Wansfell Pike, the Kelsick Scar Ascent.

Start. Waterhead.

Route. Waterhead - Lake Road - Old Lake Road - Skelghyll Lane - Skelghyll Wood - Kelsick Scar - Aqueduct Observation Pillar - Wansfell Pike - Hundreds Lane - Hol Beck - Lowwood Hotel - A591 - Jenkin's Field - Waterhead.

Notes. I read in one of the walking publications, “there's no such thing as bad weather just badly dressed walkers, dress for it and embrace the rain”. Today I changed my route, it was the bad weather, I don't mind embracing the rain but I don't fancy getting too cosy, all touchy feely, it was warm and one thing that I hate about this hill walking business is dragging myself up hill trussed in gortex. so today I made an exception.

On went the big boots, waterproof trousers and bright orange jacket, I parked on the roadside at Waterhead, wandered into Ambleside to join Old Lake Road, behind the Mountain Rescue Base a finger-post invited me to Jenkin Crag and Troutbeck. The climbing started immediately, first over tarmac then a stoney track which guided me through Skelghyll Wood, just before the view point of Jenkin Crag a green trod emerged from the left, a discreet sign promised access to Kelsick Scar and Wansfell Pike.

This path I followed through dripping woodland, passed a memorial plaque to the wife of Alfred Holden Illingworth, whom gifted the woodland and scar in her memory to the National Trust in 1925. The path guided me up hill depositing me at a ladder stile, I crossed to be greeted by an observation pillar, one of two on the southern slopes of Wansfell Pike, this and its partner were used to plot the route of the Thirlmere Aqueduct.

The ascent continued through rough sheep pastures, passed sheep pens, round rocky outcrops, into Lakeland grey emulsion. The cloud came and went but the rain persisted, in fact it was getting worse. After a final steep pull and easy scramble I popped out of a gully onto a wet and windy summit. I sat in the lea of a dry stone wall drinking coffee, views waxed and waned but were never very good, having had my fill I headed east, head on into the tempest, this was the path to Troutbeck, usually busy but not today. It ushered me to a gate, I passed through said gate then turned sharp right, a fairly decent path then guided me over boggy ground through rough pastures depositing me at the head of Hundreds Lane.

I continued descending between dry stone walls, wet and windy weather persisted but under my expensive outer shell I was surprisingly dry. I continued down hill to access the path to Ambleside, I knew this was the right way a finger-post told me so, I continued down hill to the lane servicing High Skelghyll Farm, another friendly finger-post then invited me to Lowwood Hotel, this I follower abandoning the path to Ambleside.

My descent now followed yellow arrows through sheep pastures, stiles and gates aided my crossing of field boundaries, I soon emerged onto the main road next to the Lowwood Hotel. Descending this way does have one problem, the road is always busy even on a wet day, today was no exception. To the song of traffic I wandered along the Windermere Lake shore, there was one respite, Jenkin's Field, owned by the National Trust and a wonderful opportunity to escape the busy road. I followed the lake shore to wooded Holme Crag then on to the boat houses at Waterhead, journeys end.

view route map.


Ascending Skelghyll Lane looking to Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg and, it's head in cloud Fairfield.

A nice place to be remembered, the plaque reads "Presented to the National Trust by Alfred Holden Illingworth in memory of his wife 1925".

Aqueduct Observatory one of two on the southern slopes of Wansfell Pike, the aqueduct stretches almost 96 miles from Thirlmere to Manchester, successfully supplying industry and the good citizens of Manchester with 55,000,000 imperial gallons of fresh water every day since the 13th October 1894.

Viewing Lingmoor Fell and Loughrigg Fell from above Kelsick Scar.

I should have gone to Arnside, sunlight on Morecambe Bay.

Windermere Lake with Gummer's How on the horizon.

View taken to the west over Windermere Lake, Blelham Tarn with the slopes of Latterbarrow rising to the left, squint you can just make out the buildings of Hawkshead.

Hankered down in the lea of a dry stone wall, looking along Wansfell's north ridge.

The southern ridge, my route onto the hill earlier.

Under leadened skis Windermere Lake.

This would normally be a view over Skelghyll Wood to the mouth of Great Langdale and the Langdale Pikes, I'm afraid I can only manage Skelghyll Wood and the head of Windermere.

Better weather to the south, seen from the path to Lowwood.

On the lake shore in Jenkin's Field viewing Latterbarrow over Windermere Lake, with Holme Crag silhouetted to the left.

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