Red Screes via Scandale.

Start. Ambleside.

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

Notes. Red Screes has always been a winter favourite of mine, a fairly safe option when snow and ice coat the high fells, at 2,545ft high it's no stroll in the park but the views from the wind swept summit are staggering. Today I tackled the hill via Scandale, a hanging valley above Ambleside. Old Wainwright hated it describing it as “tedious and dull”, he'd hate it even more now, Scandale is changing, not necessarily for the better. Thousands of trees have been planted in the name of Agri-environment, running up the fell sides like rivers of match sticks, little grey tubes to guard the saplings against grazing animals. I'm all for re-afforestation but refuse to hang my hat on the green banner, it was a shocking site, Carlo wasn't impressed.

To the affairs of the day, an early start mainly because I couldn't sleep meant I left the main car park in the dark. Up Smithy Brow I climbed passed the Golden Rule Pub to access Sweden Bridge Lane, climbing gently along it's length this narrow tarmac lane ushered me out of Ambleside. When the housing ended so did the tarmac, a rough rising track now guided me, affording me some exquisite views over the Vale of Rydal, unfortunately I'm unable to show you them, I couldn't hold the camera still long enough. Through woodland passed ancient quarries I rambled, the musical accompaniment of Scandale Beck forever present deep in the gorge to my left. On reaching the single arch of High Sweden Bridge I stopped for a quick brew before continuing between dry stone walls to Scandale Bottom, this tract of boggy ground now my only obstacle to the steep slopes of Scandale Pass.

The summit of Scandale Pass rises to 1,690ft, it was bloody freezing, a strong wind whistled over the pass, I hankered down behind the wall and donned a couple of extra layers. From this wind swept coll I turned south east, a dry stone wall guided me through deep snow over icy slabs, it was a slow ascent but straight forward. On reaching another wall a good path ushered me across snow covered slopes to the summit, time for a brew and something to eat.

I sat quite a while drinking tea chatting to other walkers and soaking up staggering views. When the cold started to penetrate my many layers I bid farewell to the summit, wandered passed a partially frozen Red Screes Tarn to access Raven Crag. A long traverse of Snarker Moss followed, loosing height with every step, across Snarker Pike I passed before a steep descent to a ladder stile, I crossed said stile stepping between dry stone walls. This was the mouth of a rough funnel, once used by shepherds to funnel their sheep from the fell, it funneled me to the Kirkstone Road where the narrow ribbon of tarmac safely guided me back into Ambleside.

view route map.


The single arch of High Sweden Bridge reaches across Scandale Beck, a real tourist attraction, not this time of the morning I've got the place to myself.

The morning sun kisses the summit of High Pike.

Ascending Scandale Pass, looking over Scandale to Low Pike warmed by the rising sun.

Near the summit of Scandale Pass viewing High Bakestones with the slopes of Dove Crag rising behind.

Winter conditions on the summit of Scandale Pass.

Toiling up the lower slopes of Red Screes with this wonderful view over Patterdale for company.

Winter conditions on the northern slopes of Red Screes, capturing the winters sun, High Bakestones and Dove Crag.

Who needs summer when winter brings conditions like this, looking to Brothers Water backed by Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes.

And the reason winter is so stunning, wonderful views over High Pike and Heron Pike to the Langdale Pikes, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.

Heading up Red Screes viewing Place Fell and Angletarn Pikes above Brothers Water.

Stunning conditions near the summit of Red Screes.

On a blistering cold day, perched on the summit of Red Screes just drinking in fabulous views the length of Patterdale.

A stunning view over Red Screes Tarn, to the left, the Coniston massif, the right Pike of Blisco and the Crinkle Crags, taking centre stage the pyramid like Harter Fell guards the head of Eskdale.

Across the divide of Troutbeck, Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke.

An icy wonderland on Red Screes, soaking up views to Dove Crag and Fairfield, with St Sunday Crag far right.

Stunning views to Wetherlam and the Coniston massif.

It's a magical place the Lake District when sunlight reflects off fallen snow, looking to the Langdale Pikes dwarfed by the Scafell massif.

Seen from Raven Crag Windermere Lake.

On view over Woundale rising from the Troutbeck valley, Sallows and Sour Howes.

A gem in a mountain setting, Rydal Water.

Descending Snarker Pike with a striking view across Scandale, in dappled light Dove Crag, to the left just slipping into shot High Pike.

Low Pike and High Pike backed by Great Rigg.

I couldn't resist this shot it was the sheep that did it for me, the view, Sweden Crag backed by Heron Pike.

The high skyline, Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and the Langdale Pikes, dressed to impress.

Froswick and Ill Bell as seen over Woundale.

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