Troutbeck to Ambleside
Although it was wonderful to be out in the snow again, unfortunately the ‘mist’ filter was sat firmly across Cumbria. The cloud base was around about oak tree height so a broad well marked path was the best option – hence the Drove Road. Cicerone suggests starting in Troutbeck, walking the Drove Road and then finishing off over Wansfell. We began in Ambleside and did the hike up Wansfell first. Just as in my December post, it was a white out, but this time from the sky as well as on the ground. Living local and being able to walk the area frequently gave a sense of privilege when we met a group of walkers from Ireland, just over for the weekend, we did tell them that the views were actually quite magnificent. We were so popular.
With grips for boots the steep ascent of Wansfell was far less treacherous and the icy steps were not too much of an obstacle. The ice covering on walls and grasses became more pronounced and on the summit even the barbed wire was attractively adorned with crystals.
It was not the day to linger and picnic so when our Irish companions asked us if it was far to the ‘Mortal Man’ this became an instantly attractive idea, compared with sitting in the snow. The trail down was clear to follow and several groups were on their way up from Troutbeck in the opposite direction. The snow was really just a covering so even in the mist we had no problems picking our way down to Nanny Lane, an old walled lane which guides the way to Troutbeck.
Once in the village we detoured left for sustenance in the cosy warmth of the Mortal Man. Dogs are welcome and the guest pack ranged from my terrier to Labradors and Lurchers. The commonality of dogs and walking led to lively conversation and a somewhat extended lunch.
Troutbeck is perched on the edge of a valley but the mist filter prevailed and we had to be content with the village architecture and grey stone walls before we turned right into Robin Lane and the Drove Road. The thin layer of snow and icy covering dominated our thoughts once again as we carefully placed our feet. With the lack of grass the Herdwicks were clustered round feeding points along the way, the road still being used as access for the farm at Skelghyll.
As for the return to Ambleside, the map and guide books report the presence of Wansfell hovering above to the right and Windermere Lake languishing in the valley below. I think someone had pressed the delete button.
The Drove Road from Sadgill to Ambleside can be conveniently covered in three parts and the section from Troutbeck to Ambleside takes in Wansfell as the return or start of the route. Details Walk 49: Cicerone South Lakes.
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