Latterbarrow and Claife Heights

A beautiful mountain view over Wise Een Tarn in the Lake District
View from Latterbarrow, The Lake District
View from Latterbarrow, The Lake District

Route Introduction

Latterbarrow and Claife Heights are two of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. They’re situated in the south of the Lake District National Park. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Wednesday 29th July 2020. These were Outlier numbers 70 and 71 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Latterbarrow and Claife Heights Route Stats

Fells: Latterbarrow (244m) and Claife Heights (270m)

Total Distance: 12km / 7.48miles

Total Ascent: 304m / 1,000ft

Approx Walk Time: 4 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 379954

Latterbarrow and Claife Heights Route Report

The Lead Up

I’d walked all of my previous Outlying Fells of Lakeland with either my boyfriend James or with friends so it was refreshing to hike these two outliers alone. The previous week I’d hiked the Naddle Horseshoe in the far east of the Lake District National Park.

Starting the Hike

Donation point for the car park at Braithwaite Hall in Far Sawrey
Donation point for the car park at Braithwaite Hall in Far Sawrey

I parked in the car park at Braithwaite Hall and paid by donation in the box by the entrance. Heading left out of the car park I walked past the Cuckoo Brow Inn and then turned right to walk steeply uphill on a tarmac road.

The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey

It would be five and half kilometres of walking before I reached the summit of my first Outlying Fell – Latterbarrow.

View over the dry stone wall to beautiful English countryside
View over the dry stone wall to beautiful English countryside

The view over the dry stone wall was beautiful, overlooking rolling fields of green. I walked over the cattle grid and then followed a finger post onto a track, which led to a foot bridge over the Wilfin Beck.

Foot bridge over Wilfin Beck, the Lake District
Foot bridge over Wilfin Beck, the Lake District

Crossing the bridge, I picked up the rocky footpath on the other side which led to a gate. I then went through another gate before turning right onto a wider track which continued north with walls on either side.

After passing through another gate, I hopped over the Wilfin Beck yet again, this time on stepping stones.

Stepping stones over Wilfin Beck
Stepping stones over Wilfin Beck

The path then led up until Moss Eccles Tarn came into view on my left.

Moss Eccles Tarn, the Lake District
Moss Eccles Tarn, the Lake District

I carried on, following the finger posts, as the path wound through fields of calm cattle, until I reached another gate.

Gate on the ascent of Latterbarrow
Gate on the ascent of Latterbarrow

Beyond this gate was a wow moment. A simply stunning view of the higher Lakeland fells opened up in front of me over the top of Wise Een Tarn.

Sheep in front of Wise Een Tarn with the Lake District mountains as a backdrop
Sheep in front of Wise Een Tarn with the Lake District mountains as a backdrop

The Langdale Pikes looked sharp and jagged on the right of the skyline and the Scafell range loomed in the centre with Wetherlam off to the left. I was in awe!

Continuing the Ascent

Mountain bikers on the trail ahead cycling towards Latterbarrow
Mountain bikers on the trail ahead cycling towards Latterbarrow

After passing the Scale Tarn on my right, the path became grassier underfoot. I followed the path which soon ran alongside a wall on my left and then continued up and into the woodland through a gate.

Gate leading into the woodland
Gate leading into the woodland

I really enjoyed the woodland trails of this walk, they were so full of bird chatter, it was much cooler thanks to the shade of the tall tress and I found the earthy woodland scent to be so calming.

Woodland trails en route to Latterbarrow
Woodland trails en route to Latterbarrow

350m after passing through the gate into the woods I followed a finger post which branched off the main path to the left. This led to a crossroads at the bottom, where I turned left to follow a wider track.

Left at the crossroads
Left at the crossroads

At the next major crossroad I turned left again, and followed the path for another 200m before turning right, avoiding passing through the gap in the wall ahead and instead following the path north.

The right hand turn before the wall
The right hand turn before the wall

This part of the route was narrow and muddy at times.

I followed the trail downhill before it rose up again up some steps.

The steps on the trail towards Latterbarrow
The steps on the trail towards Latterbarrow

It weaved, twisted and turned for a while before I turned left at the next t-junction, surrounded by Christmas trees. I followed the trail over a large gap in a wall before it led to a stile. Over the stile, I turned right to start the final ascent of Latterbarrow.

I could see the summit of Latterbarrow from a distance due to the prominent summit obelisk
I could see the summit of Latterbarrow from a distance due to the prominent summit obelisk

The Summit – Latterbarrow

The summit of Latterbarrow is not the huge monument (that you’d probably expect it to be), it is in fact a small rock 3 metres away. But there’s no doubt about it, the tower on the summit of Latterbarrow is what draws the eye, both when you’re nearing the summit and from afar.

Summit of Latterbarrow
Summit of Latterbarrow

The obelisk is many metres tall and stands proud atop the 244m fell.

Summit of Latterbarrow, the Lake District
Summit of Latterbarrow, the Lake District

The walk from Colthouse is a popular one and I saw multiple families all arrive at the summit and sit down in their small groups to enjoy lunch on the summit of Latterbarrow. It was a glorious day to enjoy the views across the Lake District. As good as the views were towards the nearer fells like Wansfell Pike to the north east, I couldn’t take my eyes of the Langdale Pikes to the north west over the top of Black Fell.

Summit of Latterbarrow, an Outlying Fell of Lakeland
Summit of Latterbarrow, an Outlying Fell of Lakeland

Linking Latterbarrow and Claife Heights

I left the summit of Latterbarrow with a full stomach and retraced my steps.

View down to Hawkshead from the descent of Latterbarrow
View down to Hawkshead from the descent of Latterbarrow

I enjoyed a lovely view of Hawkshead as I returned to the stile at the bottom of the hill and continued back along the same path I’d taken earlier. When I came to the second of the two main crossroads I’d encountered earlier, this time I continued straight on.

As the main track bent around to the right, I took the footpath which led straight on following a finger post.

The left turn from the main track
The left turn from the main track

230m later the path forked again, and I turned right to head uphill on a forest path.

Forest trails
Forest trails

As I glanced to the right through the trees I caught a glimpse of Lake Windermere and the Fairfield fells beyond.

View to Lake Windermere through the trees on the Claife Heights section of the walk
View to Lake Windermere through the trees on the Claife Heights section of the walk

This section of the route was by far the quietest of the day. I didn’t see many people at all between here and the Claife Heights (High Blind How) trig pillar.

The path led me through the woodland, over a foot bridge, before leading me down onto another wide track.

Footbridge en route to Claife Heights from Latterbarrow
Footbridge en route to Claife Heights from Latterbarrow

I turned right onto this track for only a short distance before following another finger post marked ‘Far Sawrey 2 Miles’.

Finger post to Far Sawrey
Finger post to Far Sawrey

This section of the walk was really pretty, with established woodland and beautiful fox gloves popping up all over.

Foxgloves in the woodland
Foxgloves in the woodland

I forked right before the path started to dip downhill to continue uphill towards the summit.

At the next fork in the path, I turned left which led through bracken to the Claife Heights trig pillar (High Blind How).

The Summit – Claife Heights

Touching the summit trig point of Claife Heights (High Blind How)
Touching the summit trig point of Claife Heights (High Blind How)

Alfred Wainwright wrote in his book – the Outlying Fells of Lakeland – that this trig pillar was now lost in conifers and inaccessible, but it is possible now, you just have to follow the trail, weaving through a sea of shoulder-height bracken to get there!

The summit trig pillar of Claife Heights (High Blind How)
The summit trig pillar of Claife Heights (High Blind How)

I paused for quite some time on the summit rocks. It was so peaceful. There was nobody else around and it was so quiet. I just sat alone and listened to the breeze pass through the trees for what felt like ages.

The Descent

When it came time to leave, I continued along the bracken-filled path to rejoin the woodland path which was covered in pine needles and soft underfoot.

Woodland trails to start the descent
Woodland trails to start the descent

I reached the valley bottom and crossed a foot bridge over a stream which fed Three Dubs Tarn over to the west.

Bridge over the stream
Bridge over the stream

I picked up the path on the other side of the foot bridge and walked up past a finger post signed to ‘Sawrey Ferry’.

Signpost to Sawrey Ferry
Signpost to Sawrey Ferry

The trail led up and over lumpy terrain to reach a view point of Windermere lake and weaved around some large crags.

View towards Windermere
View towards Windermere

I continued along the trail, following the finger posts which were now very regular. At one point I stopped to give directions to Three Dubs Tarn to a Scottish couple who were away on holiday.

Signpost to Far Sawrey across with a Windermere backdrop
Signpost to Far Sawrey across with a Windermere backdrop

At a t-junction in the path I turned right, again signposted for ‘Far Sawrey’. Along this path I went through a gate and continued south, keeping the wall on my left.

Views from the descent towards Far Sawrey
Views from the descent towards Far Sawrey

At this point the track twisted and undulated beside some impressive dry stone walls and later, there were walls running either side of the trail.

Walled footpath
Walled footpath

At the next path junction I turned right to join the bridleway.

