20th March 2007

Arctic winds on the Scandale skyline


Walk Overview
Time 08.15 to 13.30
Duration 5 hr 15 min
Distance 9.5 mile
Ascent 3484 ft
Walking with On my own
Ambleside - Kirkstone Rd - Snarker Pike - Red Screes - Middle Dodd - Scandale Pass - Scandale Tarn - Little Hart Crag - High Bakestones - High Pike - Low Pike - Low Sweden Bridge - Ambleside
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Ambleside

Ambleside offers quite a few different car parks, all of which are very close to the main town centre. I should offer a word of caution though; don't forget to bring plenty of money to buy a parking ticket.


Route Map

The view back down the Kirkstone Pass road with the snow capped Coniston fells in the far distance.

A little further up the road I got this view over the wall and down to Windermere.

Given that quite a bit of today's walk was done with snow and ice underfoot, the only real hart stopping moment occurred on the short section of road on the outskirts of Ambleside. In a couple of places where the ice stretched right across the road I had to hang onto the wall to stop myself sliding back down the road.

This photo was taken at the point where I left the road and headed onto the fell leading up to Snarker Pike and Red Screes. For most of the walk to Snarker Pike the path follows a route between two walls as shown in this picture.

The view across to the Coniston fells, Crinkle Crags and Bow Fell. The "V" in the skyline above the tree is the Wrynose Pass gap.

And looking down to Ambleside and Windermere.

On TV last night the news pointed out that today, we would have Arctic winds blowing down the length of the UK. I'm not sure what the rest of the country encountered, but I certainly experienced what were probably the coldest winds I've ever walked in. I was more than pleased I had the extra clothing with me which I always carry at this time of year. In fact, when I took this picture I was actually cowering behind the wall adding another layer.

Another wall, another layer !

Looking back down to Snarker Pike with Windermere (left) and Coniston Water (right) also in the picture.

Approaching Red Screes summit in ever strengthening winds.

Although there was a strong wind for most of today's walk, it was nothing more than you'd expect and certainly nothing to be concerned about; however, the ten to fifteen minutes I spent walking from this point, across the summit plateau and down the other side were horrendous. I was taking no chances and kept well away from the path which was far too close to the edge for my liking.

Sitting down to take a picture of Red Screes summit and tarn.

There was no hanging around at all up here today. As I was being battered by the wind, which was insistent that I should walk somewhat to the right of a straight line, I didn't even walk around to the summit side of the tarn. Just as well because even if I had ventured round, I had no intentions of getting close enough to the edge to reach the summit cairn.

Just about back to normality on the walk down to Middle Dodd. Having said that, I still walked a little to the left of the path; just in case.

The view back across to Red Screes taken from Middle Dodd.

I had no intention of gaining any unnecessary height again, so from here my route took me back to the corner of the wall seen in the picture, where I then left the ridge to take an off path route to the top of Scandale Pass.

The way ahead to Scandale Pass. A fairly easy route to work out, if you don't mind walking off path that is.

Scandale Tarn.

High Bakestones (left of middle) and Dove Crag (the high point on the right).

Stand Crags, Hartsop Above How and St Sunday Crag taken just below Little Hart Crag summit.

By the time I reached High Bakestones there was a build up of cloud and even a few snow flurries.

Looking back along the path I followed from High Bakestones to the main Dove Crag / High Pike ridge.

And the view up the ridge wall with some dark looking black clouds overhead.

There is a path on both sides of the wall and it's difficult to say if one is any better / easier than the other. I would say that one side would only take precedence over the other if you were out in poor conditions and were using the wall to shield you from the weather. I had no need for that on this section of the walk, so for no particular reason I followed the ridge on the west side of the wall.

High Pike summit showing the ridge wall behind.

Not much got in the way of the routes that these drystone walls took. Presumably because the land owners of the time didn't want to loose an inch of what belonged to them.

The view across to High Pike, taken next to the wall which passes over Low Pike summit.

A fine view across to the (eastern side) of the western arm of the Fairfield Horseshoe can be seen from the path below Low Pike. Given it's central location and how easy it is to find and walk into, this lovely valley must be one of the least visited in the Lakes. Mainly due to the fact that it comes to an abrupt end at the aptly named Dalehead Close. I've only been to the head of the valley once, but it was well worth it as an out and back.

A tricky bit on Sweeden Crag.

The crag can actually be avoided by walking around the eastern side if you wish. However, anyone with a fondness for doing Tarzan impersonations and who doesn't mind looking less than graceful, can sit on the bottom rock and then swing from the tree. No I didn't start shouting and banging my chest before I jumped, although I was tempted.

Sunlight on Little Hart Crag.

Low Sweden Bridge. Not nearly as attractive as it's upstream neighbour.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks