Wansfell Pike is a fell to come back to. Maybe you climbed it as a child but, as you grew, the smaller fells lost their appeal and were looked down on, literally and metaphorically. Perhaps you later had children of your own, and it was you doing the cajoling and the bribing with Smarties. When they, too, lose interest in the lower heights, there’s no reason to return, is there? Unless you develop an inexplicable love of fell-running in middle age, in which case the lower fells are prized once more as manageable outings for a doddery afternoon.
Whatever your personal history, Wansfell is splendidly positioned overlooking Ambleside and Troutbeck with fantastic views down the length of Windermere and across the Brathay basin. In that respect, it is the epitome of "location, location, location."
metres / Distance
NY4133702818 From the church, pick up the slanting bridleway crossing the beck and heading westwards up the slope. When you reach the lane, head left.
NY4074702622 At the Old Post Office café, take another slanting bridleway (Robin Lane) up past lovely trees. Depending on how tall you are, glimpses of the view south will start to appear. Unless the weather is poor, you camera will be busy here.
NY3976302413 Ignore the track going left and head up the drove road. The name (Hundreds Road) is a reference to how many photographs you're likely to take.
NY3990503442 At a charming cascade, head up the fell (marked as permissive footpath). In autumn, this pasture is richly embellished with Scarlet Waxcaps. For reasons both altruistic and self-preservative, these are best left for future walkers to enjoy.
NY4013004026 Turn left at a more substantial track leading up to the summit of Wansfell Pike.
NY3939804172 To earn yourself the full Wainwright "tick", head north-east to the slightly-higher summit of Baystones. It's not a patch on Wansfell summit, though.
NY4032005144 Head south to pick up a drove road: Nanny Lane. The first section can be extremely squelchsome but it soon develops into a fine, gravelly track.
NY4100503389 Cross the lane and pick up a bridleway heading back down to the church,
I rather love crossing over it from Tirril after setting off before light around midsummer down the Roman Road on the High Street range from Winder Hall above Tirril. Bus back from Ambleside to Penrith (then to Ullswater) via Keswick.
Wow, sounds like a really good midsummer's march, wercat. There's a route of mine, awaiting moderation, starting from the northern end of the Roman road. I love that there are signs in Roman numerals up there - I wonder if the distances are in Roman miles.