Right to join the bridleway at the finger post
Right to join the bridleway at the finger post

Keeping the wall on my right, I followed the bridleway down to meet the track at the bottom. Passing through the gate a beautiful view opened up on my right.

Final view of the descent of my Latterbarrow and Claife Heights adventure
Final view of the descent of my Latterbarrow and Claife Heights adventure

The path brought me out right opposite my car.

Wrapping Up

Next on the list was Orrest Head, School Knott and Brant Fell, a walk where the phrase ‘break a leg’ was taken quite literally!

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Naddle Horseshoe

Views from the Naddle Horseshoe across the far eastern Lake District fells
James Forrest descending Hare Shaw on the Naddle Horseshoe
James Forrest descending Hare Shaw on the Naddle Horseshoe

Naddle Horseshoe Route Introduction

The Naddle Horseshoe is a classic route featured in Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. The original route takes in 7 outlier fells in the east of the Lake District National Park. It is a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 18th July 2020. These were Outlier numbers 63 to 69 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Naddle Horseshoe Route Stats

Fells: Scalebarrow Knott (338m), Harper Hills (414m), Hare Shaw (503m), Nameless Summit 1427′ (435m), Nameless Summit 1380′ (435m), Hugh’s Laithes Pike (419m) and Nameless Summit 1320′ (395m).

Total Distance: 12.6km / 7.83miles

Total Ascent: 280m / 919ft

Approx Walk Time: 4 hours

Grid Reference Start: NY 528156

Naddle Horseshoe Route Report

The Lead Up

A week earlier we’d hiked a mash up of three horseshoes in the Shap Fells – the Crookdale horseshoe, the Wasdale horseshoe and the Wet Sleddale horseshoe. Next on the agenda -the Naddle Horseshoe – was not too far away from those, in the eastern Lake District. Parking is on the road junction at NY 528156 and there is room for a few cars.

The Ascent

The ascent starts from the car park, heading north along the road for a short distance before peeling off left along a wide track.

Woman walks with her horse on the path at the beginning of the Naddle Horseshoe
Woman walks with her horse on the path at the beginning of the Naddle Horseshoe

We passed a woman with a horse and a dog along this trail. The path narrowed and became grassier as it led south-west towards the first fell of the day, Scalebarrow Knott.

Summit of Scalebarrow Knott, the first fell of the Naddle Horseshoe
Summit of Scalebarrow Knott, the first fell of the Naddle Horseshoe

The Summit – Scalebarrow Knott

The summit of Scalebarrow Knott was marked with a cairn and the views were of rolling countryside, dissected by dry stone walls.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Scalebarrow Knott
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Scalebarrow Knott

I really do love the quietness of these fells. They seem to be seldom walked. This was a sunny Saturday and we didn’t see another person for the rest of the day.

The Summit – Harper Hills

From Scalebarrow Knott, we continued over grassy terrain in a south-westerly direction towards our next summit – Harper Hills.

Adventurer Nic tapping the summit cairn of Harper Hills on the Naddle Horseshoe
Adventurer Nic tapping the summit cairn of Harper Hills on the Naddle Horseshoe

The summit of Harper Hills was clearly marked by a cairn. The views to the higher Lake District mountains became increasingly good as we approached the furthest end of the horseshoe.

The Summit – Hare Shaw

The path between Harper Hills and Hare Shaw
The path between Harper Hills and Hare Shaw

From Harper Hills we continued south-west towards the next outlying fell – Hare Shaw, following a path for most of the way.

As we got deeper into the walk the paths thinned out and we walked through long tussocky grass. At one point we passed a plot where lots of trees had been newly planted.

Newly planted trees on Hare Shaw
Newly planted trees on Hare Shaw

We reached the summit of Hare Shaw, and from here we enjoyed a great view to Selside Pike, Branstree and Harter Fell.

View towards Selside Pike from Hare Shaw
View towards Selside Pike from Hare Shaw

A small cairn marked the summit.

View from Hare Shaw
View from Hare Shaw

As we left the summit of Hare Shaw, we were given a opportunity to appreciate the remainder of the horseshoe.

James Forrest descending Hare Shaw
James Forrest descending Hare Shaw

The Summit – Nameless Summit 1427′

From Hare Shaw, we dropped down over lumpy bumpy grassy terrain to the north-west before Haweswater came into view.

Our first sighting of Haweswater on the Naddle Horseshoe
Our first sighting of Haweswater on the Naddle Horseshoe

We appreciated Kidsty Pike from this vantage point – the sharpest peak on the line of fells which also includes the bulk of High Street.

After navigating through a lot of thick bracken, we approached a wall junction.

Approaching the gate at the wall junction
Approaching the gate at the wall junction

We passed through a large gate and proceeded on towards the fourth of the outlying fells of the Naddle Horseshoe.

En route to the first of three nameless fells on the Naddle Horseshoe
En route to the first of three nameless fells on the Naddle Horseshoe

By this point I’d chewed James’s ear off incessantly about my recent trip to visit family in Lincolnshire.

James en route to the next summit
James en route to the next summit

He finally had a chance to contribute something to the conversation, whoops!

Adventurer Nic approaching the first nameless summit of the Naddle Horseshoe
Adventurer Nic approaching the first nameless summit of the Naddle Horseshoe

A small cairn marked the summit and the light was stunning by this point in the evening.

We normally nickname the nameless summits (generally based on the names of friends who have joined us on the summits) but there were just the two of us on this trip so I’ll nickname them after previous pets of mine. So the first nameless summit is hereby ‘Crixus Crag’ after my pet goldfish.

Views from the summit of the first nameless fell
View from the summit of the first nameless fell

The Summit – Nameless Summit 1380′

We tried to stay high on the ridge making our way through increasing amounts of heather and bracken.

James Forrest walking between the two nameless fells
James Forrest walking between the two nameless fells

We passed through another large gate and then progressed towards the second of the nameless fells.

Gate between the two nameless fells
Gate between the two nameless fells

The summit was marked by a small cairn. By this point, perfect fluffy clouds had formed on the bright blue sky and we were really enjoying the walk.

Adventurer Nic on the second of the nameless fells of the Naddle Horseshoe
Adventurer Nic on the second of the nameless fells of the Naddle Horseshoe

Following the earlier theme, the nickname of this fell is ‘Naevia Nab’ (after another goldfish of mine).

The Summit – Hugh’s Laithes Pike

From there we looped around to Hugh’s Laithes Pike.

James Forrest en route to Hugh's Laithes Pike
James Forrest en route to Hugh’s Laithes Pike

This summit was marked with a more established cairn.

The summit of Hugh's Laithes Pike on the Naddle Horseshoe
The summit of Hugh’s Laithes Pike on the Naddle Horseshoe

The views across Haweswater from here were wonderful.

The Summit – Nameless Summit 1320′

We then left, in long grass and bracken, in the direction of the final Wainwright Outlying Fell of the day.

James Forrest en route to the final summit of the day
James Forrest en route to the final summit of the day

The final summit of the Naddle Horseshoe was also nameless. So, following the earlier theme once more, the nickname of this fell is ‘Gannicus Gable’ (after my third and final pet goldfish).

Adventurer Nic on the final summit of the day
Adventurer Nic on the final summit of the day

Naddle Horseshoe Descent

It felt great to have got seven more Outlying Fells of Lakeland under our belts on such a fab horseshoe.

James Forrest starting the Naddle Horseshoe descent
James Forrest starting the Naddle Horseshoe descent

From the final summit we headed south over steeper terrain, avoiding the thicker vegetation and trees to the bottom track.

Reaching the bottom track
Reaching the bottom track

Once at the track, we followed it north-east, passing through a large gate before turning right at the finger post to pass through another gate and across Naddle Beck at the ford.

Trail back towards the car
Trail back towards the car

We then headed east, up a gravel stony path and through another couple of gates to rejoin the trail that we’d walked on close to the start of the walk. We took a bypass path around the right hand side of Scalebarrow Knott and back to the car.

Wrapping Up

What next? Latterbarrow and Claife Heights beckoned. These would be my next Outlying Fells, I would be continuing on alone without James.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Shap Fells

James Forrest on High House Bank on the Crookdale Horseshoe in the Shap Fells

The Crookdale, Wet Sleddale and Wasdale Horseshoes in One Hike

James Forrest on the summit of Robin Hood
James Forrest on the summit of Robin Hood

Shap Fells Route Introduction

The Shap Fells are blissfully quiet and the Crookdale, Wet Sleddale and Wasdale Horseshoes are classic hill-walking routes featured in Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. This route mashes the three horseshoes together to take in 10 outlying fells in the far east of the Lake District National Park. This route card is a fantastic option for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 11 July 2020. These were Outlier numbers 53 to 62 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Shap Fells Route Stats

Fells: High House Bank (495m), Robin Hood (493m), Lord’s Seat (524m), Ulthwaite Rigg (502m), Great Saddle Crag (560m), Sleddale Pike (506m), Wasdale Pike (565m), Great Yarlside (591m), Little Yarlside (516m) and Whatshaw Common (485m).

