1st April 2013

Common sense prevailed - not Ill Bell's eastern ridge


Walk Overview
Time 08.25 to 11.45
Duration 3 hr 20 min
Distance 7.5 mile
Ascent 1500 ft
Walking with Andrew Leaney
Kentmere - Scales - Hartrigg - Kentmere Reservior - Leads Howe - Kentmere Reservoir and back
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Kentmere village

Parking is at a premium in Kentmere, with the early bird generally being the one who gets the space. I should add that apparently, one of the fields near the village is occasionally opened for parking, but I've yet to come here on such an occasion.

I imagine many people come here to walk the Kentmere Horseshoe route, which is all well and good, and I've enjoyed this walk many times myself. However, there are also lots of other walks that can be undertaken from Kentmere, not lest, a simple out and back walk to Kentmere Tarn.


Route Map

Our plan for today was to walk from Kentmere church to Kentmere Reservoir and then climb Ill Bell via it's steep eastern ridge. It didn't work out that way in the end but decisions are made based on conditions at the time and past experiences. And even though turning back leaves a feeling of disappointment, a short lived setback is small price to pay when you consider how things could have turned out.

This is a lovely part of the Lake District with the quietest and most peaceful countryside you could ever hope to find. Part of the attraction is that once past the village, the road continues for a few miles more but the chances are that you won't meet any traffic.

This is Hartrigg Farm. Definitely in a lovely spot, but a bit too secluded and it would just be so hard to get to anywhere from here.

Nearing the reservoir now and the valley takes on a wilder look as the gentle pastureland is left behind.

A close up of Nan Bield Pass. It looks like a heck of a lot of snow has been blown into the fellside over there.

Reservoir Cottage seen below Rainsborrow Crag / Yoke.

We're at the dam end of Kentmere Reservoir now. The low point on the skyline is Nan Bield Pass.

Looking across Kentmere Reservoir to Lingmell End on Mardale Ill Bell.

A view back along the terrace path we'd followed above the tarn.

Sunshine on Kentmere Reservoir.

It looks like we're being watched.


Upper Kentmere.

A view up the very steep east ridge on Ill Bell, but it just didn't feel right.   As we gained height the wind was picking up a bit too quickly, the snow was too soft under foot and as I said opposite; it just didn't feel right. I've been up here before so given that I know just how steep it is, the decision to turn back was an easy one.

Unfortunitely there aren't too many plan "B" options from here in these conditions so it we did a circuit of the tarn and headed back to Kentmere; and in the process we still managed to clock up over 7 miles.

A very young River Kent flowing into the tarn. Up on the skyline is Froswick.


A view back down the tarn with Froswick on the left and Lingmell End on the right.

With the water being so low, there was no need to head down stream to use the bridge, we simply crossed the outflow of the tarn by the straight across route. Not one I'd do myself or recommend to anyone if water was flowing over here.

Looking down the weir.

Rainsborrow Crag.

A close up of Kentmere Hall.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks