Kentmere valley from High Knott

Looking north from the ascent of High Knott, to the Kentmere valley.

Date completed: 23rd May 2015 (with Joe)

Weather conditions: Perfectly glorious. Or perhaps, gloriously perfect.

Summits bagged: High Knott (901 feet above sea level), Hugill Fell (840’), Reston Scar (834’). None bagged before, so these become numbers 304-306 of the round of 330 Wainwrights.

Langdale district from Reston Scar

View towards Langdale from Reston Scar. Fells on the horizon are, I think, Esk Pike (extreme left), Great End, Allen Crags, Loft Crag and Pike o’Stickle in close proximity, Great Gable in the background and Harrison Stickle.

Start and end points: Staveley railway station. Served by a reasonable service to Windermere, Oxenholme, and sometimes, Preston and Manchester. This was an easy and short walk (even with Joe in tow) and we fitted it between the 10:18 arrival (departed Preston 9:32) and the 14:46 departure, arriving back in Preston 15:36.

Distance walked: 6.83 miles.

Total ascent: 1330 feet.

Pub at end: The Eagle and Child, Staveley. This thereby makes it into second place (after the Old Dungeon Ghyll) in my ‘most frequented Lakeland pub’ list — this is my fourth visit. Very good beer and a garden by the river. Leave five minutes to get from there to the railway station.

Route: This is a very easy walk. Save it for a fine, clear day on which you just don’t feel like a major hike, take it easy and enjoy some magnificent views, to which my photos on this page cannot do justice.

River Kent

The River Kent at Staveley

Doing Hugill Fell and Reston Scar alone would make for fine entertainment on a summer evening, or for walking the dog in the morning, if you are staying in Staveley. The question of whether you add High Knott to the walk should be considered in advance — see the notes on that fell’s page.

From Staveley station, come down the steps and turn left, through the village and across the main street to the Kentmere road. Stay on the same side of the river, ignoring both the bridges, and heading up Browfoot Lane, which stay on as it gently rises until reaching the farm of Browfoot about 2 miles from Staveley. Don’t drop down to the farm itself, but stay on the lane for another few yards as it bends left, then take the public footpath through the gate on the left.

View south from Hugill Fell

View south from Hugill Fell. Scout Scar is the rise to the left.

Climb the hill, go through the gate, then after crossing the wall at the end of the second field, follow that wall up to the left and through another gate, then continue climbing in the same direction to reach the wall that separates the summit of High Knott from the rest of the world.

Should you decide to visit the summit (after reading the notes on the High Knott page), find your way across the wall and do so, before coming back the same way. Either way, you could sit down with your back against the wall, have an early lunch (we were here about 11:45), and enjoy a superb panorama, looking north. You see a magnificent sweep of the district, from the fells of the Bannisdale Horseshoe to the right (east) and the Kentmere fells then, to the west, the Langdale district, Bowfell and Crinkle Crags, the Coniston fells, Black Combe and (over the wall) Gummers’ How at the foot of Windermere. Almost unbelievably, on the day we visited, the Isle of Man could be seen in the distance. (And this isn’t even the best view of the day.)

Joe on Reston Scar

Joe on the summit of Reston Scar

There is (for reasons which by now should be obvious) no way through from High Knott back to the other two fells on the ridge so you have to go back the way you came, to Browfoot, but seeing as this is done with the view of Kentmere ahead, this should be no great hardship. Once back on the lane, return in the direction of Staveley.

The way off the road and up to Hugill Fell comes just after Scroggs bridge (the turnoff to Kentmere). Look for the gate to the house called (for obvious reasons) Hillside and go through it — it’s a public footpath. Go through the gate before the house itself and the path up to Hugill Fell’s neat little summit is obvious all the way. This does have the day’s best view: everything mentioned earlier, plus a great chunk of country to the south as well, as far as Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales, on a clear day.

Young trees, Reston Scar

Young trees growing near the summit of Reston Scar

The path to Reston Scar from Hugill Fell is easy to follow although it doesn’t make a beeline. Head for the gate that is visible in the wall to the west, and once through this, the path bends south, taking a little detour to get through the next wall, but always obvious. There are some boggy patches which need care. Reston Scar’s summit has another good view although there is not the bird’s-eye shot of Staveley that you might expect.

From Reston Scar’s summit, return to the gate through which you just came and turn right onto a track which becomes increasingly well-defined as it goes down the hill into Staveley. Once back onto the main road you could go straight back to the station, but if you want the pub first (and as well as the Eagle and Child there is the Duke William to patronise), turn left instead.

View of Staveley

View of Staveley from the descent (though not from the summit) of Reston Scar

Springtime stroll commentary: British weather can never be called reliable, but if there’s a time at which I’d bet that at least some fine stuff will be on the way, it’s the end of May, which in my experience always seems to have a good chance of sunny spells. So it was today, most definitely. Our walk took place in marvellous weather, warm and sunny, and also superbly clear, with views that ranged more than fifty miles in the direction of Ingleborough and the Isle of Man. And it didn’t cloud over in the afternoon as it so often does.

Because Clare was busy in the afternoon and I wanted to get him out for some physical exercise and the proverbial fresh air, Joe came with me today. Actually I’d kind of been saving this walk for a day on which he could come with me. I knew it would be an easy and short one, not necessarily worth the time and effort if I did it alone (although having done it now, I would say it definitely is worth the time on a clear day like today).

Sour Howes

Sour Howes from High Knott

Whether Joe can be persuaded to keep up this walking lark I don’t know. He said he enjoyed it, but also treated the ascent of Hugill Fell as if he was being asked to climb Great Gable from Beck Head. Still, he has a growing number of Wainwrights under his belt: 15 from the main 214 (including Catbells, which he has done with me, but not on the walk that counted for this project), and add Finsthwaite Heights, Claife Heights, Latterbarrow, Orrest Head, School Knott (3 summits), Brant Fell and Hugill Fell and Reston Scar from the Outlying Fells, making 25.

He didn’t visit the summit of High Knott with me today thanks to the logistical difficulties which I keep alluding to on this page but discuss properly only on the High Knott page. But though I found these mildly annoying, they didn’t spoil the walk. I recommend this one to anyone who just wants an easy bit of peak-bagging and some fine views on a clear spring day like this one.

View to Langdale from High Knott

Another view over to Langdale, this time from High Knott

One more thing. My summer hike up Kilimanjaro approaches — I leave for Tanzania on the 25th July, and the schedule should see me on the summit on 3rd August. I am undertaking this (possibly foolhardy) mission, at least in part, to raise money for Calder Valley’s Search and Rescue team. These organisations rely entirely on volunteers and donations and perform an incredibly valuable service to all of us who enjoy getting out on the fells. Please help me do what I can to support them by visiting my fundraising page at http://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/drewdoeskilimanjaro . And rest assured that once back from Kilimanjaro you’ll get the walk written up on here, with photos.

More training to do before then — and six more walks to bag the remaining 24 Wainwrights. I think I’ve decided the last one of the 330 will be Caw, probably by about September. Keep checking in…

One Response to “Walk 97: Above Staveley”

  1. […] one of those days. Sunshine, warmth and wonderful visibility combined to make the straightforward walk 97 a highly worthwhile experience for both myself and Joe, who came with me. Three summits bagged […]

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