Total Distance: 19.2km / 11.93miles

Total Ascent: 400m / 1,312ft

Approx Walk Time: 6.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NY 554061

Shap Fells Route Report

The Lead Up

A few days earlier we’d hiked Green Quarter Fell, a short walk from the Kentmere valley. Now it was time for something a little longer. I’d studied the routes for the Crookdale Horseshoe, Wet Sleddale Horseshoe and Wasdale Horseshoe. These three walks in the Shap Fells were very close together. Consequently, I saw no reason not to combine them into a nice 20km route. We started in a large layby on the A6, just 6 miles south of Shap.

There are three large laybys on this stretch of road so finding a parking space even on a Saturday in July wasn’t problematic.

The Shap Fells Ascent

James and I left our car and walked south down the road briefly. We then peeled off through two large gates to gain access to the hills on a track heading west.

James Forrest passes through another gate
James Forrest passes through another gate

After only 250m on this track we turned left through a gate and followed the path, through farmland and a kissing gate, to cross Crookdale Bridge.

Kissing gate
Kissing gate

It was at this early point in the walk that we noticed a large bird of prey taking off into the air from a fence post before hovering above the ground. A majestic sight.

The trail through farmland
The trail through farmland

We could see our first target – High House Bank in front of us.

The Farm by Crookdale Bridge
The Farm by Crookdale Bridge

Upon crossing Crookdale Bridge we turned right to walk up alongside a derelict wall.

Wall rising steeply up Hazel Bank
Wall rising steeply up Hazel Bank

We soon peeled off away from the wall over pathless ground to head south-west to a more established wall running up the side of Hazel Bank.

View from the ascent
View from the ascent

We followed this wall until there was a gap in it. Crossing it here enabled us to make a beeline for the 495m summit of High House Bank over tussocky ground.

The Summit – High House Bank

At the summit of High House Bank we admired views down to the Borrowdale valley with Borrow Beck running down the centre.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of High House Bank, the first of the Shap Fells we hiked that day in the Lake District
Adventurer Nic on the summit of High House Bank

In the distance, the most noticeable peak was Ill Bell of the Kentmere horseshoe, seen over the top of the fells of the Bannisdale horseshoe.

View from High House Bank
View from High House Bank

The Summit – Robin Hood

James Forrest on the trail to Robin Hood, vast and not another soul around, the Shap Fells are so quiet
The trail to Robin Hood

We left High House Bank to the north-west in the direction of Robin Hood following a small path.

Robin Hood looking towards the Bannisdale Fells
Robin Hood looking towards the Bannisdale Fells

After reaching the summit and posing for the obligatory ‘Robin Hood firing an arrow’ photo, we made swift progress towards Lord’s Seat, our third fell of the day.

Adventurer Nic as Robin Hood on Robin Hood
Adventurer Nic as Robin Hood on Robin Hood

The valley of Crookdale separated us from the fells that we’d walk at the end of the day.

The Summit – Lord’s Seat

We continued walking north-west on the clear path to Lord’s Seat, making good progress whilst we still had a path to follow.

Adventurer Nic approaching Lord's Seat, part of the Crookdale Horseshoe
Adventurer Nic approaching Lord’s Seat, part of the Crookdale Horseshoe

We knew we wouldn’t have the privilege of an obvious trail when we made our attempt to link the Crookdale Horseshoe to the next two sets of hills.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Lord's Seat
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Lord’s Seat

It was great to look back from the summit of Lord’s Seat to the fells we’d just hiked, plus we could see Whinfell ridge in the background.

Shap Fells – Linking the Crookdale Horseshoe with the Wet Sleddale Horseshoe

At this point in the walk we left the natural Crookdale Horseshoe in order to link up with the next horseshoe – the Wet Sleddale. This involved leaving the summit of Lord’s Seat to the west, before making our way over lumpy, bumpy, rugged terrain to the north.

James Forrest between Lord's Seat at Ulthwaite Rigg
James Forrest between Lord’s Seat at Ulthwaite Rigg

We stuck to our northern bearing almost all the way to Ulthwaite Rigg. The terrain was often wet, but I managed to keep my feet dry despite a few near misses. We passed a pair of large frogs who were jumping high through the grass.

Two frogs hopping though the grass
Two frogs hopping though the grass

The route led us uphill at first to the saddle between Harrop Pike and Great Yarlside at 560m where we crossed a wire fence, before heading downhill towards Ulthwaite Rigg (502m). This felt quite unnatural at first but there was a slight raise to the summit at the end.

James Forrest descending towards Ulthwaite Rigg, to pick up the Wet Sleddale Horseshoe part of the route
James Forrest descending towards Ulthwaite Rigg, to pick up the Wet Sleddale Horseshoe part of the route

The Summit – Ulthwaite Rigg

James Forrest jumping over boggy ground, which is common on the Shap Fells
James Forrest jumping over boggy ground

The summit of Ulthwaite Rigg is largely protected by a moat of swampy, saturated ground and a bit of bog hopping was required to get to the cairn. Once there, we had our first view of the Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Ulthwaite Rigg
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Ulthwaite Rigg

The Summit – Great Saddle Crag

From Ulthwaite Rigg we headed down to the south-east to cross the Sleddale Beck where it forks. We sat on a rock while we ate our lunch before continuing uphill in the direction of Great Saddle Crag. At this point sitting in the valley it struck me how unbelievably quiet it was. Not only had we not seen another hill walker, we hadn’t heard anything other than bird song and the soft sound from the light breeze all day.

After lunch we ascended up alongside the stream before crossing the top of Widepot Sike and up onto the summit of Great Saddle Crag.

James Forrest en route to Great Saddle Crag in the Shap Fells
James Forrest en route to Great Saddle Crag in the Shap Fells

From this point in the walk, there was a notable change from grassy, boggy terrain to bouncy heather.

Adventurer Nic on Great Saddle Crag, the 5th of the Shap Fell we'd hiked that day
Adventurer Nic on Great Saddle Crag

The Summit – Sleddale Pike

We left the summit of Great Saddle Crag and headed off towards Sleddale Pike to the north-east. It was slow going through the heather and there was one wire fence to cross en-route.

Wire fence amongst purple heather en route to Sleddale Pike
Wire fence amongst purple heather en route to Sleddale Pike

We happened across an area where some trees had recently been planted and tree protector guards were in place.

Recently planted trees between Great Saddle Crag and Sleddale Pike
Recently planted trees between Great Saddle Crag and Sleddale Pike

On the summit of Sleddale Pike there was a thick pole in the ground.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Sleddale Pike - Shap Fells
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Sleddale Pike – Shap Fells

Of all the hills on the Shap Fells route, this top had the best view to Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

Shap Fells – Linking the Wet Sleddale Horseshoe with the Wasdale Horseshoe

From Sleddale Pike we ventured on over pathless ground south towards Wasdale Pike. We were in the heart of the Shap Fells. This point in the walk marked our departure from the Wet Sleddale horseshoe and the beginning of the Wasdale horseshoe. The distance between the two fells though was negligible, a mere 1km.

James Forrest en route to Wasdale Pike
James Forrest en route to Wasdale Pike

It was as we were approaching Wasdale Pike that we noticed three deer – an adult and two red deer fawns. Naturally, they ran away as we approached but it was lovely to see them effortlessly bounding over the terrain.

Deer on Wasdale Pike
Deer on Wasdale Pike

The Summit – Wasdale Pike

This point in the walk marked the end of the pathless route-finding.

Adventurer Nic on Wasdale Pike, the 7th of the Shap Fells we'd hiked that day
Adventurer Nic on Wasdale Pike

A high level path led from Wasdale Pike to the summit of Great Yarlside. This would mark the highest point of the walk and the third highest of all the Outlying Fells on the list at 591m.

Trail leading away from Wasdale Pike towards Great Yarlside
Trail leading away from Wasdale Pike towards Great Yarlside

The Summit – Great Yarlside

We followed the path alongside a fence up to a corner. Here, the fence met another boundary, just short of the summit of Great Yarlside. We crossed over this and marched the short distance to the summit.

Adventurer Nic on the 3rd highest of Wainwright's Outlying Fells of Lakeland - Great Yarlside
Adventurer Nic on the 3rd highest of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland – Great Yarlside

The Coniston Fells were just visible in the distance.

The old Ordnance Survey trig ring on Great Yarlside
The old Ordnance Survey trig ring on Great Yarlside

We spotted an old trigonometrical survey station in the ground just as we were leaving to head for Little Yarlside along the path to the south-east.

The Summit – Little Yarlside

James Forrest en route to Little Yarlside
James Forrest en route to Little Yarlside

There is some confusion as to whether or not the summit of Little Yarlside is on the left or right side of the wall. Alfred Wainwright himself placed it on the left side, while our hill-bagging app described it as a ‘ground by shallow pit’ on the right hand side of the wall. In all fairness, I don’t think it matters greatly.

Adventurer Nic on Little Yarlside, the 9th of the Shap Fells we hiked that day
Adventurer Nic on Little Yarlside

From this part of the Wasdale Horseshoe we had a good view down to Crookdale Beck. The view to the fells we’d hiked that morning was also lovely.

