Red Screes is another fell, like Latrigg, where you can drive half way up, making the walk a lot shorter if you don't fancy taking on the full height of 776 metres on foot! Situated between Patterdale and Ambleside, the full ridge of this mountain runs for almost 7km, narrowing at either end to give the Red Screes the appearance of an upside down boat!
There's a lot going for this particular fell: apart from a starting point half-way up, there is a free car park and a pub at the start/finish of this circular route, so you can refresh yourself after a good walk.
Please be aware: although we describe this route as ‘easy’, you will still need to be properly prepared for the high fells – Red Screes is 776m high. Proper boots, warm & waterproof clothing, food, a torch (just in case) and a map and compass (or other properly reliable navigation aid) are a must. This guide is intended as a summary only and you should make sure you check your route fully before setting out.
The start point for this walk is the car park at the top of the Kirkstone Pass, right opposite the inn of the same name. There’s lots of ‘kirks’ in the place names around this area thanks to a stone close to the top of the pass that looks like a church steeple - 'kirk' meaning 'church'.
The summit of Red Screes is 776m high and the car park is at 454m, leaving just 322m of ascent - a doddle! Though the way up is pretty steep, the good news is that it’s mainly steps with just a bit of rocky ground towards the top, making the route really easy to follow. Find the finger post at the far end of the car park and you'll be on your way.
People often ask what the best time of year is for fell walking. We all have our favourite seasons, but for Red Screes anytime between mid-October and March is ideal because it’s the perfect place to spot a cloud inversion. From late autumn to early spring there are specific weather conditions that lead to cloud (or fog) down in the valleys and crisp clear skies on the fell tops. It’s an absolutely breathtaking thing to experience and certainly well worth a bit of a hike!
It’s hard to predict precisely, but you’ll be wanting a forecast for crisp, still, clear, weather the day before. If you wake up the next morning in the valley to a light looking mist which, when you look up, seems a bit thin, then you might just be in luck, so hop in the car and whiz up Kirkstone Pass to see what you can see. (Or take a look on Twitter as someone will inevitably have camped overnight and be tweeting photos of an amazing sun rise over the inversion!).
Unless you’re in the mood for a long old yomp, the best way back down Red Screes is to return the way you came. There is a rather lovely circular walk dropping down to Scandale Pass then following Caiston Glen before heading back up to the car park on the footpath alongside the road. It is lovely in so many ways, but just remember that the final mile or so will be all uphill – although it does pass the actual ‘kirk’ stone. On the bright side, there’ll be a pub waiting for you when you get there!
We have lots of walking guides, so that you can find your perfect route. In particular, you might like: