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Red Screes - 2,541ft (774m)

No matter where you are in the Lake District, you’re never far from one of the 214 Wainwrights.

The Red Screes walk starts from Ambleside and follows an old packhorse route up Scandale valley, with a gentle, sweeping decent down the other side. Though very steep in places on the ascent, it was scramble- and scree-free despite the name (huzzah!).

Sheep are a feature of the Lake District - the Herdwick and Swaledale breeds in particular. They often escape the fenced meadows and wander onto the walking paths (sometimes the roads), but usually scamper as soon as you get close. However, one mother and her two lambs (a young ‘tup’ with his horns just peaking through, and a young ewe) weren’t bothered by me at all. The young ewe stood her ground on the path and even posed for a photo (her brother is munching away by the stone wall). Look at that face!

Quoting Wainwright…

Red Screes has more claims to distinction than any other high fell east of the Keswick-Windermere Road:
  1. it has the biggest cairn;

  2. it has the greatest mileage of stone walls;

  3. it has one of the highest sheets of permanent standing water and, in springtime, the highest resident population of tadpoles;

  4. it has the purest mountain form;

  5. it has the reddest scree and the greenest stone;

  6. it has one of the finest views (but not the most extensive nor the most beautiful) and the finest of the High Street range;

  7. it has the easiest way down;

  8. it offers alcoholic beverages at 1,480’;

  9. it gives birth the to the stream with the most beautiful waterfalls

(Some of these statements are expressions of opinion, others, especially 8. are hard facts).

Hard fact my arse! Perhaps he meant to write it requires alcoholic beverages at 1,480’. Mind you, he wrote Book One - The Eastern Fells in 1955 so who knows what was being brewed and distilled up in them there hills 70-odd years ago. Wainwright‘s guides are full of funny little asides (though fewer in his first book), and while I didn’t do a tadpole count, I do share some of his opinions (big cairn, fine views and stone walls as far as the eye can see).

As I started the gentle (phew!) descent I saw half a dozen or so skydivers wafting this way and that in the far distance. One - perhaps one who strayed from the flock? (I’m not sure what the collective noun is for skydivers) - came into full view a little while later (see my gallery pics).

Only one more walking day left and this time next week I’ll be home.

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