Sunday, 25 January 2015

Troutbeck Tongue

Open Space Web-Map builder Code

Route: Town Head, Ing Lane, Ing Bridge, Hagg Bridge, Hall Hill, The Tongue, Hall Hill, Hagg Bridge, Ing Bridge, Town Head

Date: 25/01/2015
From: Town Head

Parking: Layby at foot of Kirkstone Pass
Start Point: Town Head
Region: Far Eastern Fells

Route length: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Time taken: 01:51
Average speed: 2.5 mph
Ascent: 320m
Descent: 325m

Wainwrights on this walk:
Troutbeck Tongue (364m)

Additional summits: None

Other points of interest: Troutbeck Park

As I alluded to in my previous post about Sallows and Sour Howes, we weren't quite finished with our rain dominated day at Troutbeck. Not to be defeated by the weather we forged on, moving one of the cars to the small hamlet of Town Head with the aim of climbing Troutbeck Tongue, one of the smallest Wainwrights on the list.

The Tongue, as it's actually referred to, is either climbed as part of a circuit of the Ill Bell ridge using Roman Road to access it from the flanks of Froswick or as a simple out and back from Town Head as we were about to embark upon. The easiest approach is from the rear where the rise is shallow and elevation is gained alongside Hagg Gill rather than the fell itself. We weren't in the mood for easy, we were after speed meaning we were to tackle the fell head on.

We parked one of the cars beneath the temporary snow closure sign at the foot of the Kirkstone Pass and made a quick descent through Town Head to Ing Lane which would lead us right to The Tongue.

Ing Lane is a long track that stretches from Town Head to Troutbeck Park. It is essential the driveway for a number of farms including Troutbeck Park which we'll come onto later. It had actually ceased raining as we made our way along the track so I was able to get the camera out again. For what it was worth. The clouds were exceptionally low, even covering the diminutive Troutbeck Tongue.
A tree-lined Ing Lane
Trout Beck at Ing Bridge
Clouds cover any height
It took us around 45 minutes to reach Troutbeck Park, a prominent farm with a key role in shaping the fate of Lakeland's well known residents.

Herdwick Sheep are a common sight across the Lakeland fells, a sight that may have been lost were it not for the actions of Beatrix Potter and Troutbeck Park. Herdwicks are prized for their robust health, their ability to live solely on forage, and their tendency to be territorial and not to stray over the difficult upland terrain of the Lake District. It is considered that up to 99% of all Herdwick sheep are commercially farmed in the central and western Lake District.

When Troutbeck Park Farm came up for sale in 1923, it was under threat of development and Beatrix Potter was keen to keep the farm together as working unit, so she bought it. Three years after she bought it, she decided to run the farm herself, with the aid of a shepherd. They built up a celebrated flock of Herdwick sheep. Even in the 1920′s they were a breed under threat as more and more farmers bred other breeds of sheep with softer fleeces and more productive lambs.

Troutbeck Park sits on the slopes of Troutbeck Tongue's steep southern face, the face we were now climbing. From the footbridge over Hagg Gill, a path threads its way up the fellside as a series of eroded steps. It's of equal steepness nearly all the way to the summit, a tiring but quick route to the top.
The cloudy slopes of Troutbeck Tongue
Hagg Gill
Steepness and clouds
More steepness and clouds
A final bit of steepness and clouds
The rain had returned by the time we reached the top, a small cairn marks the spot. We did venture slightly further along the fell top to investigate something in the mist but it turned out to be a tuft of grass rather than anything significant. Job done for the day, we returned to the valley bottom and made our way back to the car some miles away.
Troutbeck Tongue summit
Making some adjustments
The return down the steepness
Hagg Gill
Hagg Gill
The lane leading to Troutbeck Park
Ing Lane
Combined with Sallows and Sour Howes, Troutbeck Tongue makes for a rewarding day out unless of course the day is similar to the one we had. By all accounts, Sour Howes and The Tongue have fine views that hidden away behind a veil of greyness. Not that it makes much difference, I even made a monumental error with the camera settings meaning they are considerably worse than they could have been. Lucky there were no views to be spoilt by this fact.