Evening on Red Screes.

Start. Ambleside (main car park).

Route. Ambleside - Sweden Bridge Lane - Rough Side - High Sweden Bridge - Scandale - Scandale Bottom - Scandale Pass - Red Screes - Raven Crag - Snarker Moss - Snarker Pike - Kirkstone Road - Ambleside.

Notes. Rising to 2,545ft between the passes of Kirkstone and Scandale, Red Screes presents a formidable obstacle. I've graced it's summit many times by way of many different routes, steep and exhilarating from Kirkstone Pass, the Kilnshaw Chimney ascent, the long walk in from the Kirkstone Road, over two miles of relatively easy ascent, (one of my favourite winter walks), from Patterdale ascending the pathless ridge onto Middle Dodd followed by a short ridge walk to the summit, then there's the ancient pass of Scandale, an ascent through a deserted hanging valley utilizing the 1,690ft Scandale Pass as a stepping stone, old Wainwright hated it, I love it, it was my chosen route today, and just to make things a little more interesting I'd ascend in the evening hoping to make my descent at sun set.

My day started at the bottom of the Kirkstone Road, ascending the ribbon of tarmac that guides motor traffic up The Struggle to the summit of Kirkstone Pass, after passing the Golden Rule pub, Sweden Bridge Lane emerges from the left, this was my route into Scandale. I ascended the tarmac lane, the tarmac soon gave way to a rough, stoney track, on I wandered through woods alive with bluebells, passed disused quarry workings before reaching High Sweden Bridge, one of Lakeland's much visited gems. This quaint pack-horse bridge marked the entrance to Scandale and a walled lane that would guide me through the valley, on I walked escaping the lane at Scandale Bottom, after fording Scandale Beck a sheep fold and gate marked the start of my ascent, no escaping this, Scandale Pass, 1,690ft above sea level. The path was good, well mostly, the summit of the pass was soon reached and I found myself staring up the Broad Crag slopes of Red Screes, an 850ft climb and it looked an awful long way. Gritting my teeth I begun the ascent, with a dry stone wall for company I climbed the hill, the path passed over large slate slabs and patches of boggy ground eventually reaching a wall corner and path junction, the left hand fork guided me to the summit where I flopped down to have a brew and soak up extensive views.

Respite over with the shadows getting longer it was time to descend, I slung my bag onto my back then headed south, with a good path under foot I crossed the summit, passed above Raven Crag before traversing Snarker Moss en route to Snarker Pike. Down the hill I walked until my way was blocked by a dry stone wall, I let the wall guide me to a ladder stile which allowed access to what looks like another lane, in fact it's a funnel one of many to be found across the Lake District, once used to aid shepherds to guide their beasts to lower pastures. It guided me down the hill eventually depositing me on the Kirkstone Road around the 750ft contour, I turned right then let the narrow road guide me back into Ambleside.

view route map.


In the confines of Scandale Lane I got my first view over Lake Windermere.

Rough Sides Wood alive with Bluebells this time of year.

Towering above Scandale, in shadow High Pike with High Bakestones catching the last of the days sunlight.

Quiet at this time of day, High Sweden Bridge.

Heading through Scandale trying to think of an excuse not the climb the pass ahead, to the left of Scandale Pass the twin summits of Little Hart Crag.

Looking back over Scandale from the steep ascent of Scandale Pass.

Viewing Wetherlam and the Coniston massif from the Scandale slopes of Red Screes.

Spectacular views over Patterdale taking in Brothers Water and the ever popular Place Fell.

Soaking up one of the stunning views from the summit of Red Screes, let the ridge leading to Middle Dodd carry the eye down the Patterdale valley.

To the west a litany of Lakeland giants including the daddy of them all Scafell Pike.

Looking to the rolling summits of Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick.

The cairn above Raven Crag with mouth-watering views over South Lakeland.

Wonderful evening light on the Lakeland fells, seen over Low Pike the unmistakable Langdale Pikes backed by Bow Fell and the Crinkle Crags, on the far horizon Sca Fell and Scafell Pike split by the pass of Mickledore.

From Snarker Moss views to Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam, through the gap which is the Wrynose Pass Harter Fell.

Ill Bell and Froswick backed by Harter Fell, the Kentmere model, from one Harter Fell to the other just sixteen miles.

An unfolding panorama over South Lakeland.

Drinking in the views over little Rydal Water.

The scene over some of the lesser heights of South Lakeland with the Coniston massif dominating the horizon.

Rydal Water as seen over Sweden Crag.

Evening light on Wansfell Pike.

The shadows are getting longer, from the sheep funnel guiding me down the fell views to the Coniston massif.

Wonderful shining levels.

The scene over Ambleside and the head of Windermere.

The Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell make up this Lakeland skyline with the Langdale Pikes clearly visible to the right.

Wetherlam and the Coniston fells dominate the scene, with Black Crag and Todd Crag capturing the last of the days light.

Finally before stepping onto the tarmac of the Kirkstone Road a glimpse of Ill Bell and Froswick dressed in the garb of early evening.

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