5.5 miles 3 hours briskly or as long as you like leisurely.
Ascent 482 Metres.
If you want to climb Wansfell from Ambleside you have a choice: you can take the short, direct route up Wansfell and then descend more slowly, or – if you prefer – you can opt for the longer slower climb and then steep descent? We went for the latter, doing this magnificent circular walk clockwise. The first section is testing, but, on a clear day, you constantly follow the sun with warming rays on your face all day.
From Ambleside, start at the Salutation Hotel. Just to the right hand side of this establishment there’s a road which heads up hill. You can’t miss it as there’s a sign pointing you in the direction of the waterfall.
The road soon meets Stock Ghyll (which is on your left). The sound of forced water helps draw you up the hill.
Soon you’ll find yourself in woodland. Take the first opportunity to leave the road and take a path to the left. This picks it way through the trees. The water is now running fast in the opposite direction.
You can’t miss the Stock ghyll Force Waterfall. At any time of the year it’s impressive. We were there in Spring when the ghyll was full after so much rainfall. The water’s roar was almost deafening.
After taking in the waterfall follow the path back to the road and continue to gain height. After five minutes the path to Troutbeck via Wansfell is clearly marked to the right.
You now begin your ascent of Wansfell.
The path accompanies a beck as you climb steadily.
There’s a footbridge over the beck which gives you a chance to catch your breath and take in the views over Ambleside.
You can’t see the top of Wansfell so don’t be taken in by the false summit in front of you. When you reach this landmark you realise that the true summit is somewhat further.
Even so, it’s not long until you reach the top.
You are rewarded by breathtaking views all round. Looking down past Windermere, on a clear day, you can see the Irish Sea. To the West, you have a wonderful view of the central fells.
We rested here and then followed the path eastwards to descend from the peak. It’s hard to take in how different the terrain is now. The views are wide and expansive as you drop down slowly, a sharp contrast from your ascent.
After about fifteen minutes the path joins Nanny Lane, a stonewalled track that soon descends quite sharply down the Troutbeck village.
If you are after refreshments you now have a choice. Turn left you’ll soon see the Mortal Man Hotel which has a lovely south facing garden in which you can enjoy a pint or a cuppa.
Alternatively turn left and walk down the road through the village until you reach the Old Post Office Tea Rooms. We did not stop there but the ice creams looked lovely.
Just by the Tea Rooms take a path that veers to the right. This is called Robin Lane. You slowly climb and then the path bends to the right as you skirt the base of Wansfell to the right.
The walk is now gentle with the top end of Windermere in view. You pass through farmland and then zigzag through a farm yard at High Skelghyl.
Soon the terrain changes as you reach Jenkin Craig and Skelghyl Wood.
The path now descends, winding through the woods until it reach the end of Old Lake Road in Ambleside itself.
Once we arrived at the road we took a left and followed the road towards the lake. We sat in the conservatory of the YHA ordered drinks and dinner whilst watching the sun go down over lake Windermere.
For walks and further information in this area see;