The Kendal Scars via Kettlewell Crag and Helsfell Nab.

Start. Serpentine Wood car park.

Route. Serpentine Wood car park - The Tram - Kettlewell Crag - Helsfell Nab - Helsfell Hall - Cunswick Fell - Scout Scar - Bradleyfield - Bradley Field Farm - Brigsteer Road - Greenside - High Tenterfell - Serpentine Road - Queen's Road - Serpentine Wood car park.

Notes. Some times things don’t go quite to plan, well today you could say was one of those days. The weather forecast promised sunshine and showers from early afternoon, we hung around all morning hoping the worst of the weather would blow through before driving into Kendal, our destination the small car park at the foot of The Tram, an old tram way used to transport limestone from the quarry on Kettlewell Crag.

Grey, wet and miserable weather welcomed us as we stepped from the car, well it may improve. Uphill we wandered our guide the tarmac of the old tramway, tarmac soon gave way to a muddy path this in turn guided us passed the small quarry on Kettlewell Crag where we immediately took a wrong turn. Once back on track we crossed a stile, field paths then guided us towards then under the cliffs and woodland of Helsfell Nab. I don’t know where the name derives but what I do know is, there’s a cave in the steep slopes, this hillside was once the haunt of bear, wild cat, pole cat, wild boar and iron age oxen, their skeletons all found in the small dark hole in the slopes of Helsfell Nab.

We continued walking to reach the remains of Helsfell Hall dating back to the 16th century, residence of the Briggs family. Robert Briggs fought for the Parliamentary side in 1640, the wrong side in this case, after the war the Philipsons of Hollin Hall who were Royalists stripped the Briggs family of their land and possessions including the hall, which was left to decay. From the fine old building the path swung up hill, steep and muddy, it deposited us at the footbridge over Kendal By-pass. After crossing said bridge it was a muddy traverse through a large field before conditions improved under foot, we reached the cairn on Cunswick Fell just as the heavens opened, wind, rain and no shelter.

We quickly descended to the tree cover of Scar Wood, that was that heavy rain on and off all the way to the summit of Scout Scar where we hankered down in the Mushroom (four sided shelter) for a short respite. We sat watching heavy showers drift in across Morecambe Bay, some swept up the Kent valley others came in our direction up Lyth. When one particular deluge passed we wandered south east to a metal kissing gate allowing access to Bradleyfield, now in the lea of the hill it was down hill all the way back, with the wind and rain at our backs we plodded on.

Again a muddy path guided us, first in the company of a dry stone wall then passed Bradley Field Farm depositing us on Brigsteer Road. With tarmac under foot we continued, over the by-pass then down hill to Greenside, here we joined High Tenterfell and Serpentine Road and Queen’s Road in that order, (one road three names) Queen’s Road deposited us back at the parked car. I for one was glad to be back, time to head home, dry off and grab something hot to eat.

view route map.


Heading north the line of the tram way under foot.

Approaching Kettlewell Crag looking across Kendal to Benson Knott.

Descending to the woodland on Helsfell Nab, viewing Potter Fell across the green fields of Kentdale.

Now used as farmers storage, this once grand building is believed to be Helsfell Hall.

Helsfell Hall seen from the north.

Viewing Helsfell Nab from the muddy path behind Helsfell Hall.

Moody views from the summit of Cunswick Fell.

Just visible through the murk the mouth of Kentmere valley.

The summit Cunswick Fell.

From the shelter of Scar Wood views back to the summit of Cunswick Fell.

On Scout Scar looking across a rain washed Lyth Valley.

The Mushroom, built in 1912 to mark the coronation of King George V. Etched round the inside rim of the dome is a 360° panorama of the surrounding fells.

Descending Bradleyfield, baring witness to heavy weather washing the Kent valley.

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