Riggs. These two peaks offer lovely views of the pleasantly green Newlands valley, although long range views are restricted bythe proximity of larger Wainwright fells to the northwest. That said, the ridge of fells from Cat Bells to Robinson on the other side of the valley make this a rewarding Wainwright Walk - plus offering a relatively easy way to complete two further peaks on your Wainwright Maps.
There are two common routes for completing Ard Crags, with Wainwright walks beginning at Rigg Beck, which climbs Ard Crags first then follows the ridge to Knott Riggs, or from Newlands Hause which essentially completes the Wainwright walk in the opposite direction. With good views of the larger surrounding fells, and walking suitable for beginner hikers, it is a good place to start completing fells on a Wainwright Hill Chart, as a warm up to more challenging Wainwright Walks.
Because of the nearness of other Wainwright fells, researching a good route can allow walkers to combine Ard Crags with other peaks such as Sail and Eel Crags, or for particularly energetic walkers (with a long day to play with!), a loop around the full Newlands valley from Cat Bells to Ard Crags via Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head, Hindscarth, Robinson and Knott Rigg. The latter Wainwright Walk is something of an epic journey, but possible in a day if you are determined to get plenty of peaks on your Wainwright Map completed in a short timescale.
Ard Crags and its neighbour Knott Rigg are discussed in Book Six: The Northwestern Fells, by A. Wainwright, part of the Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.
The Wainwright Walk to Ard Crags, which rises above the Newlands Valley - Picture by Stewart Smith Photography