This delightful walk starts in the equally delightful and quaint village of Kentmere only a short drive away from our B&B in Windermere. The walk is quite a challenging twelve miles in length and should take you between five and eight hours depending on your walking ability so do plan your walk well in advance. There are some steep climbs but with steep climbs comes stunning views of breathtaking fells making this walk one of the best in the lakes.
With many spectacular views on offer we recommend doing this walk on a clear day to really get the best of it. Obviously you can never predict the weather but if you’re staying at our Windermere Guest House for several days, hopefully you can plan this walk on the best forecasted day. Get yourself well breakfasted for this one as you’ll be out most of the day, and at our Windermere Guest House we will make sure you don’t leave the door without a proper breakfast in your stomachs!
Be well prepared, the weather can change quickly so make sure you pack for all eventualities with plenty of food and warm clothing. Kentmere is just a few minutes walk and the best spot for parking is by the church which is towards the north of the small village. Once parked up the signpost you are looking for is Crabtree Brow which shouldn’t be too hard to find on the western edge of the village.
You are immediately on the ascent towards Garburn Pass and the views are sublime even from this early stage so do take them in. From here you are heading towards Garburn Nook where you will begin the ascent to Yoke Fell, the first of several on this walk that you will be taking on.
It might be a good idea to take a break for a snack and some coffee or tea that you’ve packed to give yourself a much needed energy boost to the breakfast you had at our Windermere Guest House. Before getting to Yoke Fell, you’ll reach the top of Ill Bell, a magnificent conical topped mountain and a good spot for your brew and biscuit with stunning views to enjoy and a beautiful side to itself. Stunning peaks in sight include Bowfell and Scafell and a remarkable view over Windermere; take a moment to see if you can spot the Windermere Guest House from where you have set out from!
From Ill Bell you’re heading to Frostwick which is almost identical in shape but quite a bit smaller so the climb here is not as strenuous. From Frostwick you come to the sweeping ridge of High Street, which, as its name implies was remarkably once a Roman Road and even a racecourse. In the 18th and 19th centuries Lakelanders used to head up onto the heights to race horses as part of their summer fairs – quite a remarkable idea!
From High Street you’re heading to Mardale Ill Bell and from there to Harter Fell affords some spectacular views over Blea Water as well as Haweswater Reservoir beyond. Beautiful fields of green grass cover the expanse of your walk to Kentmere Pike, particularly so if you’re walking in late spring or summer. Kentmere Pike is quite plain in itself but once again the views across to Windermere and Morecambe Bay are stunning and if you can find some shade it is a brilliant spot to stop for some lunch and relax before heading on.
Southwards now on a comfortable descent to Shipman Knotts, the last fell you’ll be taking on on this walk. With relatively easy terrain to deal with during this section of the walk, you can really build up some pace and enjoy stretching your legs. Shipman Knotts is a collection of interesting rock outcrops which can be explored at length before heading onwards on your descent back to Kentmere village.
Continue south to Wray Crag and further south to the high pass between Kentmere and Longsleddale. Turn west from here to Stile End with stunning views of Kentmere village, your final destination before heading back to the Windermere Guest House. Join High Lane onto Hallows Bank before turning south onto the Low Lane track over a stepped wall and head across a small field to a footbridge straddling the River Kent and head on back into the village.