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
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|
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|
|Steepness and clouds|
|More steepness and clouds|
|A final bit of steepness and clouds|
|Troutbeck Tongue summit|
|Making some adjustments|
|The return down the steepness|
|The lane leading to Troutbeck Park|