Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Wansfell and Wansfell Pike from Ambleside

Ambleside always feels like a very welcoming place. With Loughrigg on the one side and Wansfell on the other it is safely nestled in and feels very cosy. The fells themselves are just as friendly, with easy access from the town and both offer a satisfying walk.

Wansfell has the added bonus of taking in the delightful Stock Ghyll Force waterfall on the way to the path up the fell.

With the number of daylight hours at their shortest in December, it is the ideal time to enjoy these lower fells which are straightforward to get to. We set off up the road towards Stock Ghyll Force just after lunch. The volume of rain which had fallen recently meant the falls were at full flow and as always were a joy to behold.

After the falls, the walk up to Wansfell Pike is an obvious and straightforward march up the path up the grassy slopes of the fell, with frequent stops to enjoy the vista opening up behind us. In particular the low sun cast some lovely light over Ambleside and beyond.

The weather took a brief turn for the worse when we reached the summit of Wansfell Pike, and we encountered a group huddled behind the wall hastily putting on their waterproofs. We had set off fully kitted out in winter gear so no need to stop as we headed alongside the wall that goes from Wansfell Pike to the fell summit of Wansfell.

This is a beautiful walk that feels very remote despite being a stone's throw away from Ambleside. The fell top was very quiet, the only people we passed were some hunt beaters, who it must be said did not look best pleased to see us! Oh well we were on a public footpath and enjoying the walk so we carried on the undulating path that took us to the summit cairn.

As per usual, as soon as the summit was in sight, the winds picked up and apart from a brief interval to snap a couple of pictures, we didn't hang around.

There wasn't a great deal of daylight left but we decided to vary the walk a little, taking a return route via the Troutbeck side of the fell before coming round back to Ambleside via The Hundreds, along Nanny Lane before passing through Skellghyll Wood.

The sunset provided some fantastic scenes across Windermere, which my camera sadly didn;t capture too well but this was a magical moment. It was getting quite dark by the time we reached the woods but not so dark that we needed to break out the headtorches.

Before we knew it we were back at our cosy bed and breakfast in Ambleside, happy with the gratifying walk we had just completed.

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