The Kentmere Horseshoe: Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag, High Street, Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts
Date: Wednesday 23rd March 2022
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 22.1km, Ascent: 1120m
Time: 7Hrs

For our final walk of this trip, we decided to undertake the Kentmere Horseshoe (also known as the Kentmere Round). The Kentmere Horseshoe includes an ascent of eight Wainwrights, Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag, Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell, Kentmere Pike and Shipman Knotts, or nine Wainwrights if High Street is included. Our intention today was to ascend the nine.

From a little pre-walk research, I knew parking in Kentmere was limited. We therefore set off nice and early arriving in Kentmere at 7am. We parked at the Kentmere Institute next to St. Cuthbert's Church where we got the first parking place.


St. Cuthbert's Church, Kentmere:

View from Kentmere:

Once suited and booted, and after paying the suggested £3 donation parking charge, we set off walking uphill towards the start of the Garburn Pass.

Start of by way leading to Troutbeck via Garburn Pass:

The views were great and the weather was fantastic from the outset. At the start of the walk, the temperature was 4C. On getting back to the car seven hours later, the temperature had risen to 19C.

Looking back towards Kentmere:

From Kentmere, we ascended to the top of the Garburn Pass and then turned right onto the wide ridge leading towards Yoke.

Ascent via the Garburn Pass:

The walk out to Yoke was pleasant, a gradual incline on an excellent track.

Track leading to Yoke:

Approximately 90 minutes after setting-off, we reached the summit of Yoke our first Wainwright of the day.

View towards Ill Bell from the summit of Yoke:

From Yoke we progressed along the ridge to the first of my two favourite fells of the day, Ill Bell. Ill Bell is a really nice mountain and is recognised as such as it makes it into the Trail100 list.

Ill Bell summit:

From Ill Bell, we descended steeply down to the col before commencing an easy ascent to the summit of Froswick, our third Wainwright of the day.

View towards Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag and High Street from Ill Bell:

From the summit of Froswick, we got our first good views towards Thorthwaite Crag and the highest point of the walk, High Street.

Froswick summit:

Looking down to Kentmere Reservoir:

Looking back to Ill Bell:

The walk out to Thornthwaite Crag was gentle in gradient with good paths again making for easy walking.

Ascending Thornthwaite Crag:

Looking back along the ridge towards Froswick and Ill Bell:

Our fourth Wainwright summit of the day, Thornthwaite Crag, has a tall well-constructed cairn.

Thornthwaite Crag summit:

From Thornthwaite Crag, as planned, we opted to include an ascent of High Street. I believe High Street is named as such due to an old roman road running across the summit of the hill. According to the OS 1:25000 map, High Street is also known as Racecourse Hill.

Gradual ascent from Thornthwaite Crag out to High Street:

At the summit of High Street we stopped for our first real break of the walk to have a drink, some food, to apply more sunscreen, to take photographs and to soak in the views. The only thing lacking was a nice cold beer which with a little bit more planning would have been bliss.

At the summit of High Street with views towards Helvellyn:

From the summit of High Street, we backtracked a short distance before making our way out to Mardale Ill Bell.

Mardale Ill Bell summit:

Shortly after leaving Mardale Ill Bell I hit the deck with a thud. I am normally very sure-footed and rarely fall; I think the last time I slipped and hit the deck was five years ago. Thankfully no harm done so just a case of get up and crack on.

On looking across to Harter Fell, I was surprised that it isn't a Marilyn as it looked to have a drop of more than 150m. On checking DOBIH, I found that it has a drop of 148.2m i.e. just 1.8m short of being a Marilyn.

Harter Fell from Mardale Ill Bell:

Looking down to Small Water with Haweswater Reservoir beyond:

Harter Fell was the second of my two favourite fells of the day, Ill Bell being the other. I think ascending High Street from Haweswater would be a much more interesting route than including an ascent as part of the Kentmere Horseshoe. I will therefore likely be revisiting High Street in the future via an ascent from Haweswater.

About to commence ascent of Harter Fell:

On reaching the summit of Harter Fell, I could see a twin cairn in the distance which looked about the same height as the single summit cairn. I decided to head out to the twin cairn and back just in case it was higher. On reaching the twin cairn, I could see that it was definitely lower than the single summit cairn.

Harter Fell summit:

NE top of Harter Fell:

Once back to the summit we next made our way out to Kentmere Pike. The summit trig point is on the opposite side of the wall from the track.

Kentmere Pike summit:

With eight Wainwrights ascended we now had just one remaining, Shipman Knotts.

Descent towards Shipman Knotts:

On reaching the cairn on Shipman Knotts, I could see that it was not the summit as the ground on the other side of the wall was higher. On again checking DoBIH, it advised that the summit was 25m east of the wall. We therefore had to climb over the wall and attached fence to reach the summit. A small stile here would save people from having to climb over the wall to reach the summit.

At the cairn on Shipman Knotts (the summit is 25m east of the wall):

The walk out from Shipman Knotts back to Kentmere was just a case of head down and plod on.

View across to Ill Bell and Froswick from Shipman Knotts:

During the final descent to the road, and once on the road, I took some iPhone panoramic pics of the horseshoe.

The Kentmere Round:

The Kentmere Round:

The Kentmere Round:

This was an enjoyable walk taking in nine Wainwrights. Staying six to seven hours drive from the Lakeland fells is not ideal for trying to complete a round of Wainwrights and the current price of fuel is somewhat prohibitive. We saw garages on the M6 charging 199.9 per litre of fuel which I think is taking the piss. I do hope to return in the not too distant future to undertake some more walking in the Lakes. Hopefully the price of fuel will by then have come down.

120/214 Wainwrights complete.