The Kentmere Horseshoe
SEVEN Wainwright walk: Shipman Knotts, Kentmere Pike, Harter Fell (Mardale) , Mardale Ill Bell, Froswick, Ill Bell, Yoke (and perhaps add Thornthwaite Crag and/or High Street too!)
Time: 6 - 7 hours (longer if you want to include High Street)
Parking: at Sadgill, at the top of Longsleddale or on High Lane, Kentmere (free)
|The Horseshoe from Kentmere's High Lane|
1. Arriving at Sadgill, cross the bridge and head left to find the old cart road passing behind the farm buildings, signposted to Stile End and Kentmere.
|Cross the bridge and walk up the track behind the farm|
|Whatever the sign says, don't try this track with a car!|
2. Walk up the gated road around the hillside, up some steep bends that would be hard going for any carthorse, and then continue on as the wide track levels out as it crosses the top of the ridge in the direction of Kentmere.
|Follow the wide track up to the top of the ridge|
3. Look for a stone wall coming down to the road from the fell on your left. Where the wall reaches the track, a wooden gate crosses the road. Go through the gate and then leave the track to your right, crossing the stream below it.
|Following the path alongside the stone wall|
|The last section of the walk up to Shipman Knotts|
|Cross the wall that heads across the hillside|
8. Follow this thinner path until the fence turns at right-angles to head left up the ridge of the fell. You will see a small wooden stile in the fence. Cross the fence and walk out to Goat Scar, the rise ahead with a small cairn on its top.
|Looking west from the top of Kentmere Pike|
|Looking back along the wall from the triangulation column|
13. The path now continues for a mile or so around the horseshoe, across the peaty ridge, before rising up to the higher ground that forms the top of Harter Fell. At an angle in the wire fence to your right, one path veers off left, across the grass around the side of Harter Fell, a route that gives the clearest views down to the Kentmere Reservoir below. This path comes out above the Nan Bield Pass.
|The Kentmere Reservoir under Ill Bell|
|The summit cairn of Harter Fell (2022)|
|The summit cairn of Harter Fell (2020)|
|A panorama showing the route ahead to Mardale Ill Bell|
|Looking out towards Haweswater|
17. The Nan Bield Pass stands on a crossroads of routes. A path descends to the right down to Mardale Head, at the top of Haweswater.
|Looking back along the paved path towards Harter Fell|
20. Continuing upwards across the peaty fellside brings you to the rocky knoll that marks the top of Mardale Ill Bell (2496').
|The beacon on the summit of Thornthwaite Crag|
|Looking south from the head of a wintry Kentmere|
25. There is now a very clear path to follow along the ridge ahead of you, first climbing up to Froswick (2359'), then down and back up to the conical top of Ill Bell (2484').
|The wide path heading up to Froswick|
|Looking back towards Froswick|
26. The top of Ill Bell has three well built cairns, which can be seen on its skyline from a distance. The southernmost one marks the onward route towards Yoke.
|The summit cairns on Ill Bell|
|Nearly back at Sadgill|
Worth knowing: Kentmere gathers the waters of the River Kent into its brief course down to the sea between Arnside and Grange. It is one of the fastest flowing rivers in England. River levels through Kendal can rise very quickly, leading to the serious flooding last seen in 2015, after Storm Desmond.