Date completed: 9th October 2009

Fells climbed: Sallows (1691 feet above sea level, no. 24), Sour Howes (1568′, no. 25), Troutbeck Tongue (1191′, no. 26)

Distance: 15.5 miles approximately. (This includes the final walk from the Sun Hotel to the station, but you could catch a bus and shorten the walk by over a mile.)

Total ascent: 3100 feet approx.

Weather conditions: Overcast, and quite a strong southerly wind, but dry.

Start and end points: Started at Staveley rail station and ended at Windermere. No buses needed.

Pub at nearly the end: The Sun Hotel, Troutbeck Bridge. In the time since I have done this walk this transmogrified into a Mexican restaurant but it is now back to its original name and trade. Note that I walked back to Windermere station from here, but that’s a hike of at least 20 minutes, and all uphill. It is better to get a bus.

Route card: Click on this link for a route card which shows summary information, the elevation profile, waypoints and a summary map. Route card for walk 7: Garburn and Troutbeck.

Sallows from Croft Head

Sallows (in distance) from Croft Head, on the walk from Staveley to Kentmere

Route: Come down off Staveley station and head north, through the village and onto the Kentmere road (signposted). But instead of crossing Barley Bridge (SD 470887 what’s this?), head up the lane signposted Brow Foot. Once you reach it, about a mile later, you have to go round the back of that farm and then bear right down the lane by the river. Pass through Croft Head (pictured), take the path on the right, and then head through the bizarrely-sited factory at NY 455020 – it’s a right of way, but stick to the designated path unless you want to be run over by a fork lift truck. Eventually I came out at Kentmere Hall.

Sallows from Badger Rock, Kentmere

Sallows from Badger Rock, Kentmere (the summit is the gentle dome on the far right)

The path to take next isn’t obvious, it’s a little gate leading into a field which I slanted up to reach the buildings at NY 455044, but from that point it’s all obvious up to the top of Garburn Pass.

Just before the summit, I passed through a small gap in the wall, which may well be the only access to Sallows and Sour Howes from here so look out for it. Sallows was then a steep but short and easy pull up the slope. Sour Howes is then obvious to the west, as is the route to it.

I tried to take a short cut to the Garburn Pass road from the summit of Sour Howes but fences suggest I shouldn’t have done so. I then wanted to take another, more significant short cut down to the Troutbeck valley and the road at Long Green Head, to avoid a very big corner, and ended up following the wall which runs from NY 428041 to NY 421044, losing some 800 feet of altitude in the process. There seems free access to this enclosure at the top, but not the bottom – meanwhile, the next enclosure north has free access at the bottom but not the top. Go figure. Anyway this was a useful short cut but not an easy descent.

Followed the Long Green Head road round to the junction at NY 420048 (don’t stick on the path which takes you up the wrong side of Hagg Gill). Follow the signs to “Threshthwaite” and then, once below Troutbeck Tongue at  the footbridge at NY 425059, there is a very steep pull up to the summit on the left – there is no path upwards at the footbridge but one emerges after a few (very very steep) yards.

Once up and down the Tongue by the same route I just went to Troutbeck via the road and then on to Windermere by Bridge Lane (not the A592, which didn’t look at all safe for pedestrians). Could have found a cross-country route back I suppose but this was not an unpleasant road to walk on.

Note also that the final walk from the Sun Hotel back to Windermere station is rather longer and steeper than you might expect. I would catch a bus instead.

Troutbeck Valley, with Troutbeck Tongue in the centre

Troutbeck Valley, with Troutbeck Tongue in the centre

Tedious self-indulgent commentary stuff: So I am now fully sorted as to what I’m doing – except for the CD-Rom/blog idea, which came to me today, hence I typed these notes up on the train home. I’ve been looking at the LD map trying to work out which bits are hardest to do purely by public transport. The central and southern bits of the district are generally fine, but the far east, far west and far north are the problem areas. I can’t do all this by day trips, there are going to be some two- and three-day expeditions required, or at least some stayovers in Morecambe.

What I need to know is how long it takes me to do certain walks from key public transport locations. The Far Eastern fells are opened up more if it is realistic to walk from Staveley to Kentmere and still have the energy to do a full walk afterwards and then get back to Windermere or Staveley again. So what I wanted to do today was a recce, testing out these kinds of timings, seeing what the lay of the land is like. The Far Eastern volume was the only one I had never previously done a walk from at all, I was ignorant what it was like. Plus, it’s October now, and while the weather’s not bad, it’s not that great either. Finally the weather forecast today was OK at first but then deteriorating. So I started early, aiming for minor hills, “bagging” yes but also exploring.

The walk along the valley to Kentmere was lovely, more like the Dales than the Lakes perhaps, but with the crags of Yoke ahead giving it the rumpled, vertical look. Kentmere Hall was reached by 10am, now there’s a beautiful building in a lovely spot. Sour Howes is done with at least half an hour to spare before noon so I come back to Garburn: not easy just to get back on to the pass and I climb a fence I probably shouldn’t have. Now on a pure bagging run I see Troutbeck Tongue nestled like a little baby in the embrace of all the other fells ringing the Troutbeck Valley so head off for it. The big corner of the Garburn Road, I cut off by following this long wall straight down the fellside, hardly ideal but the awkward descent is livened up a) by wondering whether the rash of toadstools halfway down are fly agaric and b) whether the farmer at Long Green Head I can see in the yard will scold me off at the bottom. I avoid that and by 1230 I’ve had my lunch and am at the base of the Tongue.


Kentmere, with Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts in the background

It’s only 20 minutes up and 10 down but it’s a steep little bugger. Nice view of the valley from the top but not much else. I pass more people, quite a lot of people, on the way back down the road to Troutbeck, a pleasant walk but I’m pushing the pace to get the 1448 back out of Windermere so don’t explore the non-tarmac options, and anyway am now distracted by having had the idea for this blog. If enough people come to this quiet corner of the LD on an overcast October day there’s got to still be the interest in this and I could raise so much more money for the charity that way. Yeah, 26 down, 188 to go, lots more to see yet but there’s a real product in mind now from this Project. I’m back in the Railway by 5pm. I hope I get another walk in this year and I think now, I have to – weather permitting.

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