Kirkstone and Scandale Pass

Les, Gordon and myself went up the Lake District to do a recce for the next Crosby CHA walk. Our base was to be Ambleside but we wanted to do something a bit different. We mapped out a circular route taking us up and over the Kirkstone Pass down towards Brothers Water and returning up Caiston Glen with a final climb up to Red Screes and a descent along the ridge.

After the terrible weather of the past few days it had finally stopped raining but it was very windy. The forecast was for another front moving up from the south, so we had a few hours of dry weather to complete our walk.

We set off from Ambleside and followed the tourist route past the waterfalls at Stockghyll Force. We then joined a track which climbed steadily towards the top of the Kirkstone Pass. The final couple of hundred yards were along the road, aptly named ‘The Struggle’. We were being blasted by the wind and it was an effort to make any headway.

It got a little bit easier as we headed downhill on a path running parallel to the road. Shortly before reaching Brothers Water we crossed Caiston Beck via a footbridge and then turned sharp left before starting the slow climb up Caiston Glen. The climb up alongside Caiston Beck was beautiful with dozens of small waterfalls. We were in the valley between High Hartsop Dodd and Middle Dodd and this funnelled the wind. We had to be careful on some sections of wet rock as the gusts of wind threatened to blow us off our feet.


At the top of Scandale Pass we sheltered behind a wall to assess our options. Our plan from here had been to climb up Red Screes and descend via the ridge. The alternative was to carry on down the pass following Scandale Beck. Distance wise there was not much in it but Red Screes involved 700 ft of hard climbing and a lot of effort. Also, would it be sensible? The wind would be much stronger on the tops.

For once, common sense prevailed and we followed the main track down to Ambleside. We had done 11 miles in 6 hours, just about right for the A walk.

The windy conditions turned this straightforward walk into a bit of an adventure. A day to remember.

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