The Summit – Whatshaw Common

James Forrest heading for Whatshaw Common
James Forrest heading for Whatshaw Common

From the summit of Little Yarlside, we continued on the right side of the wall to a col. It was from there that we continued uphill to the top of Whatshaw Common, our tenth summit of the day.

Adventurer Nic on Whatshaw Common, the tenth of the Shap Fells we hiked that day
Adventurer Nic on Whatshaw Common

Shap Fells Descent

We proceeded to descend to the west alongside a fence and wall. There were paths on either side so we were uncertain which would be best. We picked the right-hand side. In hindsight, the left-hand side would have been better as we had one more boundary to get over towards the bottom which was a tad awkward.

Views on the final descent of the Shap Fells route
Views on the final descent of the Shap Fells route

This returned us to the three gates we’d passed through at the beginning of the walk and we retraced our steps back to the car.

Wrapping Up

I prioritised some family commitments before returning to hike more of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland a week later, starting with the Naddle Horseshoe.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell

River through the Lake District valley with a hiker to the right of the image
Adventurer Nic enjoying the views on the summit of Ponsonby Fell
Adventurer Nic enjoying the views on the summit of Ponsonby Fell

Route Introduction

Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell are two of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. They’re situated on the western edge of the Lake District National Park. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Monday 6th July 2020. These were Outlier numbers 49 and 50 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell Route Stats

Fells: Cold Fell (293m) and Ponsonby Fell (315m)

Total Distance: 15.1km / 9.38miles

Total Ascent: 320m / 1,050ft

Approx Walk Time: 4.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NY 056101

Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell Route Report

The Lead Up

It had been a while since our last walk – Walna Scar and nine other Outlying Fells a week and a half earlier. So we were ready for another reasonable leg stretch.

We parked up in the good sized parking area near the cattle grid and ours was the only car there. A good sign that we would be the only people out on the hill.

The Ascent

Adventurer Nic, setting out at the start of the walk towards Cold Fell
Adventurer Nic, setting out at the start of the walk towards Cold Fell

To start the walk we crossed over the cattle grid and followed a finger post up a track in a south-easterly direction.

Adventurer Nic ascending Cold Fell after leaving the track at the bottom
Adventurer Nic ascending Cold Fell after leaving the track at the bottom

After following the track for a short while, it was necessary to peel off it and hit the open hillside on the northern side of Cold Fell.

Adventurer Nic ascending Cold Fell
Adventurer Nic ascending Cold Fell

The ground was a little mushy after the recent rain, with fairly uneven grassy tufts right up to the summit.

View to Sellafield power station from the ascent of Cold Fell
View to Sellafield power station from the ascent of Cold Fell

The Summit – Cold Fell

The summit of Cold Fell was marked by a small cairn that consisted of a few rocks and one skull that looked like it had come from a sheep.

Summit cairn of Cold Fell, complete with skull
Summit cairn of Cold Fell, complete with skull

The view to the surrounding fells was partly blocked by some woodland on the eastern side of the fell, so the dominant view was down over Sellafield power station and out to sea. Consequently, Cold Fell is probably down as one of the most disappointing of the Outlying Fells when it came to offering up a good summit vista.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Cold Fell
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Cold Fell

Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell aren’t commonly hiked together, but they seemed close enough for us to link them, so after a short while studying the map we gave it a go.

James Forrest admiring the countryside views from Cold Fell
James Forrest admiring the countryside views from Cold Fell

Linking The Fells – The Descent

Mushroom growing in a cow pat

We descended from Cold Fell to the south-west and aimed for the minor road that runs along the bottom of the fell.

For some reason on this route there was an abundance of cow pats with fungi growing in them.

Not something I normally notice a lot of but there were countless of them here!

The slopes were gentle but the ground was still grassy and uneven so we took it steady.

Lining the roadside were a flock of recently sheared sheep.

The road at the bottom of Cold Fell
The road at the bottom of Cold Fell

Linking The Fells – The Flat

We walked along the road for around 1km before we turned up another minor tarmacked road towards Beckcote Farm.

Minor road providing access to the farm
Minor road providing access to the farm

We passed the main farm buildings on a track lined by hedgerow and trees before turning right through a gate and down a path where nature had created a tunnel for us to pass through.

Path through the tunnel of vegetation
Path through the tunnel of vegetation

Passing through another gate, we found ourselves in a field.

James Forrest passing through the gate on the route linking Cold Fell with Ponsonby Fell
James Forrest passing through the gate on the route linking Cold Fell with Ponsonby Fell

We hugged the right hand boundary before turning left at the bottom of the field. Mature trees separated us and a herd of cows. We crossed the stream at the bottom end of the field and went through a gate on the other side which led over a bridge and up a stairwell with a useful hand rail.

James Forrest crossing the small bridge
James Forrest crossing the small bridge

We passed over a stile at the top and came out into another field.

The trail towards the woodland
The trail towards the woodland

Keeping left, we followed the right of way down towards and through woodland.

James Forrest entering the woodland
James Forrest entering the woodland

We watched squirrels jump and scurry from tree to tree as we made our way down to a wider track and out onto a road.

View from Stakes Bridge
View from Stakes Bridge

Crossing over Stakes Bridge, we walked along the road for a short distance before peeling off through a gate and towards the next stile.

Following the fingerpost
Following the fingerpost

This stile led into a field and we followed the perimeter of the field up to the left, rising uphill once again.

Linking The Fells – The Ascent

View from the trail
View from the trail

White butterflies danced around us as we made our way, following the path through overgrown bracken. We passed over a stile which was a traditional wooden stile on one side and a ladder stile on the other and followed the stream uphill under the shade of the trees.

This led to a larger track where we passed through a gate and headed east towards Ponsonby Fell.

Adventurer Nic admiring the view
Adventurer Nic admiring the view

At this point the trail was lined by gorse bushes and small trees and we spotted a hare up ahead.

The trail passed through multiple gates and was often lined on both sides either by bushes, walls or fences.

The trail passing through fields towards Ponsonby Fell
The trail passing through fields towards Ponsonby Fell

It ultimately led us into a large field, where in the top left corner there was a walled passage that led to a larger track and some ruined farmed buildings.

Ruined farm buildings on the way to Ponsonby Fell
Ruined farm buildings on the way to Ponsonby Fell

Passing through what would have been the courtyard of the ruined buildings, we made it to a stream. Here there was an option to proceed on the north side of the Birrel Sike before crossing it. Alternatively, we could cross it here and walk on the south side. We chose the south side as the ground was very wet and the south side was higher, but it was quite overgrown. Both sides have their pros and cons but they both lead to the foot of Ponsonby Fell.

From here we made a beeline to the summit of Ponsonby Fell over lumpy grass.

The Summit – Ponsonby Fell

The summit of Ponsonby Fell far exceeded my expectations. It was amazing! Scafell and Scafell Pike were both visible with Mickledore (this was not mentioned at all in Alfred Wainwright’s description of the view so it was a wonderful surprise!).

Adventurer Nic looking towards the Scafells from the summit of Ponsonby Fell
Adventurer Nic looking towards the Scafells from the summit of Ponsonby Fell

The screes of Illgill Head and Whin Rigg also domineered.

View to the screes of Illgill Head and Whin Rigg from Ponsonby Fell
View to the screes of Illgill Head and Whin Rigg from Ponsonby Fell

Closer were Lank Rigg, Haycock and Seatallan.

Black Combe was also visible to the south.

View to Black Combe from Ponsonby Fell
View to Black Combe from Ponsonby Fell

The Descent

We descended to the north-east over pathless terrain with Haycock in front of us. The cattle grid on the road at the bottom of the valley was the feature we were aiming for as this would lead us back towards the car.

James Forrest descending Ponsonby Fell
James Forrest descending Ponsonby Fell

After trudging through the high grass that was wet in places we were ready for the firm track that led past the farm house and into Scalderskew forest.

Track to Scalderskew Farm
Track to Scalderskew Farm

We followed the beautiful trails through the woodland.

View through Scalderskew woodland
View through Scalderskew woodland

After a lovely walk through the tall trees, we then peeled off to the right to cross Worm Gill.

River crossing - looking upstream
River crossing – looking upstream

After all the rain we’d had recently this was easier said than done! Some of the stepping stones were submerged so we waded through on this occasion before picking the trail up on the other side through bracken.

River crossing - looking downstream
River crossing – looking downstream

The trail rose slightly to traverse along the lower slopes of Lank Rigg.

A skull on a rock looking down into the valley
A skull on a rock looking down into the valley

The views down the river were absolutely stunning the fading light.

James Forrest towards the end of the hike
James Forrest towards the end of the hike

The trail led down into the valley and we crossed a bridge.

View from the bridge
View from the bridge

After we crossed the bridge, the trail led us directly back to the car.

