Tuesday 28 March 2017. Yesterday was a transfer day as I moved sites from Austwick to Windermere so no walking. Today I met up with John Horner, a former work colleague for a walk on part of the Kentmere Horseshoe. The full circuit is an extremely challenging walk and when I tried to do it a couple of years ago, I had to bale out as I just couldn’t face the climb up to Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike. So today it was a resumption of unfinished business.
It was a 6 mile drive down a narrow single track road to get to the start of the walk at the end of Longsleddale. Thankfully, I only met 2 cars on the drive in and 1 on the way out; all of them near small passing laybys. We steadily climbed the first 1,500ft as we made our way up Gatescarth Pass. On the way we passed some lovely waterfalls on the River Sprint.
Turning off the Gatescarth Pass the climbing began in earnest as we made our way up past the snow-line to Harter Fell, the 1st Wainwright of the day at 2,552ft. From here we had good views down Haweswater and stopped for lunch overlooking Small Water and High Street. As we made our way to the 2nd Wainwright, Kentmere Pike (2,395ft), we had just had a conversation about the reliability of smart phones as navigation aids when I got a text message from BT welcoming me to Guernsey? I’m glad I knew where I was, even if BT didn’t!
More ups and downs brought us to our 3rd and final Wainwright, Shipman Knotts (1,926ft). By now my knee was beginning to ache and I almost bypassed Shipman Knotts as I was unsure if it featured on Wainwright’s list. It had been a beautiful if hazy morning requiring the application of suncream but it steadily clouded over and light rain fell for the last mile. The first uphill half of the walk was wonderful but the trudge over snow and boggy ground from Harter Fell to Shipman Knotts was less enjoyable. The western part of the Kentmere Horseshoe is much better and I doubt that I’ll be visiting the eastern section again. The walk was 8.1 miles with a total ascent of 2,400ft.