Red Screes

A week last Sunday I fancied getting out to stretch my legs so headed up to the Lake District. At this time of the year the daylight hours are short so I wanted a route that would get me back to the car before darkness descended. I decided to drive up to Ambleside and walk up Scandale and then climb up Red Screes. It’s a route I’d done before and although not the most popular way up the mountain – most people seem to take the steep climb up from the Kirkstone Pass – I’d enjoyed the walk up the quiet valley. This time another solitary rambler was following the same route and we kept passing each other. We eventually walked together and chatted for a while, until I had to stop to top up my blood sugar.

I arrived around 8:30 and parked up in the main car park and booted up. There were quite a few other people also getting ready to head off onto the fells, either walking or cycling. I walked through the town centre and was soon setting off up the lane that led up Scandale Pass.

Looking across the valley
Carrying on up the “lonning” (the Cumbrian term for “lane”
Looking across the valley – Rydal Water just about visible
The picturesque Sweden Bridge – the subject of many photographs!
Carrying on along the valley. The other solitary walker a short distance ahead.
The lonely valley!
Through the gate – not too far to the top of the pass now
Looking back down the valley as I approached the top of the pass. From there there was a steep climb up to the summit of Red Screes. There was a path that followed along the side of a dry stone wall but after a while we (I’d teamed up with the other walker by now) strayed off and found our own way up the hill side.
Looking down towards Patterdale and Brothers’ Water
Getting close to the summit. The temperature had dropped and there were several patches of snow.
The small un-named tarn at the summit had frozen over
The summit with its trig point and shelter dead ahead. Time to stop, grab a bite to eat and a hot coffee from my flask while I admired the views
Looking across to Dovedale and the Fairfield horseshoe
The view over Middle Dod down to Patterdale
Looking across the Kirkstone Pass to Hartsop Dod (I think!)
Across to Ill Bell and the west side of the Kentmere fells

It was time to start making my way back to Ambleside down the long whale-back ridge of Red Screes. There were great views all the way as I descended.

Zooming in on the Kirkstone Inn and the car park
Ill Bell again – I can’t resist taking snaps of this mountain!
A good view along Windermere opened up. The photo is rubbish, though as I shooting into the sun
Looking across to Rydal Water and Grasmere
Yet another shot across to the Kentmere fells – Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke
Looking across the “Struggle” to Wansfell
A herd of Belted Galloways and Highland Cattle
Windemere and Ambleside ahead – still shooting into the sun!
Descending down the last stretch of the fell


Through that gate is the steep road down from the Kirkstone Pass to Ambleside, known as “The Struggle”.
Looking across to Wansfell from The Struggle
Coming into Ambleside

I made my way down to the town centre and had a mooch around the shops picking up a few items in the sales before returning to my car.

Passing Bridge House on the way to the car park – it’s obligatory to take a photo!


26 thoughts on “Red Screes

  1. Funnily enough, only a few days ago I was reminiscing about my days on Red Screes for my blog, though it’ll be a long while yet before that post will get used. Nice to share your more immediate memories.

  2. A favourite of mine. Kilnshaw Chimney is my favourite way up, but you are usually too busy hanging on to get the views. I like your way up as well.

  3. That’s quite a pull. Looks like a good route though. I’ve started off for Fairfield that way, but never thought to do Red Screes. You’re right, I’d probably have gone from Kirkstone. Great photographs! Looks like you had good day.

    • Yes, Michael, it was good to get up on the fells. I like this route. Some peoplethink it’s boring and prefer the excitement of the chimney. But I like the scenery and views and relative solitude.

  4. Well if I’d known you were up there I’d have waved! We were on hills around Brunt Fell above Staveley. Turned into a decent day after a gloomy start.
    Been ages since I’ve walked those fells and I like the look of that route around Red Screes. Some great photos

  5. I’ve never been up through Scandale only ever looked down it from Little Hart Crag or down into it from the Fairfield Horseshoe return leg. Like John above I climbed Red Screes up Kilnshaw Chimney and then back down the steep path, the chimney is do able, just full of scree which has you sliding back down in a two steps up one down way. Good fun though, and the vertiginous views to the pub below are stunning

    • Not sure about scree and vertiginous views 😬 Not my thing these days. I’m aware of my limitations and don’t push it too much. (Except occasionally 🥴

      • It’s not called Red Screes for mothing!
        The scree looks a bit like the climb up Seat Sandal ftom Grasmere Tarn. Probably a longer stretch?
        The pictures suggest it might be doable but scree section not so tempting!

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