The full-on Kentmere Horseshoe

Submitted by Timwoods on 25 July 2011
OS Explorer Maps: OL7 - The English Lakes: SE areaOL5 - The English Lakes: NE area
(6 votes)
A linear, multi-day mountain (above 600m) walk in national park Lake District (England) starting at Staveley, Cumbria, about 31.9km (roughly 19.8 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs.
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How do you turn an overcrowded logjam of a walk into one of fun and solitude? Simple ... leave after everyone else. The Kentmere Horseshoe is a well-worn classic and, to be honest, starting to show wear and tear with heavily managed paths and streams of visitors. But there's a reason they come here; it's one of the best high-level walks in the region. Enjoy it to yourself by extending the route - start at Staveley, which has a train station, rather than Kentmere where you can only drive. This means you will arrive after the crowds have left the main circuit. Camp up high on the ridge and you can then enjoy the early morning sun on the ridge to yourself before the hordes descend. It's a trick that works across the Lakes ...

Start: Staveley, OS Grid: SD468979
End: Windermere, Cumbria, England, OS Grid: SD412987
OS Explorer Maps
OL7 - The English Lakes: SE area (buy with 10% off)
OL5 - The English Lakes: NE area (buy with 10% off)
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 1325m (4349ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 2631m (8634ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 1306m (4285ft)
Max. Elevation: 770m (2526ft)

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Nearby Walks

A full-day low hills and fells (below 600m) walk in Lake District from Windermere Station, England, 18.8km (~11.7m) long.
A multi-day mountain (above 600m) walk in Lake District from Windermere train station, England, 20.6km (~12.8m) long.
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OS Grid: SD468979
Start at Staveley, between Kendal and Windermere. Worth heading for Wilf's cafe for a pre-walk fuel-up.
About 1.4 km (roughly 0.8 miles) from 1 OS Grid: SD472992
Take the road north out of Staveley towards Scroggs Farm. Before you reach it, take the footpath heading off to the right (going uphill).
About 0.7 km (roughly 0.4 miles) from 2 OS Grid: SD477996
This is a short cut to a second road. Keep going north towards Brunt Knott Farm.
About 1.2 km (roughly 0.7 miles) from 3 OS Grid: NY484005
You are then on the open ground around Brunt Knott. It's boggy!
About 1.5 km (roughly 1 miles) from 4 OS Grid: NY482021
Follow the high ground across the land marked 'Sleddale Forest'. A stone wall gives you something to follow.
About 1.4 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 5 OS Grid: NY478034
This is one of the great hidden corners of the Lakes. It's a really peaceful little spot, tucked away where few go.
About 1.5 km (roughly 1 miles) from 6 OS Grid: NY476049
You soon hit the bridleway down to Kentmere. Cross it and head up on to the horseshoe.
About 1.8 km (roughly 1.1 miles) from 7 OS Grid: NY472066
This is well-trodden ground compared to the land around Brunt Knott and Skeggles Water. The Kentmere Horseshoe is one of those 'traffic jam' routes at weekends, but by extending the walk in, you should arrive after the crowds have left for the day.
About 1.3 km (roughly 0.8 miles) from 8 OS Grid: NY465077
The first big hill of the day.
About 1.6 km (roughly 1 miles) from 9 OS Grid: NY459092
Onwards, onwards to Harter Fell.
About 0.9 km (roughly 0.6 miles) from 10 OS Grid: NY450095
On a good night, this is the perfect place for a wild camp. We had a great time. If it's not so pleasant, drop down to Small Water for a bit more shelter.
About 1.1 km (roughly 0.7 miles) from 11 OS Grid: NY442102
By camping up high, you will start day two before the marching ants have made it up.
About 1 km (roughly 0.6 miles) from 12 OS Grid: NY434097
The steepest section of the day - worth taking the lower path that cuts out the summit, for the views down to the reservoir.
About 1.3 km (roughly 0.8 miles) from 13 OS Grid: NY435084
Continue along the ridge to Froswick.
About 0.8 km (roughly 0.5 miles) from 14 OS Grid: NY436076
Over Ill Bell and on to Yoke. You might start meeting some of the day trippers by now...
About 1.8 km (roughly 1.1 miles) from 15 OS Grid: NY436058
Drop down the southern shoulder of Yoke, where the ground begins to flatten out once more.
About 1.5 km (roughly 0.9 miles) from 16 OS Grid: NY434044
Join the Garburn Pass, a bridleway that will lead you back home.
About 1.8 km (roughly 1.1 miles) from 17 OS Grid: NY421031
The path skirts around the edge of Applethwaite Common, overlooking the Troutbeck Valley.
About 2.6 km (roughly 1.6 miles) from 18 OS Grid: NY423005
Little bit of jiggling at the end. Join the road near High Borrans and head west for a short hop.
About 0.5 km (roughly 0.3 miles) from 19 OS Grid: NY420001
Take the path over to Near Orrest...
About 0.4 km (roughly 0.3 miles) from 20 OS Grid: SD416999
...then cross the road and join the path towards Orrest Head.
About 0.6 km (roughly 0.4 miles) from 21 OS Grid: SD414993
Final viewpoint of the day and it's a cracker - over Windermere, with the fells behind. It was this view that inspired Wainwright to come and explore the Lakes, and you can see why.
About 0.6 km (roughly 0.4 miles) from 22 OS Grid: SD412987
Finish up in Windermere. The path finishes directly opposite the train and bus station, making it easy to head onwards into the Lakes or back out home.
2 comments ...join the discussion!
a.kahana  commented on 12 August 2013
Drinking water
Any advice on how to obtain drinking water in the Lake District national park?
Timwoods  commented on 14 August 2013
Drinking water
There are usually lots of springs on the sides of mountains, but after dry spells these can be hard to find. You should also boil or purify anything you drink: On the flip side, few places in the Lakes are far from a village or farm and most people will fill your bottle if you ask nicely.
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