The Wansfell Ridge.

Start. Ambleside (Lake Road car park).

Route. Ambleside - Old Lake Road - Skelghyll Lane - Skekghyll Wood - High Skelghyll Farm - Robin Lane - Hundreds Road - Wansfell Pike - Baystones - Idle Hill - Woundale Rise - Kirkstone Pass Road (B592) - Kirkstone Pass Inn - The Struggle - High Grove - Middle Grove - Stockghyll Lane - Ambleside.

Notes. What I like to call the Wansfell Ridge should really be christened the Coudale Moor Ridge, for Wansfell Pikes rocky crown is but just the southern tip of a long ridge running from Coudale Moor, split by the Kirkstone Pass Road the ridge cuts along a vast tract of spongy moorland rising between the Troutbeck and Ambleside valleys. You'll certainly never be alone drinking in the views from Wansfell's rocky bluff. A number of routes ascend the hill, all steep, all a bit of a grunt, well all bar one, my chosen route today was the easy option, still a bit of a leg burner but reserving as much energy as possible for the long walk over boggy ground to the Kirkstone Pass Inn.

My day started wandering along Old Lake Road, I soon reached the start of Skelghyll Lane once the main route to Troutbeck. Through Skelghyll Wood I climbed, passed High Skelghyll Farm, on reaching a cattle grid and gate I turned left to start the short ascent to the junction of Robin Lane and Hundreds Road, (which is actually a stoney lane). I followed the latter between dry stone walls, through field gates into open pastures, small arrows nailed to posts kept me on track, I soon reached the main path climbing from Troutbeck, here I joined the crowds for the final pull to the summit.

Standing on the rocky top my eye was drawn away from the stunning vistas over South Lakeland, away from the Langdale Pikes and Coniston massif, a small white washed building almost three miles to the north caught my attention, the Kirkstone Pass Inn, I could almost smell food cooking. Turning my back on the crowds I let the dry stone wall guide me north towards that imaginary odour. Over the summit of Baystones I walked, stiles eased my passage over dry stone walls, a number of diversions guided me around boggy ground, I descended Idle Hill before starting the traverse of a vast tract of wet land, half way across I give up trying to keep dry and piled on through the mire regardless. The tarmac surface of the Kirkstone Road had a safe, secure feel to it. With the smell of food no longer imaginary I let the road guide me to it's source, the inn was busy but there's always room for one.

Lunch over I descended The Struggle, at the bottom of the hill a finger-post invited my to leave the road, I obliged stepping onto a bridleway to start the walk back, I believe this is another ancient route, superseded by the motor road I'd left at the bottom of The Struggle. This bridleway guided me through High Grove and Middle Grove where I joined the tarmac surface of Stockghyll Lane for the short walk back into Ambleside.

view route map.


An icing sugar day on Fairfield, seen from Skelghyll Lane.

The track through Skelghyll Wood.

When I escaped the tree cover this view greeted me, Windermere Lake.

From the same vantage point, under snow Coniston Old Man.

Looking to High Skelghyll Farm, Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam make a perfect back drop.

One of the fabulous panoramas to be had from Hundreds Road, across the skyline, The Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and to the right, the unmistakable Langdale Pikes.

The same view from slightly further up the track.

Wonderful views the length of Windermere Lake.

Ill Bell and Yoke seen across Troutbeck.

Stunning views over South Lakeland, as seen from near the summit of Wansfell Pike.

In sunlight and shade Sallows.

Stunning vistas over dappled ridges, the arms of the Fairfield Horseshoe with Fairfield and Great Rigg under snow, in the foreground the long ridge running above Pets Quarry leads to Red Screes.

In the distance, sandwiched between Red Screes and Coudale Moor, Kirkstone Pass.

Just follow the dry stone wall along this undulating ridge, the highest point being Baystones to the left.

The summit Baystones looking to Kirkstone Pass.

Seen from the summit of Baystones, under a dusting of snow, from left to right, Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke, a classic ridge walk.

A couple of less frequented summits, Sallows and Sour Howes.

Viewing Red Screes.

A rain washed Coniston massif as seen from the Kirkstone Road.

Views taken down The Struggle.

Above High Grove looking to the Coniston Fells, Wetherlam backed by Coniston Old Man and Great Carrs.

Looking to Red Screes with an ominous looking dark cloud bubbling up out of Patterdale, I think it's time to head off the hill.

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