logo Walking Britain

Lake District Walk
Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Eastern Fells

Wainwrights - High Hartsop Dodd, Little Hart Crag, Middle Dodd, Red Screes

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 10.0 miles / 16.3 km    Ascent - 2700 feet / 818 metres

Time - 7 hours 40 minutes    Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference NY388057
Lat 54.443002 // Long -2.945187
Postcode LA22 9ET (approx. location only)
what3words start apes.dustbin.rentals

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL7Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL7Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 90Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 90Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside Photo from the walk - Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside Photo from the walk - Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside Photo from the walk - Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside Photo from the walk - Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside Photo from the walk - Red Screes & Other Fells from Ambleside
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This is a lake District walk with a difference. Red Screes is the main focus of the walk but I have added three lesser summits all of which are Wainwrights. With all the car parks in Ambleside heaving with visitors some lateral thinking was needed and I headed up the road to Kirkstone Pass as far as the small parking area (grid ref. NY388057) just uphill from Roundhill farm. If everyone parks carefully there is enough room for half a dozen cars and it provides a pleasant start to this varied walk.

Sadly you first need to cover a short distance on the road. Head downhill until you are level with High Barn where you take a footpath on your right that trends west around the northern outskirts of Ambleside. Simple navigation will lead to the lane heading north up Scandale. A pleasant section through woodland leads to open country beyond and High Sweden Bridge, by which time you are probably ready for a rest. Continuing, keep to the main path which heads up the valley to Scandale Pass. You have a rather uninteresting view of Red Screes on your right and the crags of Low Pike and High Pike to your left. Ahead you will see the twin tops of Little Hart Crag on the skyline and these are the first objective of the day.

Progress up Scandale is easy and it is surprising how quickly you reach the top of the Pass. Turn left up the fellside to reach the summit cairn of Little Hart Crag from where there are good views north. I have always been determined to reach the top of High Hartsop Dodd but the direct approach from Brother's Water looks intimidating but by descending from Little Hart Crag and following the ridge you are able to reach the top by walking downhill all the way! After admiring the view, I turned south carefully avoiding any re-ascent by contouring across the eastern slopes of Little Hart Crag to arrive back at Scandale Pass.

It is a long tedious approach to the summit of Red Screes. This can be avoided at least in part by heading south-east alongside the wall and then turning north across rough fellside to the little summit of Middle Dodd. By doing this you avoid much of the tedium and are rewarded with much more interesting views. The summit is a fine place to rest awhile and you will probably be alone and able to enjoy the view, which is excellent especially to north and east. Although this diversion adds a little extra distance it significantly improves the final ascent to the summit of Red Screes as you are able to see at close quarters its north east combe, which is very dramatic. As an extra bonus you have a bird's eye view of the traffic crossing the Kirkstone Pass which looks a long way down.

With so much to see you soon arrive at the summit of Red Screes which is adorned with a trig point and, rather surprisingly, a small tarn. From now on it is all down hill. I used the main path back to Ambleside which follows the ridge. Ahead is an excellent panorama over Windermere with a good selection of the southern and western peaks as a backdrop. Reaching the Kirkstone Road turn left and walk a short way uphill back to your car and the end of an excellent mountain excursion.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1002 The Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside - mod/hard - 11.0 miles/17.9 km

Walk 1170 A shortened version of the Fairfield Horseshoe - mod/hard - 9.5 miles/15.4 km

Walk 1023 Wansfell Pike & Wansfell from Ambleside - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km

Walk 3519 High Sweden Bridge from Ambleside - easy/mod - 3.0 miles/4.9 km

Walk 3075 Ambleside and Rydal circular - easy/mod - 6.5 miles/10.6 km

Walk 3423 Dove Crag & Red Screes - Scandale Horseshoe - mod/hard - 9.5 miles/15.4 km

Walk 2026 Loughrigg from Pelter Bridge near Rydal - easy/mod - 4.0 miles/6.5 km

Walk 1823 Fairfield Horseshoe & Loughrigg from High Close - mod/hard - 14.0 miles/22.8 km

Walk 3697 Loughrigg Fell from Skelwith Bridge - easy/mod - 4.5 miles/7.3 km

Walk 1472 Alcock Tarn, Rydal Water & Grasmere from Grasmere - easy/mod - 7.0 miles/11.4 km

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking the Lake District Fells - Buttermere

Walking the Lake District Fells - ButtermerePart of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 32 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from the Buttermere, Lorton and Newlands valleys, with highlights including Haystacks, High Stile, Grasmoor and the fells of the Coledale Round. Suggestions for longer ridge routes are also included.
More information

Walking the Lake District Fells - Keswick

Walking the Lake District Fells - KeswickPart of the Walking the Lake District Fells series, this guidebook covers a wide range of routes to 30 Lakeland summits that can be climbed from Keswick, Whinlatter, Bassenthwaite, Caldbeck, Mungrisdale and Threlkeld, with highlights including Skiddaw and Blencathra. Includes suggestions for longer ridge routes.
More information

Map and Compass

Map and CompassAn instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.