Wrapping Up

James Forrest and Adventurer Nic smiling on the summit of Ponsonby Fell - the highlight of the day
James Forrest and Adventurer Nic smiling on the summit of Ponsonby Fell – the highlight of the day

What a day! Mashing these two Wainwright Outlying routes together made for a great adventure. Next on the list was Green Quarter Fell in the Kentmere Valley.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

The Bannisdale Horseshoe

The summit of Whiteside Pike on the Bannisdale Horseshoe, Lake District
Sheep and lamb on the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Sheep and lamb on the Bannisdale Horseshoe

The Bannisdale Horseshoe Route Introduction

The Bannisdale Horseshoe is a classic route featured in Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. The hike takes in 9 tops on the far eastern edge of the Lake District National Park. This route card is a fantastic option for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 20th June 2020. These were Outlier numbers 29 to 37 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

The Bannisdale Horseshoe Route Stats

Fells: Whiteside Pike (397m), Todd Fell (401m), Capplebarrow (513m), nameless summit 1819′ (554m), a nameless summit 1771′ (541m), Long Crag (493m), White Howe (530m), nameless summit 1736′ (528m) and Lamb Pasture (367m)

Total Distance: 17.9km / 11.12miles

Total Ascent: 410m / 1,345ft

Approx Walk Time: 5.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NY 531001

The Bannisdale Horseshoe Route Report

The Lead Up to the Bannisdale Horseshoe

The previous week we had walked Black Combe, White Combe and Stoupdale Head in the south west of the Lake District National Park on our quest to hike the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Today James and I were meeting our good friend Liz, a nurse who lives over the border in Yorkshire.

There is limited parking for the Bannisdale Horseshoe but we managed to park near Plough Farm.

The Ascent

To start, we walked south-east down the road before turning right towards Mosergh Farm.

Just before we reached the farm we turned right again to follow a track which was lined by dry stone walls on either side.

Walled track at the beginning of the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Walled track at the beginning of the Bannisdale Horseshoe

The wide track was easy to follow. Its end marks the start of the open access land and a series of faint paths lead uphill through grass and bracken towards the summit of Whiteside Pike.

Approaching Whiteside Pike, the first summit of the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Approaching Whiteside Pike, the first summit of the Bannisdale Horseshoe

The summit cairn of Whiteside Pike was visible from quite a distance due to its height.

Views close to the summit of Whiteside Pike
Views close to the summit of Whiteside Pike

A short steep section at the very end enabled us to access the highest point of the fell, we looked back to a gorgeous view of Brunt Knott.

The Summit – Whiteside Pike

Whiteside Pike - one of Wainwright's Outlying Fells on the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Whiteside Pike – one of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells on the Bannisdale Horseshoe

On the summit of Whiteside Pike was a columnar cairn which was higher than my shoulder. A very impressive stack indeed.

As we left the summit of Whiteside Pike, we looked ahead towards Todd Fell, our second peak on the Bannisdale Horseshoe. We could see Todd Fell on the left and Capplebarrow on the right, separated by a wall.

Todd Fell and Capplebarrow from the descent of Whiteside Pike
Todd Fell and Capplebarrow from the descent of Whiteside Pike

There was a stone stile in the wall at the bottom between Whiteside Pike and Todd Fell.

The Summit – Todd Fell

We headed north-west making a beeline for the summit of Todd Fell.

Views from the summit of Todd Fell
Views from the summit of Todd Fell

The summit was marked by two very small rocks that could be easily missed.

Giggles on Todd Fell summit
Giggles on Todd Fell summit

We started a debate amongst ourselves trying to identify the high fells in the distance, beyond the picturesque Long Sleddale Valley. There was one that looked very much like Great Gable, but from this angle it looked suspiciously far away from the Scafells. But none of us could think of an alternative!

Views from the summit of Todd Fell
Views from the summit of Todd Fell

The Summit – Capplebarrow

We mused over the Great Gable conundrum as we made our way off Todd Fell, aiming for a ladder stile in the wall that separated us from Capplebarrow.

Stile on the way between Todd Fell and Capplebarrow
Stile on the way between Todd Fell and Capplebarrow

After crossing the stile we hiked onwards and upwards, through a gate which looked like a new addition.

Gate on the ascent of Capplebarrow
Gate on the ascent of Capplebarrow

By the time we reached the summit of Capplebarrow we were certain we could see Great Gable and made a note to check the map properly when we got home.

Views from the summit of Capplebarrow on the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Views from the summit of Capplebarrow on the Bannisdale Horseshoe

From Capplebarrow we followed the long fence on towards the next summit of the Bannisdale Horseshoe.

A gate looking a little worse for wear on the descent of Capplebarrow
A gate looking a little worse for wear on the descent of Capplebarrow

The Nameless Summit – 1819′

It’s quite difficult to work out why Alfred Wainwright went out of his way to include ‘nameless’ summits in his walks for the book – The Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Together with their height, in feet, he lists them under the shared name ‘nameless summit’. There are three of them on the Bannisdale Horseshoe.

Looking backwards we could appreciate the back end of the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Looking backwards we could appreciate the back end of the Bannisdale Horseshoe

As we approached nameless summit 1819′ we looked back to see the two prongs of the horseshoe with Bannisdale valley a chasm between them.

Nameless summit 1819'
Nameless summit 1819′

In the spirit of being able to remember the nameless summits, it seemed fitting that we nicknamed this summit ‘Preston Peak’ after our hiking companion Liz Preston. The view towards Skeggles Water and Green Quarter Fell was lovely.

The Nameless Summit – 1771′

From one nameless summit to another, we marched north towards the next Outlier.

Views approaching the summit of nameless peak 1771'
Views approaching the summit of nameless peak 1771′

The pointy peak of Ill Bell was the most recognisable mountain on the horizon, together with other fells from the Kentmere Horseshoe.

Adventurer Nic on the nameless summit 1771'
Adventurer Nic on the nameless summit 1771′

An old wall led us to the nameless summit 1771′ which we nicknamed Hardy Hill (after my own name).

The Summit – Long Crag

From here we entered bog territory, but found a few rocks to sit and eat lunch on out of the wind.

We continued on hopping over the bog towards the north-east corner of the fell where two walls meet, in order to use the ladder stile. From here we could see the Shap Fells we had yet to hike over to our left.

Liz on the ladder stile close to the summit of Long Crag
Liz on the ladder stile close to the summit of Long Crag

From here we headed up in a south westerly direction to reach the summit of Long Crag.

Approaching the summit of Long Crag
Approaching the summit of Long Crag

We were in good spirits after lunch. After a weather forecast that promised a bit of sunshine, a lot of cloud and a few showers we’d only caught one short shower and were felling buoyant.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Long Crag
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Long Crag

The Summit – White Howe

We returned to the wall junction and followed the wall to the col between Long Crag and White Howe, before peeling off to approach the summit from the north side.

Following the wall between Long Crag and White Howe
Following the wall between Long Crag and White Howe

White Howe was the only fell on the circuit to have a trig pillar.

Trig pillar on White Howe on the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Trig pillar on White Howe on the Bannisdale Horseshoe

The rain started just as we reached the summit and the mountains in the distance slowly started to disappear into the mist.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of White Howe
Adventurer Nic on the summit of White Howe

The Nameless Summit – 1736′

Leaving White Howe to the south-west, we hopped over a stile and up to next summit, another nameless one! So this third and final nameless summit adopted the nickname Forrest Fell, after James’s surname.

Adventurer Nic on the nameless summit 1736'
Adventurer Nic on the nameless summit 1736′

Forrest Fell was quite an apt nickname as the general area is marked ‘The Forest’ on the map.

View from the nameless summit 1736'
View from the nameless summit 1736′

The Summit – Lamb Pasture

We headed down from the nameless fell in a south-easterly direction.

James and Liz heading towards Lamb Pasture
James and Liz heading towards Lamb Pasture

Soon we could see Lamb Pasture, but we couldn’t summit it until we’d completed the biggest descent of the day so far.

Looking down towards Lamb Pasture
Looking down towards Lamb Pasture

We walked through a gate in the col and noticed a second gate in the corner to the right, so we headed through that in order to avoid having to cross the boundary further up.

Views from Lamb Pasture into Bannisdale Valley
Views from Lamb Pasture into Bannisdale Valley

We made it to the summit and the poor weather had passed once more. The sun was shining and the view down Bannisdale Valley was beautiful.

Adventurer Nic sitting on the summit of Lamb Pasture on the Bannisdale Horseshoe, The Lake District
Adventurer Nic sitting on the summit of Lamb Pasture on the Bannisdale Horseshoe, The Lake District

I took a well earned rest on the small summit cairn.

The Bannisdale Horseshoe Descent

From Lamb Pasture, we descended down to another pair of gates and followed a quad bike trail to main track.

Fox gloves on the Bannisdale Horseshoe descent
Fox gloves on the Bannisdale Horseshoe descent

The foxgloves framed the English countryside scene beautifully.

The descent of the Bannisdale Horseshoe
The descent of the Bannisdale Horseshoe

We reached the track at the bottom and walked along it to the east for a while before heading south again towards the road, along the right of way next to Thorn Cottage.

