Cumbria Scenes – 25.5.12

Troutbeck Park

A change of scene now.
Troutbeck Park is the name given to the upper part of the Troutbeck Valley, one of the frequently overlooked valleys in the southeastern corner of the Lake District. I saw overlooked, but it is one of the most visited areas of the Lakes, because the lower part of the Valley carries the tourist artery of Kirkstone Pass.
Troutbeck Park offers routes into the high fells that steeply surround it, of which Caudale Moor is the most prominent in the present picture, occupying most of the skyline. To the right,beyond the steep dip of Threshthwaite (locally pronounced “Threshet”) Mouth is Thornthwaite Crag, and the Ill Bell Range runs alongside that flank of the Valley, offering the southern commencement of the old Roman road, High Street.
This photo is taken from the Garburn Road – not a road, of course, but a rough, walled lane – which climbs out of Troutbeck to cross over into Kentmere, lying to the east.
The raised ridge in the centre of the valley, surrounded by higher ridges, is The Tongue, Troutbeck Park or, more commonly, Troutbeck Tongue, and it is a delightful afternoon’s walk for anyone with the slightest agility. Leave the car at the Mortal Man Inn car park, on the main Kirkstone road (with the Landlord’s blessing, preferably) and walk a mile down a farm road to reach the base of the Tongue. But from there, follow the prow of the hill upwards, for a fascinatingly easy scramble over rocklets and small rises.
Last time I was here, a nasty barbed-wire fence blocked the way, not easy to scale uphill. If a return is made along the spine of the Tongue, into the vast emptiness of the upper valley, the same fence will be met again. In both cases, the best approach is to fold your anorak into a pad to put on the top strand, and slide across, preserving organs of generation for any future uses to which male and female walkers may choose to pursue.
The upper valley really does look immense and empty, and there is nothing to top you exploring as far into it as you choose. When a return is necessary, this can be along either side of the Tongue, although that to the east, the right side in this picture, is considerably less wet.
A good time will have been had by all, especially if the Mortal Man is open when you get back to the car.


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