Friday 22 August 2014. I parked for free on the very edge of Ambleside. This added a little over a mile to today’s walk which turned out to be 9.6 miles with 2,800ft of ascent – so much for taking it easy! The diet went out of the window as I stopped for a full breakfast at Bilbo’s café and for tea & a scone after the walk. It is scruffy both inside and out, but is a true walker’s café without any pretentions or queues of tourist. It suits me fine.
The route took me on a steady climb on the eastern side of the Stock Ghyll valley to eventually join “The Struggle”, a 20% minor road that joins the Kirkstone Pass just before the Kirkstone Inn. I’d steadily climbed well over 1,000ft by now but from here it went steeply uphill as I climbed a further 1,100ft to up the face of Red Screes. This involved many steps and a little scrambling and took me 50 minutes to get to the top. Having stared at my feet for the best part of an hour, I was completely blown away by the views from the top. I could see across to the Ill Bell ridge that I walked 2 days ago. To the north there was Brothers Water and the hills that surround Ullswater. Helvellyn was clearly in view as was Scafell Pike and Coniston Old Man. Red Screes at 2,546ft was my sixth new “Wainwright” this week.
The route back was far easier with a steady descent to rejoin “The Struggle” just before getting back into Ambleside. About halfway down I met a young guy, who I guess was in his early 20s and his girlfriend of a similar age. He was wearing a tee shirt, jeans and plimsolls. She was wearing a stringy top, jeans and trainers. They didn’t have anything else with them other than their phones. They had parked their car at the Kirkstone Inn, walked down “The Struggle” and then headed uphill, not on a recognised path, to the point where I met them. They didn’t have a clue! When I showed then the extract from my OS map, the guy asked “what is that?” When I told him he replied that he should get one. It wouldn’t be much use without a compass which they didn’t have. After leaving them, I thought that I should have given them my map, but on reflection, it would have been lost on them. They were an accident waiting to happen and were fortunate that the weather was fine.
After reading through this blog, I thought that I should add the route profile so that you can get a better idea of the final climb.