Walk date – 18th March 2022
Distance – 7 miles
Weather – dry, warm, sunny, light southerly breeze
We had a delayed start to today’s walk because we had to wait for a package delivery from Royal Mail. This eventually arrived after ten o’clock along with a letter from the local council regarding the Council Tax payment for the coming year, which probably explains why the post was late as the postie would likely have had one of those letters for every house in the village. Wonder if all the other recipients had the same sentiments as us – kinnell! (the shortened form of a well known two word phrase). We had the same response when the electricity bill more than doubled in January. As usual I’ve strayed from the point so, back to our walk. The delay meant that we didn’t arrive at the A592 lay-by until 11.15 am. Every car parking area we passed on the way was either full or filling up rapidly so we were wondering if any of the limited spaces along the road would be available. Fortunately nobody seemed interested in Troutbeck today and so finding somewhere to park wasn’t a problem.
Town Head, Troutbeck – Ing Lane – Ing Bridge – Troutbeck Park – Hagg Bridge – Footpath above Hagg Gill – Troutbeck Tongue – Troutbeck Park – Hagg Bridge – Ing Bridge – Ing Lane – Town Head, Troutbeck
The view from the lay-by as we prepared to set off. Troutbeck Tongue is the little hump in the valley over on the left with Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke forming the backdrop.
A five minute walk down the road brought us to our turning off point at Town Head, the northern end of Troutbeck village. We were glad to reach it as the traffic in both directions was constant. Its a beautiful sunny morning and we are looking forward to a relaxing walk along the peaceful Troutbeck valley.
We hadn’t gone very far when we had to stop and take our jackets off. The sun was beating down on our backs and the combination of jacket plus back pack soon had us over-heating. We had left home with frost on the ground but there wasn’t a trace of it anywhere by the time we arrived. Feeling more comfortable once the jackets were off we carried on along Ing Lane with a constant view of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke over on our right.
A couple of cyclists heading in the direction of Troutbeck gave us a cheery greeting as we walked towards Ing Bridge. Were they just setting out or just finishing their morning ride through the valley we wondered?
The crystal clear waters of Trout Beck as we walked over Ing Bridge and spotted a couple out walking their dog just ahead of us. They didn’t seem to be in a hurry and we soon passed by them exchanging greetings and commenting on the glorious weather as we went by.
Troutbeck Park farm comes into view as we reach the stile with no fence and prepare to cross the field heading for …..
….. Troutbeck Tongue and our intended footpath which is located between it and Hagg Gill. Crossing the field was a muddy plod, sheep’s hooves had churned up the ground quite a bit and gaining a non-slip foothold up the slight rise was a little trying. It was amusing to see the slip/slide marks made by the sheep in the mud, so even they had a few problems with it and they’re supposed to be sure-footed.
As soon as we reached the footpath above Hagg Gill we had to de-layer once again. Now we were both down to bare arms level and wishing that we weren’t wearing our winter weight trousers. Its just that time of year again, get it wrong and you’re either boiling hot or shivering. There’s a light breeze to our backs so that helps a little.
We pass the little footbridge across Hagg Gill and just behind me at this point is the footpath which leads steeply up to the top of the Tongue. We bypassed that path and continued on our way …..
….. through the valley. We began to hear some familiar sounds on the opposite side, men’s voices shouting and hollering although try as we might we couldn’t spot anyone at all.
The calls and shouts continued as we reached our intended turn off point and began the steady climb up to the northern end of the Tongue. It looked quite dry but it wasn’t and there was plenty of splashing around on the way up.
Having gained the top of the path it was nice to have the breeze back as the day had become very warm by this time. Before we carried on I took a look further along the valley towards Stony Cove Pike, Thresthwaite Mouth and Thornthwaite Crag. The sun gave the grassland a golden glow, barely a cloud in the sky and the merest hint of green just beginning to appear. One season is about to end and the next one is waiting in the wings with one week to go before BST begins on 27 March and the hours of daylight increase.
Behind the wall, over on the right, the reason for all the shouting and hollering became clear, although having heard it before we had an idea what it was all about. The sheep were being brought off the fellsides, for lambing most likely, before being taken down to lower fields where they can be managed more easily during the lambing season. Last time we were over there in July 2020 when we walked up Scot Rake they were being brought down for shearing. Wonder if its the same set of chaps?
The hubbub died down so we thought that maybe the flock were being held together while the herders took a break and had something to eat. A check of watches confirmed that it was almost one o’clock so perhaps we should take a break and partake of a little light refreshment ourselves. Having continued on across the Tongue in search of a suitable place to stop we came to this gated fence. This wasn’t here the last time we walked across here in 2019.