Descending down towards the farm
Descending down towards the farm

We walked along the road, which crossed Bannisdale Beck, before turning right onto another footpath.

This trail led us through woodland and out onto farmers fields.

Beautiful fields with a blue sky backdrop towards the end of the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Beautiful fields with a blue sky backdrop towards the end of the Bannisdale Horseshoe

By this time we were roasting hot in the sunshine.

Beautiful fields with a blue sky backdrop towards the end of the Bannisdale Horseshoe
Beautiful fields with a blue sky backdrop towards the end of the Bannisdale Horseshoe

The path exited onto the road where the cars were parked and our 18km Outlying Fell-bagging hike was over. The longest walk in Alfred Wainwright’s book – the Outlying Fells of Lakeland was complete.

Wrapping Up our Bannisdale Horseshoe Hike

What next? We walked Knipescar Common, the 38th hill of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells on our way home.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Scout Scar

Dog walking to the summit of Scout Scar in the Lake District

…and Cunswick Scar Route Introduction

Walking up to the summit of Scout Scar
Walking up to the summit of Scout Scar

Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar are two of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. They’re situated on the south eastern edge of the Lake District National Park. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 13th June 2020. These were Outlier numbers 24 and 25 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar Route Stats

Fells: Cunswick Scar (207m) and Scout Scar (233m)

Total Distance: 10.4km / 6.46miles

Total Ascent: 50m / 164ft

Approx Walk Time: 3 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 489924

Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar Route Report

The Lead Up

Earlier that week we’d hiked Caermote Hill in the north-western Lake District on our mission to hike all the Wainwright Outlying Fells during the summer of 2020.

We agreed to meet friends local to Kendal for a walk in the south-east so these two nearby fells fit the bill nicely.

The handy car park, high on Underbarrow Road meant that there wasn’t much ascent to the route, but we extended the walk to include the full ridge of Scout Scar to make a great 10km circuit.

We met our friends, Laura, Chris and Aggie and three dogs Willow, Molly and Eve, and set out.

The Ascent

Kendal local Aggie took the lead as we hiked up from the car park through a small section of woodland before a gate led us out onto the open hillside.

The start of the route to Cunswick Scar
The start of the route to Cunswick Scar

There are many trails that run along the wide ridge to the summit and they are popular with runners, dog walkers and hikers.

View ascending Cunswick Scar
View ascending Cunswick Scar

Alfred Wainwright described this walk as ‘A walk above others: a pleasure every step of the way’ in his book, The Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Views from the ascent of Cunswick Scar
Views from the ascent of Cunswick Scar

We continued north towards the summit. It’s near impossible to get lost here as the summit is on an (almost) perfect northerly bearing.

The Summit – Cunswick Scar

The cairn on the summit is particularly wide as cairns go!

Adventurer Nic and Molly on Cunswick Scar summit
Adventurer Nic and Molly on Cunswick Scar summit

Molly the cocker spaniel was keen to pose for a photo with me by the summit cairn.

Cunswick Scar's large summit cairn
Cunswick Scar’s large summit cairn

In the distance, we could just make out the higher fells of the Lake District. Jagged and pointy peaks like Crinkle Crags, Great Gable and the Langdale Pikes stood out the most.

Linking the Fells

We made a variation on the route back towards the car park.

Immaculate wall on Cunswick Scar
Immaculate wall on Cunswick Scar

A very attractive wall ran along the east of the ridge. We walked alongside it for a while before we looped back to the gate into the woods.

Approaching the woodland on Cunswick Scar
Approaching the woodland on Cunswick Scar

The woods led us back to the car park, but our walk wasn’t over yet!

Trail through the woodland back to the car park
Trail through the woodland back to the car park

We crossed the road and walked along it for a short distance to a large gate which led to the ridge of Scout Scar.

Trees lined the trail
Trees lined the trail

Trees lined the well maintained trail.

James Forrest appreciating the views on the way up Scout Scar
James Forrest appreciating the views on the way up Scout Scar

As with Cunswick Scar, this fell had a variety of route options along the ridge.

Laura looking out at the Lake District countryside
Laura looking out at the Lake District countryside

We chose the path that hugged the western edge of Scout Scar.

Scout Scar views over the Lakeland countryside
Scout Scar views over the Lakeland countryside

There was a steep cliff drop to our right as we walked along the ridge. Set into the cliff were thick trees so you can never quite see the bottom.

Scout Scar views towards Morecambe Bay
Scout Scar views towards Morecambe Bay

In the distance we could see Whitbarrow, another of the Outlying Fells that we’d hiked the previous weekend. It is an almost identical limestone ridge running parallel to this one. Anyone who likes one walk will almost certainly enjoy the other.

Beyond that we could see Morecambe Bay.

We then rounded the corner at the end of the ridge and walked along the eastern side beside another attractive wall.

Following a lovely wall on Scout Scar
Following a lovely wall on Scout Scar

We visited the trig pillar on Scout Scar but continued on towards the large shelter, a bit further up.

Touching the trig pillar on Scout Scar
Touching the trig pillar on Scout Scar

The Summit – Scout Scar

Upon reaching the summit we had a sit down in the shelter.

Adventurer Nic and Willow in the Scout Scar Mushroom
Adventurer Nic and Willow in the Scout Scar Mushroom

The shelter was put up in 1912 and is a memorial to King George V.

Adventurer Nic with Molly and Willow at the Mushroom on the summit of Scout Scar
Adventurer Nic with Molly and Willow at the Mushroom on the summit of Scout Scar

It used to have a view finder, to help hikers appreciate the views around them, but sadly it was vandalised and removed.

View from inside the Mushroom on Scout Scar
View from inside the Mushroom on Scout Scar

The summit shelter is fondly referred to as The Mushroom, as it resembles the fungi in shape.

Plaque on the Mushroom of Scout Scar
Plaque on the Mushroom of Scout Scar

The Descent of Scout Scar

It was a very short descent back to the car from the Mushroom.

Wrapping Up

Our great afternoon walk was topped off with pizza in our friend Katie’s garden in Kendal. We left Kendal late in the evening with smiles on our faces.

Next on the list for tomorrow was Black Combe, White Combe and Stoupdale Head.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Whitbarrow

The summit of Whitbarrow, one of Wainwright's Outlying Fells of Lakeland

Route Introduction

Whitbarrow is a fell that features in Alfred Wainwright’s guide book – The Outlying Fells of Lakeland. It is situated on the southeastern edge of the Lake District National Park. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Sunday 7th June 2020. This was Outlier number 19 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag this outlying fell too.

Whitbarrow Route Stats

Fells: Whitbarrow (215m)

Total Distance: 10.2km / 6.34miles

Total Ascent: 200m / 656ft

Approx Walk Time: 3 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 452840

Whitbarrow Route Report

The Lead Up

Our previous peak bagging walk was Watch Hill in the north-west Lake District, it was now time to head to the south-east.

This walk was very special for me as it was my first time meeting friends for a socially distanced walk in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie, Laura, Aggie and Graham joined James and I at the meeting point – a large layby south of Mill Side. Three dogs also joined us for the walk – Willow, Molly and Eve.

The Ascent

We walked away from the cars in the direction of Mill Side before turning off to the right at a finger post. This path led up through a farm and into the woodland.

The path zig-zagged uphill before leading us out onto the open hillside.

Cocker Spaniel on the main path up Whitbarrow
Cocker Spaniel on the main path up Whitbarrow

Willow, the young cocker spaniel, enthusiastically led the way, up to the north.

The route was easy to follow and led us over solid terrain at a gentle gradient. We were chatting away, with lots to catch up on after months apart.

Views from the first of many cairned tops on Whitbarrow in the Lake District
Views from the first of many cairned tops on Whitbarrow in the Lake District

There were multiple cairned tops on Whitbarrow but we aimed for the furthest one, which is marked Lord’s Seat on the map.

Limestone along the Whitbarrow ridge
Limestone along the Whitbarrow ridge

Whitbarrow was actually made a nature reserve in 1969 by The Lake District Naturalists’ Trust (now the Cumbria Wildlife Trust). It’s a joy to walk along the ridge surrounded by sections of beautiful limestone pavement.

The ridge runs parallel to the ridge of Scout Scar – another of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland, which we hoped to walk the following weekend.

The Summit – Whitbarrow

Upon reaching the huge cairn on Lord’s Seat, we noticed the memorial plaque to Canon G.A.K. Hervey, founder of The Lake District Naturalists’ Trust.

Memorial plaque on the summit cairn of Whitbarrow
Memorial plaque on the summit cairn of Whitbarrow

This is not the highest point on the fell though, that accolade goes to the rib of rock 15 metres to the southwest of the cairn. So that’s where we paused to eat our lunch.

Eve poses next to the highest point of Whitbarrow
Eve poses next to the highest point of Whitbarrow

We admired the views towards the Langdale Fells before starting our descent.

Whitbarrow summit views towards the Langdale mountains
Whitbarrow summit views towards the Langdale mountains

As we set off on our descent we looked back one last time at the immaculate cairn.

