Strenuous Leader : Malcolm Distance : 9.00 miles
We leave the northern end of Ambleside and climb Wansfell Pike, this is the only sustained steep climb on this walk at 482m. The views from the top are spectacular on a clear day over Loughrigg to the Old Man of Coniston and the entire length of Windermere. From here we will head NW across The Hundreds and drop down into Troutbeck for a potential ice cream stop. After which we take Robin Lane to High Skelghyll back to Ambleside through Skelghyll Wood.
Leisurely Leader: Pamela Distance : 7.00 miles
We have a short walk on the main road before we branch off and follow a good track to Rydal Hall where there are a tea room and toilets, and depending on the size of the party we may be able to have a quick stop. From the Hall we take the Coffin Trail from where there are lovely views of Rydal Water to the left. We amble on, and drop down and cross the River Rothay and have a brief glimpse of Grasmere before a short climb up to the first part of Loughrigg Terrace where the path passes Rydal Caves. We then walk downhill and then follow the road which runs along the river back to Ambleside. Plenty of ups and downs but no long hills to climb.
Easy Leader : Cynthia and David Distance 5.00 miles
Our walk takes us through the park at Ambleside and along a lane towards Rydal. The lane goes up and down but not steeply so it is good for an easy walk. We walk back past a waterfall and along well maintained paths to reach the main road which takes us back to the town of Ambleside. There are no stiles and definitely no mud. Good views and good paths throughout. There is a bus stop half way around that will take you back into Ambleside if anyone is struggling.
NOTES ON THE AREA
Once a mill town whose becks and rivers provided power for waterwheels, Ambleside long ago made its peace with visitors and started to provide for their needs. There are book shops, outdoor pursuit shops and gift shops too numerous to mention, whilst the streets throng with people spilling off the pavements, and cars gyrating in a gigantic roundabout. But in spite of all this, Ambleside still retains its charm. The architecture is principally that of a Victorian town, whilst up the hill leading to the Kirkstone Pass some houses date from the 15th Century.
The earliest sign of man, however, is much earlier as the Romans built their fort, Galava, on the shores of Windermere. There are no impressive columns or walls still standing, only a few stones poking through the grass, but nevertheless they are a reminder that Ambleside has been inhabited for over a thousand years.
In the centre of Ambleside the quaint little Bridge House built over the River Rothay looks like something out of a fairy tale, and dates from the 17th Century. It was probably a summer house for Ambleside Hall, though in 1843 Chairy Rigg lived here with his wife and six children. With one room up and one room down, how they all fitted in is a mystery. An attractive subject for any artist who can brave the inquisitive passers by, and it was painted by JMW Turner on one of his northern tours. In 1926 it was bought by the National Trust and in 1956 became its very first information and recruiting centre in the country.
Stockghyll Force, a popular beauty spot from Victorian times, still has the remains of the railed viewpoints where Victorian ladies stood to admire the scene. It is well worth visiting after heavy rain. Beside the stream, one of the old mills has been converted to holiday flats.
In the Ice Age, the undulating top of Loughrigg Fell was scraped clean by glaciers, leaving a landscape of bare rocky outcrops and boggy hollows, now occupied by tarns and pools. Though little over a thousand feet in height, and barely a square mile in extent, there is more scenery packed into Loughrigg Fell than practically anywhere else in Lakeland.