Map: O S Outdoor Leisure 7 The English Lakes - South East Area
Start: Troutbeck (we started from the Queen's Head, where we staying after the walk - but it could be started from anywhere in the village (very limited parking) - or alternatively from Ambleside or the Kirkstone Inn
The walk is ideal for poor weather - we started in the sunshine - but the forecast was poor and clouds were already clustering around the central fells. It was also extremely windy. Our original plan was to walk from Kirkstone to Caudale Moor, down to Threshthwaite Mouth, then back down the Troutbeck Valley. However, as we didn't feel like being blown from a precipice, or negotiating an unknown ridge in the mist - we decided on this route.
Some of the route is along roads - most of it is on well-defined bridle paths or tracks.
From the hotel, where we had a coffee before we started, follow the road north. After about 500 yards take the signed bridle path on the right. This follows the road - but is much more pleasant than walking along the tarmac. Unfortunately it only runs for about two thirds of the distance to the Kirkstone Inn - so eventually re-join the road, turning right. We paused for a snack, sitting on boulders, admiring the view, just before re-joining the road.
We called at the Inn for refreshment, then turned to follow the very steep road to Ambleside. At the foot of the steepest stretch of road (approx 500 yards), there is a footpath on the left. Follow this for about 1.5 miles, when it becomes a single track road. This can be followed all the way to Ambleside, but we took the slight diversion to view Stock Ghyll Force.
Turn left down Ambleside's main street (or search out food and drink from one of the many pubs or restaurants. We bitterly regretted slumping down on a sofa at the Piano Cafe - not because the coffee left anything to be desired - but it was a real effort to set off walking again!
Follow the main street until you come to a small car park on the left. Walk through the car park and turn right into a lane running parallel with the main road. Shortly before this rejoins the main road, turn left along a track signposted for Skelghyll Wood. Follow the track up through the wood, and out to High Skelghyll Farm. Just before entering another small wood, take the path on the left through double stiles. Sorry - just when you thought it was going to be downhill all the way back - you have to go up again!
The path soon levels out, and joins a track the left. Turn right and follow this Robin Lane down to Troutbeck, joining the road near the Post Office. It is still over half a mile back to the Queen's Head - you may not have as far to walk if you have left your car in the village!
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