The large cairn on Whitbarrow
The large cairn on Whitbarrow

The Descent

We descended a short distance north before peeling off to the northwest.

We reached Bell Rake and commenced a section of the path that was a bit steeper, with loose scree underfoot. There was also the opening to an eerie cave on this part of the trail.

The steep section on the descent of Whitbarrow
The steep section on the descent of Whitbarrow

At the bottom of the descent we turned left to head south along the woodland trails that run parallel to the ridge of Whitbarrow. These would lead us back to the cars at Mill Side.

Woodland trails on the way back to the car
Woodland trails on the way back to the car

As we entered Mill Side we passed some stunning cottages with immaculately kept gardens and vegetable patches.

Wrapping Up

Before the walk had ended we’d already made arrangements to walk together again next weekend.

Four of us went for a takeaway coffee in Staveley before James and I walked Reston Scar and Hugill Fell later that evening.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

East Drumochter Munros

Adventurer Nic hiking towards A' Bhuidheanach Bheag - Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands East of the Drumochter Pass

Route Introduction

The two East Drumochter Munros covered by this route are A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag and Carn na Caim. These two mountains neighbour each other and sit just east of the Drumochter Pass. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to both summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Friday 24th May 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 51 and 52 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

East Drumochter Munros Route Stats

Mountains: A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag (936m) and Carn na Caim (941m)

Total Distance: 19.2km / 11.9miles

Total Ascent: 700m / 2,297ft

Approx Walk Time: 6 hours

Grid Reference Start: NN 639819

East Drumochter Munros Route Report

The Lead Up

James and I had climbed 50 Munros as part of our peak bagging challenge. However, we’d taken a break after hiking our 50th Munro – Ben Ime – in order to undertake a couple of work commitments back in England. One of the commitments was to speak at the Keswick Mountain Festival, an event I love to go to every year. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends.

On the morning of 24th May 2019, we left James’s home in Cumbria and travelled north. We planned to climb our first two Munros within the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. We parked up in a layby on the A9 (Pass of Drumochter).

It was time to recommence our peak bagging mission. Starting with the East Drumochter Munros – A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag and Carn na Caim.

The Ascent

Crossing the road, we headed up onto a wide track which initially headed east before turning to head south.

We were grateful that the car was parked at 400m to begin with. These kind of treats don’t come very often in the Munros. Many Munro walks start at sea level, or if my smart watch is to be believed, below sea level in some cases!

About half an hour into the ascent I realised I’d left the caps on the ends of my new walking poles. I’d been a convert to walking poles for about a year, feeling that they took a great deal of pressure off my knees. Unforunately, as I’d used the poles for half an hour the plastic tips were well and truly stuck. James actually had to bite them off, whilst all I could think of was the sheep poo that I’d most likely already walked through.

The track led us to a point in the track where we had to choose left or right. It really made no difference which Munro we headed for first so we just took the right fork to bag them alphabetically (as there was no other compelling reason)!

Adventurer Nic hiking towards A' Bhuidheanach Bheag - the first of our east Drumochter Munros
Adventurer Nic hiking towards A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag – Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands East of the Drumochter Pass

The scenery was fairly underwhelming by Munro standards. The ground was firm underfoot and the rolling hills reminded me of the English Howgills more than they did the jagged peaks I associated with Scotland – like An Teallach.

Adventurer Nic hiking towards A' Bhuidheanach Bheag - Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands East of the Drumochter Pass
Adventurer Nic hiking towards A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag – Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands East of the Drumochter Pass

The Summits of the East Drumochter Munros

A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag

We skirted around the summit of A’ Bhuidheanach and down to a peaty col before hiking up to the summit of our first Munro of the day – A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag.

At the summit of A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag we met a father and daughter who were taking a great deal of selfies with their dog. Meeting someone at the summit meant we got a nice photo of us both for a change.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of A' Bhuidheanach Bheag, the first of the East Drumochter Munros
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag Summit

We were really impressed with the weather at this point, it was far better than the forecast led us to believe. So much so that we started to wish we’d taken advantage and tackled something a bit more challenging. After trying multiple weather forecasting apps throughout the challenge, we generally trusted the Met Office mountain forecasts the most.

Adventurer Nic hiking towards Carn na Caim - Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands East of the Drumochter Pass

Peak bagging is full of ‘what ifs’. What if we’d done Aonach Eagach instead? What if we’d started an epic multi day in Knoydart?

But I didn’t dwell. There are only so many sunny days in a year and to be honest I was happy just to be back in the hills on a nice day. The East Drumochter Munros might be a little bit unremarkable but it beat sitting behind a desk.

We retraced our steps back to the split in the track where a right hand turn led us towards the summit of Carn na Caim.

Carn na Caim

We followed the track northeast. Half way up Carn na Caim we passed a large group who were descending. I smiled fondly as they were doing what I’ve done a hundred times before. Walking in a big group but split into smaller groups of 3’s and 2’s, walking side by side, deep in quality conversation, smiling and looking content in each others company. It made me miss my hill walking friends.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Carn na Caim, the second of the East Drumochter Munros
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Carn na Caim

James and I reached the cairn on the flat summit and posed for a cheesy selfie. I laugh looking back at photos like this. I can see I’m fresh faced and James had a haircut during the break. We look well rested, rosy cheeked and chilled. I had no idea that I’d involuntarily lose a stone in weight and age 5 years over the next 5 months!

The Descent

We looked across to the northeast to Meall Chuaich, another Munro that we’d yet to climb on this side of the pass. But it was too far away to link to this route so would have to wait for another day. Instead we turned back and followed the route of ascent.

We chatted lots on the descent. James explained (in as much detail as I could handle) about his University dissertation on the American Civil War.

We retraced our steps on the track to the main road and remarked that these two Munros would sadly be rather forgettable in comparison to other outings, but it was a pleasant day regardless.

Wrapping Up

The hill walking wasn’t over for us. We packed an overnight ruckack and headed to Blair Atholl in readiness for our next peak bagging outing and my first stay in a Scottish bothy.

We nicknamed the East Drumochter Munros:

  • A Balenciaga Bag – A’ Bhuidheanach Bheag
  • Carn Na Carn Na Carn Na Carn Na Carn Na Caimeleon – Carn na Caim

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

An Teallach

Sgurr Fiona, viewed from the ascent. Sgurr Fiona is a Munro summit of An Teallach in the north west Scottish highlands

Route Introduction

An Teallach is a Scottish mountain with two Munro summits – Sgurr Fiona and Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill. Arguably the most dramatic and beautiful mountain on the UK mainland, An Teallach can be found south west of the village of Dundonnell in the far north west of the Highlands. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to both summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 21st September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 228 and 229 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

An Teallach Route Stats

Mountains: Sgurr Fiona (1,058m) and Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill (1,062m)

Total Distance: 16.5km / 10.3miles

Total Ascent: 1,090m / 3,576ft

Approx Walk Time: 6.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NH 115848

An Teallach Route Report

The Lead Up

An Teallach as seen from the approach road
An Teallach as seen from the approach road

The day before my boyfriend James and I climbed An Teallach we were ‘compleating’ our Black Cuillin Munros on the Isle of Skye under the expert guiding of Adrian Trendall. We descended our final Cuillin Munro, Sgurr Alasdair, and said goodbye to Adrian.

We headed part way to An Teallach and camped in woodland, a quiet spot somewhere in Strathgarve Forest.

After a decent sleep, despite persistent flashbacks the thrilling (terrifying) experience of the Great Stone Chute on the Black Cuillin the previous day, we got dressed and drove to the start of the An Teallach walk. Initially, we aimed for the Corrie Hallie car park, but this was a sunny Saturday so it was already full. Instead, we secured one of the last spaces in a smaller car park slightly further south.

Setting Off

Adventurer Nic on the early part of the walk with Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) and surrounding Munros in the background
Adventurer Nic on the early part of the walk with Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) and surrounding Munros in the background

We walked for a short section on the road before setting off on a track. This track was in fact the Cape Wrath Trail. Many of our Munro walks happen to use parts of this iconic long distance route. The track was wide and we nervously shuffled past a field full of cows. We are always anxious passing cattle after a friend was trampled by a herd in North Wales only last year.

An Teallach from the Cape Wrath Trail in the north west Scottish highlands
An Teallach from the Cape Wrath Trail

We crossed on a bridge over the Allt Gleann Charachain before the trail rose to 300m in elevation and we took the right hand fork in the path. Behind us was Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) and over to the left were the Fannichs. We were treated to a lovely view of An Teallach as we glanced up to the right. Parallel to Lochan na Brathan, we peeled off the trail and hit the open hillside.

The Ascent

We followed intermittent faint paths and generally stuck to a north west bearing, leading onto the ridge – first walking over 954m Sail Liath and then 960m Stobh Cadha Gobhlach.

Adventurer Nic en route to Sgurr Fiona - a Munro summit of An Teallach in the north west Scottish highlands
Adventurer Nic en route to Sgurr Fiona

From here you have amazing views of the pinnacles of An Teallach and both Munro summits. We paused for a while here to appreciate the view. A gorgeous blue sky, a sunny late September day in Scotland with no midges! It really doesn’t get much better than this.