Red Screes comes into view as we search for somewhere to take a break,
There are plenty of outcrops to choose from along the Tongue and before long we find a suitable perch and have a short break. The sun beating down, nobody around and total peace and quiet, we couldn’t have ordered a nicer day.
The surrounding views are not to be sniffed at either. A look across Trout Beck towards Woundale with Caudale Head on the skyline …..
….. a little further to my left to where Red Screes is peeping up above St Raven’s Edge.
After our stop we continued on across the Tongue to the cairn. Windermere sparkles in the distance with Wansfell Pike over on the right. A solo walker arrived at the cairn just before we reached it, promptly sat down right beside it and reached into his pack.
He was obviously taking a well earned lunch break and enjoying the view after the steep climb up the nose. Sallows is over on the left but distant views are very hazy thanks to the very bright light.
From the cairn the view along the valley towards Windermere. The breeze was stronger up here and our light weight mid layers are back on. Its likely that it would be even stronger on the higher fells.
Wansfell Pike and Baystones, the two high points on Wansfell, from the cairn …..
….. and a view of the cairn with Thornthwaite Crag, Froswick and Ill Bell forming the backdrop.
We left the solo walker to his lunch and dropped further down from where there is an uninterrupted view along the Troutbeck valley. Troutbeck Park farm is in the bottom right hand corner.
Dropping down even further where we find the other end of the gated fence we passed through a few photos back. In previous walks over the Tongue we have photos of sheep grazing up here but we’ve seen none today so this fence seems to have been installed principally to keep them out.. At least they’ve provided gates for us walkers. J’s jacket, tied around his middle, flapping in the breeze as we descend.
The path is very steep, and it didn’t help that it too was very muddy and slippery in places. The footpath we used on the outward leg, and the one we are now aiming for, can be seen in the bottom left of the shot just beyond the wall down there.
The steepness doesn’t let up even when the end of the descent is almost reached. Between this point and the path beside the wall was a quagmire. It was just about possible to get down, without going ankle or even knee deep in water and muddy goo, using the grassy ledges in the foreground, but only just. Walking back to the car wet through and covered in mud was to be avoided at all costs, despite the sunny weather.
Dry, mud free and safely down to the footpath and the field crossing by the farm. The long ago fallen tree has finally been sawn into manageable pieces and sorted into different piles. Will this be kindling and firewood for the farm next winter or will the LDNPA have other uses for it?
Crossing Hagg Bridge where the waters of Hagg Beck join those of Trout Beck and continue as one down into Windermere. It looked very pretty in the early afternoon sun.
Catkins on Silver Birch branches as we carry on along Ing Lane towards Town Head, another sign that spring is on its way. They kept swaying in the breeze so I thought the shot might turn out to be a bit fuzzy but it didn’t look too bad after all.
We’re almost back at Town Head so I took a final look back over Troutbeck Park before we turned up into the little hamlet …..
….. where we walk up the hill and back to the A592. Once there I waited by the bus stop with the packs and jackets while J walked back up the road to get the car. I was sitting enjoying the sunshine when a Japanese lady came up the road towards me. She and her three companions had appeared down the hill from the back road into Troutbeck village where the Mortal Man pub is and then spent a couple of minutes at the junction of that road and the A592. I could hear them talking from where I was sitting but they were about 100 yards away in the shadow of the trees so I had no idea of who they were or what they were saying. That only became clear when she approached me to ask in very mangled English if I was waiting for a bus. I will readily admit that her mangled English was very much better than any attempt I could make in asking someone the same question in Japanese, mangled or otherwise. I wouldn’t even know how to begin. Anyway having told her that I wasn’t waiting for a bus she then asked me something else. This time I couldn’t make out what she was asking so she produced her mobile phone, brought up a map and pointed to where they wanted to go, the Brockhole Centre. She pointed hopefully up the A592 in the Kirkstone Inn direction so I said no and pointed in the opposite direction down the A592 towards Windermere. That would get them to Troutbeck Bridge where I hoped they would manage to find someone to direct them to Brockhole from there. I have no idea where their starting out point was but they had a longish walk ahead of them down to Brockhole, and having pointed them in the right direction I could only hope that they reached their destination. A couple of minutes later J picked me up and I told him all about it. Had we been going in that direction we would have given them a lift but as we weren’t all we could do was turn our car around and go home. The drive back through Patterdale and along Ullswater was busy, unusual for a Friday and well before the schools turned out, and many drivers seemed to displaying what might be described as spatial awareness difficulties. Yes, the road is narrow but quite a number of drivers in the oncoming lane had their offside wheels well over the white lines and made no attempt to correct their position as we approached them. On these occasions we had no choice but to hug our side of the road as closely as possible to avoid a collision. This is something we’ve noticed only occasionally recently but today it felt as though it was on the increase. Let’s hope its not a definite trend.