Ambleside and Red Screes
The first time I walked to the summit of Red Screes I met a chap. Being rather pleased with myself – a feeling common in those who have climbed a high mountain – I asked him how many times he had climbed Red Screes. “237!” came the improbable reply. It transpired he kept a guesthouse in Windermere and Red Screes represented the nearest high fell he could climb in a morning or afternoon. I am not sure if I will ever climb it 237 times but I have done it a few times since that encounter and have always found it a rewarding fell.

Start. Ambleside Centre

Distance: 7miles 11k

Time: 4- 5 hours

Grade: Strenuous

Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South eastern area




1. From the A591 in the centre of Ambleside turn onto North Road leading left when standing in front of the Salutation Hotel. North Road leads onto Kirkstone Road.


When you reach it turn right. This narrow road soon takes you out of the village climbing quite steeply. Keep on it for half a mile


and then turn left onto a footpath indicated by a signpost.


After passing through a pair of metal gates the path climbs the side of the fell between walls.


As it reaches the ridge it swings northwards and maintains this direction for the rest of the climb to the summit.


It is a long climb


with intermediary summits giving the impression you have arrived until you reach them when the next promising height will appear on the skyline.


At length - 2 miles of steady toil from the road - a cairn will come into view


and then soon after the trig point - a fine column made of stone.


Needless to say that the long climb is rewarded with an outstanding view - especially towards Brothers Water and Patterdale.

2. The next part of the walk requires a cool head as you negotiate down one of the steepest paths in the entire district. It is located to the right of the trig point as you approach it and is quite obvious.


The aiming point - the Kirkstone Pass Inn - is obvious too.


And it soon becomes very obvious that this descent is not easy and demands a high degree of care. Having said all this it is not beyond capabilities of the experienced fellwalker - it is just that this path is a lot easier going up than going down. Once down cross the car park to reach the road in front of the inn and soon after joining it turn right down "The Struggle" - the Kirkstone Road


which you left 2 or 3 hours earlier. You'll quickly discover why this part of the highway system is called "The Struggle". The incline is 20% and here for motor vehicles at least it is a lot harder driving up it than down. After ¼ mile the slope begins to level out. At this point turn left onto a footpath indicating Ambleside is 2 ¾ miles distant.


An easier 2 ¾ miles will be hard to find. This path is a joy to follow. Initially it is a broad grassy track


as it sweeps down to High Grove - a ruin of a farm


and continues in the same vein until it reaches Middle Grove now holiday cottages.


After passing Low Grove keep on the lane all the way down to Ambleside. As you reach the edge of a wood on the right you have the choice as to explore it and view an attractive waterfall - Stockghyll Force.


Either way it will not take long to get into bustling Ambleside.

POI At 1500ft the Kirkstone Pass Inn is the highest inhabited building in Cumbria and the third highest inn in England. Some parts of the building date back to 1496 when a monastery was on the site. The inn, pass and road take their name from a large boulder about 60yds to the left of the road at the top of the pass when heading north. From some angles this might be thought to look like a church or kirk.