The Ill Bell Ridge return through Troutbeck.

Start. Jesus Church Troutbeck.

Route. Jesus Church Troutbeck - Church Bridge - Garburn Road - Garburn Nook - Garburn - Yoke - Ill Bell - Froswick. - Thornthwaite Crag - Park Fell - Troutbeck Park - Long Green Head - Limefitt Park - Jesus Church Troutbeck.

Notes. Compared to my last trip out this was heaven, a lofty ridge walk over the western arm of the famed Kentmere Horseshoe, stunning walking across wind swept ridges crossing four summits in the process, high, wide and handsom views from the entire high level traverse. My descent followed the line of the Roman road leading out of Troutbeck, a path used many times by the invading Scots, today one of the best Mountain Bike descents in the country, a delightful route off the hill.

I parked just behind Jesus Church Troutbeck, a small lay-by accommodates several cars, a short walk down the road brought me to a gate on the left, this is the Garburn Road an old pack-horse track, my way onto the hill. The long easy climb that followed was a delight, with the steep slopes of Sour Howes to my right and stunning views over Troutbeck on the left there was plenty to occupy the mind, after two miles of easy ascending the fir cops at Garburn Nook and a small cairn marking the start of the ridge walk.

An engineered path carried me north, traversing the wet ground of Garburn before the easy ascent onto Yoke, the ups and downs that followed are some of the best ridge walking in the Lake District. Ill Bell with it's many cairns, Froswick and the final long pull to the magnificent beacon above Thornthwaite Crag, dizzy views into rocky coves, unfolding to the west a staggering skyline of Lakeland giants , I took my time and soaked up the views.

After a brief rest at Thornthwaite Beacon I turned my back on the hills, heading south descending the grassy slopes of Park Fell, I soon stepped onto what scholars claim is the route of the Roman road leading out of Troutbeck, this is a wonderful way off the hill. Locally called The Hagg Gill Descent, it's also a favourite for men on cycles, keep looking over your shoulder. Once safely on the valley floor my route followed the waters of Hagg Gill, crossing the gill at a field barn, here I entered the world of long dead quarry men, spoil heaps littered the lower slopes of Yoke. I continued forward down the valley, after what seemed ages I reached a rather large dear gate, I passed through it then on to the next which marked the start of the short path into Limefitt Park, a short walk over tarmac between plush log cabins followed before stepping back onto the Kirkstone road almost opposite the waiting car.

view route map.


Jesus Church with the golden glow of the morning sun on the slopes of Wansfell.

Stunning views to the head of the Troutbeck valley, my route follows the undulating ridge to the right.

To the west Windermere Lake tilts into view as does a misty Coniston Old Man over the slopes of Wansfell Pike.

The scene over Troutbeck taking in The Tongue and Stony Cove Pike skyline.

Striding across Garburn with a wonderful view to Red Screes.

Under cloud the head of Kentmere.

The summit cairn Yoke looking to Ill Bell.

Spectacular views from above Star Crag, Kentmere Reservoir and Lingmell End over Ill Bell.

The summit Ill Bell.

Soaking up the atmosphere on Ill Bell, the Nan Bield Pass has just appeared under the cloud base.

Still on Ill Bell it's hard to drag myself away, looking over Froswick to Thornthwaite Crag.

Viewing Stony Cove Pike from the summit Froswick.

The promise of the challenge to come, the ascent of Thornthwaite Crag, my descent route can just be seen to the left of the main path.

On the final climb to Thornthwaite Beacon, with views through Threshthwaite Mouth to Raven Crag.

The unmistakable Thornthwaite Beacon, seen from many a Lakeland summit.

Cloud spills over the summit of High Street, seen from Thornthwaite Beacon.

Looking to Hartsop Dodd above Pasture Beck Bottom.

Wonderful shining levels, Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke seen from above Thornthwaite Crag.

Hazy views over Troutbeck, dominating the scene Wansfell Pike.

Threshthwaite Crag looking rather imposing from the grassy slopes of Park Fell.

Looking back across the desolation of upper Troutbeck.

The Tongue rising above Troutbeck Park.

It's been an awful long walk out, but with views like this for company who's complaining, not me, from front to back, Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick with Thornthwaite Crag under cloud on the far horizon.

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