Red Screes and its neighbours, 23rd April 2003

On the second day of the April 2003 holiday I planned a walk that would take in four unclimbed fells on the lateral ridges of the Fairfield group - Red Screes and its neighbours Middle Dodd, Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd.
I began the day by catching the bus from Keswick to Ambleside. This is a view of Ambleside's bowling green and park with Loughrigg in the background.
The bowling green and pavilion
Another shot of the bowling green, with Ambleside church in the background.
This tiny house on top of a bridge used to be the National Trust information centre
Stock Ghyll, flowing beside the main road out of Ambleside to the north.
I turned right for the stiff climb up Smithy Brow.
Smith Brow climbs rapidly to the northern heights of Ambleside, heading for Kirkstone Pass.
Leaving the town to the north, and looking over to Wansfell on the right.
Still a few houses on the outer fringes of Ambleside.
Looking down on Ambleside from the Kirkstone Pass road.
Cattle grazing beside the Kirkstone Pass road.
Turning left into a lane brings you to the south ridge of Red Screes, and already the scenery is wild.
Looking eastwards to the fells surrounding Grasmere.
One of the limbs of the Fairfield horseshoe
A little higher up the ridge this lovely view of Rydal Water opened up.
The path bypasses the rocky outcrops of Snarker Pike and then ascends the steep flanks of the slope behind.
On the ridge proper once again, looking down at Rydal Water with Silver How beyond.
Nearing the summit ridge of Red Screes already.
Looking back at Ambleside and the head of Windermere.
Approaching the top of Red Screes
That looks like the top...
...but it's not. A false summit, and the ridge continues to ascend beyond.
This looks more like it.
A most unusual feature - a sizeable tarn near a summit.
I've reached the top of Red Screes. This is the view northwards down to Middle Dodd, with a tiny piece of Brothers Water in view.
Looking northwest towards Helvellyn
The view to the west; the Scafell group, Great Gable, Pillar and High Stile.
The Coniston fells and the Scafell group, to the southwest.
The summit wind shelter on Red Screes.
The view eastwards towards the Kentmere horseshoe.
Looking northeast across Kirkstone Pass to Caudale Moor (aka Stony Cove Pike) with High Street behind.
The trig pillar that marks the actual summit of Red Screes. 
Looking down the northern ridge of Red Screes to Middle Dodd.
Middle Dodd is next on my itinerary, and this is a shot taken from the walk along the ridge.
Middle Dodd, 2106 ft. It hardly counts as a separate fell, there being barely six feet of reascent from the col between this top and Red Screes.
The view northwards from the cairn to Brothers Water.
Southwards from Middle Dodd, and the retrospective view of Red Screes.
From Middle Dodd I took a pathless track around the northwest shoulder of Red Screes, to meet the path from Red Screes to the Scandale col. The craggy top just right of centre is Little Hart Crag, my third fell on my list.
This walk is far less of a doddle than the ascent of Middle Dodd. It's more than a mile and there's over 400 ft of reascent.
Plus, there's a fair number of small, rocky outcrops along the ridge.
This is the Scandale col, at 1650 ft. From here I followed the wall.
The wall leads to Black Brow, a high level ridge between Little Hart Crag and Dove Crag to the west. A small tarn lays to the south. 
From here it's just a short walk to the summit outcrop of Little Hart Crag, and fortunately the climb is less daunting than it looks.
The summit of Little Hart Crag, 2091 ft. St Sunday Crag is the summit in the centre of shot, two and a half miles to the northwest. Helvellyn peeps through the col to the left.
Place Fell appears to the north, with Great Mell Fell way beyond to the left.
To the west we're looking at Hart Crag and Dove Crag. 
and there's Red Screes again to the southeast.
Hart Crag is the main summit in view, left of centre; behind is Fairfield in the centre of shot, and Helvellyn peeps through to the right.
The north ridge of Little Hart Crag, looking down to High Hartsop Dodd and Brothers Water.
High Hartsop Dodd is the last of my four summits of the day, and the intervening ridge from Little Hart Crag is an easy walk.
Here's the top of High Hartsop Dodd, 1702 ft. Like Middle Dodd across the valley, it barely counts as a separate fell as there's very little reascent from Little Hart Crag.
There's quite a decent view from the little cairn. That's Hart Crag and Fairfield to the northwest.
And over there is Red Screes once again. 
This is a real stroke of luck - the first time I've ever seen a badger in the wild. They are not usually seen in broad daylight - or on fellsides for that matter.
I've taken a second route across a pathless fellside, this time crossing the shoulder of Little Hart Crag to get to the Scandale col direct. This is the lonely view southwards down Scandale. I have ninety minutes to get back to Ambleside for the last bus back to Keswick.
Fortunately the path is predominantly grassy and I'm able to make good time.
The descent down into the bowl of Scandale.
The first enclosure wall is reached.
From now on I'm on a good vehicle track, but I'm not really sure how far it is to Ambleside. Just over an hour left..
A quick look back from where I've come, with Dove Crag and Little Hart Crag looking fearsome.
Further down the valley. Less than forty five minutes left and no sign of Ambleside yet.
Windermere is beginning to appear and the scenery is softening.
Am I anywhere near Ambleside yet?
The first landmark - High Sweden Bridge, and the route to the Fairfield Horseshoe.
Shouldn't be long now, maybe two miles at the most.
Lower Scandale really is lovely...
...and scenery such as this shouldn't be rushed...
...but I have only twenty five minutes in hand now...
...and have to step out.
Still no sign of Ambleside but the track is far smoother now and I can't be far away.
Any minute now I'll see the first house in Sweden Bridge Lane.
Just round this bend perhaps? (Eighteen minutes).
Ah, a gate.
How much further to Ambleside? I'm worried now.
There it is! Fourteen minutes, I'll make it now.
Time to enjoy the view westwards over towards Rydal Water.
This is Sweden Bridge Lane, Ambleside.
A little photographic record of its charms...
...and one final shot before turning right down Smithy Brow to the town centre. I made the bus without any problem. It had been a fine day.

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This page last updated 25th October 2003