Wednesday 13 April 2016. I met Linda close to her Youth Hostel in Ambleside. Car parking nearby was a ridiculous £8 for the day but I knew of a layby on the south of the town where parking was free. This meant that we had to do an extra half mile or so of walking at the beginning and end of our walk but it was worth it to make such a sizeable saving.
Leaving Ambleside, we made our way up a minor road aptly named “The Struggle” due to its steep gradient. This set the tone for the rest of the morning as it was up, up, up until we reached the summit of Red Screes (2,545ft). It had taken us almost 3 hours to get to the top but this did include a coffee stop and a few other stops for photos and to get my breath. Had Linda been on her own, she would have probably done this section of the walk in a little over 2 hours. We had come up over 2,300ft since we left Ambleside and, almost inevitably, we were now in the clouds. We had a brief but chilly lunch break in the shelter at the top of Red Screes.
The next section of the walk took us 700ft down to the head of Scandale Pass. It was at this point that the rain started to effect my Tablet and it started to malfunction; proving that over-reliance on technology isn’t a good thing. I switched to my Smart Phone as a backup navigational aid although it wasn’t really needed as the route was easy to follow. We could have taken an easier path back down the Scandale Valley but no, we (Linda?) opted for the harder route following part of the Fairfield Horseshoe back to Ambleside. This meant another climb of 700ft up to the ridge which we were to follow for most of the way down. It was a rocky and often boggy path and took as long to negotiate as our ascent. We stopped briefly at High Sweden Bridge before pressing on into Ambleside. We had planned on tea and cake but as it was turned 5pm when we got back, all of the cafes had closed.
This was one of the longest and hardest walks that I’ve done for a long long time. We walked for 8 hours and covered 11¼ miles with a total ascent of 3,440ft.