High and Low Pikes through Scandale.

Start. Ambleside.

Route. Ambleside - Kirkstone Road - Sweden Bridge Lane - High Sweden Bridge - Scandale - Scandale Pass - High Bakestones - High Pike - Low Pike - Low Sweden Bridge - Nook Lane - Ambleside.

Notes. I was out on the demon drink last night, unable to get a taxi home I ended up walking arriving home in the early hours, needless to say Sunday mornings walk turned to early afternoon, me and a hangover attempting to ascent High Pike via Scandale, not the best idea I've ever had, there was nothing wrong with the walk it's a quiet classic, in my sorry state I made bloody hard work of it.

After paying the extortionate parking fee in Ambleside (I only wanted to park for a few hours not buy the land) I made my way up the Kirkstone Road passing the Golden Rule pub before turning left into Sweden Bridge Lane. Before long I was ascending between dry stone walls in the footsteps of many ramblers before me, as this old quarry track leads to High Sweden Bridge a popular visitors attraction. On reaching the bridge I left the crowds, ascending into Scandale a wonderful example of a hanging valley. Still following Sweden Bridge Lane my sights now set firmly on the bowl of hills rising and closing the head of the valley, Red Screes, Little Hart Crag, Scandale Head and High Bakestones, the latter two would mark my ascent onto the really high ground.

Where the lane ended my ascent begun, winding my way to the head of Scandale Pass. After crossing the stile I ascended to the north-west, passing tiny Scandale Tarn as I skirted the edge of Bakestones Moss. The final push to the summit of High Bakestones followed a scree gully, steep but easy, this fine view-point once boasted several cairns now only one remains, fortunately the views have stayed the same. After a short rest I followed a narrow path over Scandale Head joining the main trod to Fairfield above Thack Bottom Edge, it was down hill all the way from here.

In the company of a fine dry stone wall I made my descent, abrupt down the southern ridge of High Pike followed by the equally steep Low Pike. Then over and around High Brock Crags, Low Brock Crags and Sweden Crag to reach Low Sweden Bridge and the gate allowing access to Nook Lane. This short ribbon of tarmac conveyed me back to the Kirkstone Road, ignoring the Golden Rule (enough alcohol for this weekend) I wearily made my way back to the parked car.

view route map.


Wetherlam, seen from Sweden Bridge Lane.

The Langdale Skyline seen over the Rothay Valley.

Sunlight on the Rydal face of Heron Pike.

Stretched across the skyline Bow Fell and the unmistakable Langdale Pikes, with Crinkle Crags under cloud to the left.

The gate marks the entrance to Scandale, described by Wainwright as dreary, I love it.

Views to the head of Scandale, high ground yet to be walked.

Above High Sweden Bridge Windermere Lake tilts into view.

Looking to today's high ground, High Pike(left) with Scandale Head leading to High Bakestones.

From the foot of Scandale Pass views over the valley Wainwright called dreary, thanks AW long may it stay so.

On the slopes of Scandale Pass looking to Low Pike.

Windermere Lake seen through the ravine cut by Scandale Beck.

Ascending High Bakestones with wonderful views for company, Windermere Lake and the Irish Sea coast.

Place Fell looms above Bakestones Moss.

Clearly visible even on a hazy day like today, Coniston Water with the Duddon Estuary far to the west.

A glimpse of Brothers Water.

This fine cairn marks the summit of High Bakestones.

The stunning panorama seen from the narrow path over Scandale Head.

On a grey Lakeland day it's just possible to pick out Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark backed by Bow Fell.

With a spectacular view and dry stone wall for company I start my descent.

The summit High Pike looking to High Bakestones.

Sunlight and shade on the steep slopes of Wansfell Pike, seen from High Pike.

Rydal Water in the shadow of Loughrigg Fell with the Coniston massif under cloud to the west.

Nearly back on the valley floor with a final look to the jagged skyline of Langdale, to the right the much gentler rolling summit of High Raise.

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