Outline of Route
Troutbeck - Yoke - Ill Bell - Froswick - Thornthwaite Crag - Caudale Moor - Troutbeck (Grid ref. NY 412027)
Total Distance 11.7 miles, Total Ascent 3700 feet, Equivalent Distance 19.1 miles
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Details of Route
Parking in or around Troutbeck village is not difficult if you're sensible about when you go - and it's free. This description assumes a starting point at the small parking area overlooking the Trout Beck by Church Bridge. Cross over the pedestrian walkway by the road bridge and turn right along by the road. After about fifty yards take the steep track on the left signposted to Garburn. It zigzags behind The Howe and continues uphill (photo), north-east, crossing a path headed down to Limefitt Caravan Park. Further up the fellside it passes a small plantation on the right, and then another road comes in from the right from Dubbs reservoir. The track continues, between two walls, eventually giving access to the fellside by a gate. Continue along the track for about fifty yards till it turns sharp right, at which point keep going straight ahead and try to follow the cairned path over sometimes boggy terrain. If in doubt bear right until you reach a wall - the path meets it anyway, further up - and follow it towards the summit of Yoke, continuing in the same direction when the wall ends. The view to the west - of Wansfell, then the Coniston and Langdale fells and Scafell - gradually opens up as height is gained, but the best of the view is directly behind you - Windermere.
Ahead lie two of the prettiest peaks in Lakeland, Ill Bell and Froswick (photo from Mardale Ill Bell), both bell-shaped and looking like older and younger siblings. The going is easy along this ridge contrasting with the precipices on the right falling down into Kentmere (photo). The western panorama is fine (photo), and ahead is the prominent landmark of Thornthwaite Beacon (photo). The views to the north (photo) and northwest (photo) from Thornthwaite are excellent. Here is a complete panorama seen from the top of the summit wall (photo). Head north-west from the beacon, and then westwards where you find the very steep, rocky descent into Threshthwaite Mouth (photo of Troutbeck) - it is best to avoid this route in snow - and climb the similarly steep, rocky ascent up the other side onto Caudale Moor.
Find the north-south wall that runs across this vast felltop and follow it, on the left-hand side, southwards, down the ridge - there is a path of sorts (photo). Clamber over the wall you meet at the bottom, there is an intentional way over it, and continue down to the beck. The ground underfoot gets rough here and if the bracken is high it is almost impenetrable: what's more, you cannot see where you are putting your feet - this is definitely a walk for spring or early summer. Keep to the left of the beck and pick your way down the slope where you can, past the waterfalls, until the beck joins Trout Beck flowing down from Threshwaite Mouth. A path follows Trout Beck on its western side but the ground becomes very boggy and the recommended route is to the east of Troutbeck Tongue, so cross Trout Beck when you reach it. Head south-east up the slope and find a way over the wall, or through it at a sheepfold. Be careful at the sheepfold: I found an extremely angry tup in there one day. You can now join the well marked path going south - the old Roman road - with Troutbeck Tongue on your right and Hagg Gill on your left (photo). Part way along, a signpost indicates a bridleway to the left which crosses Hagg Beck. This route is best ignored unless one enjoys being ankle-deep in cattle slurry, braving the cattle - none of them cows when I was last there - and caravan parks. When the track forks right to Troutbeck Park farm head straight across the field to Hagg Bridge, on to Ing Bridge (photo) and Ing Lane. There is no need to go into Town End: the path by-passes it to the east. You can avoid walking down the main road by crossing straight over when you reach it, and following the minor road for about 100 yards before turning left along a footpath to the church, and back to the car park.
Rev. 18 July 2012