Adventurer Nic standing looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland
Adventurer Nic standing looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach

We followed a path steeply down, before rising up again, bypassing to the left of another pinnacle. It was only right that we stopped to enjoy lunch on a grassy platform with stunning views. We had a great vantage point from which we could watch people descending the mountain in front of us. We had a much longer lunch break than we normally allowed ourselves. The pure beauty of the scene demanded it.

Adventurer Nic is a dot in this photo, standing on a rocky pinnacle on the ascent of An Teallach, a Munro mountain in the remote Scottish highlands
Adventurer Nic is a mere dot in this photo

The Walker’s Bypass

James Forrest making his way up An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands
James Forrest making his way up An Teallach

We continued, following a loose gravel path upwards. And when it forked we somewhat reluctantly took the left option. This is the bypass option which cuts out the grade 3 scrambling over the pinnacles. Two back-to-back days on the Black Cuillin had sent my legs to jelly and my shot my nerves, so tackling some grade 3 scrambling without a rope seemed a foolish option to take. The pinnacles of An Teallach require a lot of down climbing. It felt a step too far for our skill level.

Adventurer Nic sitting to admire the view over to the Fisherfields from the ascent of An Teallach in the north west Scottish highlands
Adventurer Nic sitting to admire the view over to the Fisherfields

The bypass runs to the left of the pinnacles and we enjoyed beautiful views of the Fisherfield Munros from the trail.

The Summits of An Teallach

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Sgurr Fiona. A Munro summit on An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands

We made our way up to the summit of Sgurr Fiona from the bypass path. Standing proud at 1,058m tall, the Munro summit of Sgurr Fiona is marked by a cairn.

After seeing multiple other hillwalkers all day, we were surprised to find ourselves alone on the summit.

Next, we followed the ridge down and onwards towards Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill.

The weather really was as close to perfect as it could get, with glorious visibility all day and a light breeze so it wasn’t too hot.

The ridge soon rose back up again and led us onto the second Munro summit – Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill – the bigger of the two Munros. The sun nicely silhouetted the route of ascent behind us, creating a dreamy atmosphere.

Adventurer Nic walking towards the summit of Bidein A'Ghlas Thuill. A Munro summit on An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic walking towards the summit of Bidein A’Ghlas Thuill

The true summit of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill is reportedly a rock 6 metres south of the trig pillar. So, as usual, I stood on all the likely contenders!

The Descent

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Bidein A'Ghlas Thuill. A Munro summit on An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands

From the summit of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill, we headed off northwards to a col before turning eastwards and descending down an eroded path into the valley.

Once in the valley, we picked up another intermittent path, which ran alongside a stream.

It was deliciously shady in the bowl of the valley and it was such a relief after a warm day.

We made an error towards the end of the route as we lost the path, ending up in the grip of some crazily high rhododendron bushes which spat us out into a field and into more bushes. We were trapped somehow between the bushes and the river. And annoyingly, the sounds coming from the road seemed so close! We backtracked to the field and were able to get back onto the road without having to cross the river. In hindsight it might have been better to have crossed the river earlier and approached the road on the east side of the river. Something to consider if you decide to follow this route.

It was less than a kilometre to walk back to the car to finish.

Wrapping Up

Adventurer Nic walking towards the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland
An unforgettable day in the Scottish Hills

We nicknamed these Munros ‘Slurry Fiona’ and ‘Bidding on a Glass of Fuel’. Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We re-fuelled our bodies, re-hydrated with lots of water and packed our overnight bags. The day wasn’t over for us as we headed back on the Cape Wrath Trail in the direction of Shenavall bothy, ready to walk the Fisherfield Munros.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Ben More Assynt and Conival

Loch Assynt as seen from the slopes of Conival

Route Introduction

Ben More Assynt and Conival are two Munros which neighbour each other in the Assynt area of the northern Scottish Highlands. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to both summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Tuesday 17th September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 220 and 221 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Ben More Assynt and Conival Route Stats

Mountains: Conival (987m) and Ben More Assynt (998m)

Total Distance: 17.8km / 11miles

Total Ascent: 1,070m / 3,510ft

Approx Walk Time: 6.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NC 251216

Ben More Assynt Route Report

The Lead Up

View of Ardvreck Castle from the shores of Loch Assynt and our camp spot
View of Ardvreck Castle from the shores of Loch Assynt and our camp spot

The day before this walk, we had driven up to Loch Assynt from Cockermouth, Cumbria. It was 350 miles and over 6 hours of solid driving. With a fuel stop (one), coffee stops (a couple) and a McDonalds stop in Inverness (crucial) – the entire journey took closer to 8 hours. It was dark when we reached the car park at Loch Assynt.

There were a few camper vans in the car park when we arrived. As I’d been there before, I knew to follow the path down to the Loch side and set up camp opposite Ardvreck Castle. There was a cool breeze. I noticed the tent structure didn’t look quite right. In our tired haze we’d fitted the central pole (the one that gives width to the tent) upside down. With a few frustrated huffs and puffs we corrected the schoolboy error and made our beds. For this leg of the adventure I had decided to swap out my Thermorest Neo Air Uberlite in favour of the X Therm plus my winter sleeping bag.

I slept well, but James had a fitful sleep and woke really early. We didn’t dither and got our camping kit put away, then I did the opening door reveal of Castle Ardvreck – a nice surprise of James who hadn’t seen it in the dark when we’d arrived.

It had rained in the night so the tent was a little damp, so we stored the inner and outer separately. We spotted two majestic stags by the castle as we de-camped.

The Ascent

Adventurer Nic and James, all smiles despite the drizzle on Conival

After walking back to the car we ate breakfast and drove to the start point for the walk (a small car park, just south of Inchnadamph).

We packed our day bags and set out, crossing the main bridge over the River Traligill.

We walked past the Inchnadamph Lodge. It was nice to know we were booked in there later so that James could work on an article for Sidetracked magazine.

Keeping on top of his day job during big adventures is a struggle for James and I feel lucky to be able to focus on the challenge full time.

The initial part of the walk is on the Cape Wrath Trail, the section linking Inchnadamph with Kinlochewe to the south and Cape Wrath to the north. It’s a trail I’d love to walk in full in the next couple of years – from Fort William up to the iconic lighthouse at Cape Wrath. The full trail is approximately, 330km / 200miles in length.

The initial track soon turned into a path and we crossed a concrete bridge to follow a muddy path beside a stream, before walking carefully over wet slippy rock. It was a good 5km walk in before the terrain started to get steeper. We were feeling strong and overtook a couple, who were taking a rest on a rock before overtaking a single male hiker on the ascent up to the col at 750m.

We gained the ridge and walked south along to the summit of Conival, our first Munro of the day.

The Summits – Conival and Ben More Assynt

Thumbs up from Adventurer Nic, a selfie with James on the summit of Ben More Assynt

We met a couple, eating lunch in the shelter which marks the summit of Conival.

After pausing for photo we headed east along the ridge towards Ben More Assynt.

The terrain became increasingly rocky. It was drizzling on and off, with cloud sweeping over both Munro peaks.

Our Cicerone guide book described the ridge perfectly – ‘The ridge from Conival to Ben More Assynt is a wonderful airy traverse to a high, remote hill. At times it narrows a little, but never deliciously so’. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

We make it to the summit of Ben More Assynt in the best weather of the day with clear views over the vast remote landscape.

At 998m, Ben More Assynt is only 2 metres shy of the magic 1,000m. The summit is marked by a small cairn.

The Descent

Because it’s a linear walk, we saw the same people we’d passed earlier in the day along the descent as we retraced our steps. First following the ridge back to Conival and then off the mountain towards in the Cape Wrath Trail and Inchnadamph.

Wrapping Up

We nicknamed these Munros ‘Ben More Or Less’ for Ben More Assynt and ‘Evil Kenevil’ for Conival. Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We took the car the short distance to Inchnadamph Lodge and checked in. Similarly to an earlier stay, we were in the annex. A different room but conveniently situated next to a small kitchen.

Ironically, I was carrying a small injury, not caused by the extensive mountain climbing activities but by an ill-fitting wedding outfit I’d worn the previous weekend!

As James headed to the main hostel building to work on his writing, I hung the tent up to dry (from the previous nights rain) and wrote my journal. Another task was to update my Munro bagging spreadsheet with much of the detail that makes it into these posts. I then cooked a Pasta Bolognese Summit to Eat meal and served it with extra spaghetti for a calorie boost.

It was then that we had a surprise email. It was from Adrian Trendall of All Things Cuillin to say that he had a cancellation and was free to guide us on the Isle of Skye at the end of the week. This would mean us completing our Black Cuillin Munros! But it was risky taking the slot. Not an easy decision as the forecast was for one foggy day with a chance of rain, and one dry and sunny day. After very few opportunities had presented themselves to climb on Skye this summer, we decided we had to go for it. So a new plan was formed… an early night tonight and Ben Wyvis tomorrow.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.