6th November 2011

Ill Bell the hard way


Walk Overview
Time 08.30 to 14.15
Duration 5 hr 45 min
Distance 13.5 mile
Ascent 4000 ft
Walking with On my own
Church Bridge - Garburn Pass - Hartrigg - Kentmere Reservoir - Ill Bell east ridge - Ill Bell - Froswick - Scots Rake - Hag Gill - Ing Bridge - Ing Lane - Town Head - Troutbeck - Church Bridge
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Church Bridge, Troutbeck

There isn't a great deal of room here; perhaps a few more than half a dozen spaces if you're lucky. Once these are taken however, people generally begin to park along the road near the church.

Parking is free

There are lots of walking on offer from this spot, but for myself, I find this an ideal place to head out onto the western arm of the Kentmere horseshoe.


Route Map

Troutbeck and Wansfell Pike seen from Garburn Pass.
I've had this walk, or at least part of it in mind for a while now and because of it's out of the ordinary nature I've intentionally kept it for a decent day; and they don't get much better than this. It's not very often I need to use a stream to refill the water bottle in November but today I'd ran out by the time I reached Ill Bell so the first chance I got I was taking on more water.

The early morning shadows made it quite a cool walk up Garburn Pass today, it didn't do much for the photos either. Once I got to the top and into the sunshine however, I was in short sleeves for the rest of the walk. I didn't pass many people today, but most of them commented on the unseasonably warm conditions.

In the sunshine now at the top of Garburn Pass. That's Yoke ahead of me, but I'm not heading up there today, I'm going straight over to Kentmere.

Yes, that's ice on the water. The first I've seen this winter or is it still autumn, although later in the day it was more like summer. All I need is a few daffodils and I'd have all four seasons in one day.

A view back up the Kentmere side of Garburn Pass.

Kentmere is a place I don't visit nearly as often as I should and I don't have any excuses or reasons for this, it's just the way it works out. The main aim today was to ascend Ill Bell using it's steep eastern ridge. And I know it seems a strange thing to do, but I decided to walk over Garburn Pass to Kentmere rather than driving to the village and parking there. This may have added quite a bit of ascent and descent onto the route, but setting off from an adjoining valley opens up lots of options for return routes.


It's almost three miles from Kentmere to the reservoir. Most of it level walking, and all of it through lovely countryside like this. If you were to walk from the village to the reservoir and back you'd still leave feeling satisfied with what you'd done.


Approaching Hartrigg. If you like seclusion, this would be the perfect place to live.


Kentmere Reservoir below Lingmell End and Mardale Ill Bell.
That's me at the bottom of the picture.

and again.

This one was taken a short way up from the bottom of Ill Bell's eastern ridge.

Upper Kentmere.

Looking down the bottom section of the ridge.

This picture just about sums up this ridge route. Every rocky section can easily be walked around and most can be walked over, but be warned, it really is as steep as it looks. Even though most of the route is on grass, in several places hands were needed as well as feet.


A view down to Kentmere and the hills beyond.

My original intention had been to walk back across Yoke, but once I got to this point I had second thoughts and decided to head across to Froswick and then drop down Scots Rake into Troutbeck.

Almost at the top now and looking across to Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell and in the distance are the Pennines above what seems to be a cloud inversion.

One of the three Ill Bell summit cairns.

and the other two.

Froswick and Thornthwaite Crag.

Froswick summit in front of Thornthwaite Crag and High Street.

and now in front of Mardale Ill Bell and Harter Fell.

After a bite to eat I reached Scots Rake where I took this picture looking across to Stony Cove Pike and Threshthwaite Mouth.

Now I'm back down to valley level and looking back up Scots Rake.

A longer distance version of the previous picture, this one taken from Hag Gill.


Troutbeck Park.

Yoke, Ill Bell and Froswick, taken from the walk along Ing Lane.

One of the farm houses at Town Head.

Troutbeck rooftops and Sallows.


And a final picture of me leaning on a gate to admire the view.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks