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Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:29 am
by colgregg
This was my first testing walk since completing the Coledale round four weeks ago feeling so "done in" that I thought my days on the high hills were over and I'd have to resort to rambling though meadows and alongside riverbanks form now on.
Setting off from the idyllic, isolated hamlet of Kentmere in what promised to be glorious weather ( a promise not broken all day) I headed up the Garburn Pass track to it's summit where a right turn took me onto the path Northwards to the first of three summits on a switchback which leads to the Highest point of the walk at Thornthwaite Crag.
It's a pleasant stroll up to Yoke and while the upper Kentmere valley cannot be seen yet,Windermere can be seen to the South and westwards is a panoramic view of the Lakeland Giants.
From Yoke the path slopes gently downwards following the edge of Rainsborrow cove with, Kentmere Reservoir below, before rising to Ill Bell with it's neat summit and well built cairns. A steep path off the summit leads northwards then eases for the climb to Frostwick. Onwards to the highest point at Thornthwaite Crag (784m) with it's impressive stone pillar. Looking back from here you can see the three summits you've just completed while The Helvellyn range looms ahead to the North.
At this point it's a good idea to take a two minute stroll north for a superb view of the Patterdale Valley. My walk turned Eastwards with Hayeswater below on the left the Shapeless summit of High Street ahead and a full length view of Kentmere on the right. The next summit was Mardale Ill Bell. Walkers unfamiliar with the area arriving here for the first time are certainly in for a surprise. The ground to the East suddenly falls away in a series of crags revealing a dramatic side to High Street totally unsuspected from the approach. Below in a bowl is Blea Tarn backed by the ridge of Rough Crag, a classic ascent in it's own right.
The pass of Nan Bield was the next objective. Nan Bield Is a great resting place (nice stone built seating) with a view Eastwards to Haweswater and one of my favourite high mountain tarns, Small Water,and westwards to the previously climbed summits and Kentmere. This is also the place to make a choice to either descend to the valley floor back to Kentmere or continue upwards To Harter Fell. The latter is worth it for the views of High Street and full length view of Haweswater. I opted for the latter and after watching a couple of mountain bikers come down the path, god knows how, I headed up to it's flat summit to take in the views mentioned before turning south for the final leg of the trip. This was an easy stroll over Kentmere Pike before reaching the valley at Hallow Bank. From there Along the lanes to take me back to Kentmere, the car and chips in Kirkby Stephen on the way home. All in all A perfect end to a perfect day.
This round is to be thoroughly recommended, especially for it's wide variety of views.
In conclusion I reckon I might just have a few more years hill walking left in me yet. Oh I was a bit miffed as it was only when I went onto H.W. that I realised Shipman knotts was a wainwright. I had deliberately missed it out to shorten the walk. I'll just have to bag it another day.
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Ill Bell from Yoke

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The view to the West

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Kentmere Reservoir, Nan Bield pass and Harter Fell beyond.

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Frostwick, Ill Bell with Wndermere stretching Southwards

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The Patterdale Valley

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Blea Water

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Small Water, Haweswater from Nan Bield pass

Re: Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:41 am
by fedupofuserids
You couldn't ask for better weather, you must of got Monday's share of sun & views !

What's the parking like in Kentmere now I haven't been that way for years and most places I've revisited seem to have ridiculus charges !

You might be able to incorporate Shipman Knotts in a route around Longsleddale or even a longish low level route with Sallows & Sour Howes (sorry haven't got a map at hand). It's not an area I'm overly familiar with so don't shout if I've suggested a dog of a route!!

Haweswater's also looking pretty low, may be worth a visit in another couple of weeks if we don't get any rain. I can remember looking around the abandoned village of Mardale when I was a kid (mid 80s). My daughter would love to see it if the level is right.

Re: Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:26 pm
by colgregg
A farmer has opened a field with parking for around 20 sensibly parked cars. He has an honesty bucket for you to put £2 in which is very good by comparison especially as there is no real alternative. Haews water is likely to get lower if the current weather keeps up.

Re: Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:40 pm
by mountain coward
that's good about the extra parking... my favourite Lakeland round that! :D

Just a note to others who may be attempting it - the actual path off the top of Illbell is to the West, not the North (although a path is rapidly forming that way). The North one is okay but is quite loose and, in icy weather would be a lot more dangerous than the normal route west as it is over biggish crags. I use the new north one for descent quite often to get me used to loose scree before going to Scotland though!

Shipman Knotts is a treat - quite a steep scrambly ascent but great fun and will be quickly done so don't worry about it...

Re: Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:30 pm
by colgregg
The path. as shown on the O.S. map, does trend slightly west of North. I'd say its North North West to be more accurate but as the way ahead is blatently clear it's not worth splitting hairs over. Cheers. Col

Re: Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:42 pm
by mountain coward
The thing I'm worried about is that the 'new' path, which initially continues north from the cairn and then descends in a more westerly direction down the northern face of Illbell is getting far more prominent than the older, safer (particularly in icy weather) route which goes down the western side of Illbell's cone.

Re: Kentmere Round

PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:29 pm
by Phooooey
Thanks for the tips. I'm hopefully up that way on Sunday if the weather is half decent (although I could certainly do with the exercise, it's not the same doing that type of distance without getting the panorama with it and a few decent piccies).
I know my dog can't wait, she's not been out for a good few hours stroll for a few weeks and is starting to drive me mad ... lol