All the Fells: Kentmere Pike


Kentmere Pike – The Far Eastern Fells 2,397′ (27)

Date: 1 May 1985/16 August 1997

From: Shipman Knotts/Shipman Knotts

When first I started going walking on my own, unhindered by my family’s preferences and idiosyncrasies, I was eager to take in all the places I’d never been before. The quarter of the Lake District that I knew the least was the south-east, Kentmere and Longsleddale in particular, and once I was under my own guidance, I was eager to visit these unknown valleys as soon as possible. Longsleddale became a particular pleasure, the long slim valley opening up to only one viewpoint on the Shap Road, coming out of Kendal, the narrow, pastoral sides. Kentmere was less attractive, but I made it my base for the ascent of its eastern fells. I headed up out of the valley, rising up the un-named pass into Longsleddale that’s a continuation of Garburn Pass in the west. Once on the ridge, I followed the wall, over first Shipman Knotts, then towards the grassy heft of Kentmere Pike, with its long, flat top and its summit cairn on the opposite side of an unscalable drystone wall from me and the path. Further up the ridge, its back to me, was the Mardale Harter Fell, some distance but at no great gradient or difficulty. I was eager to carry on, but I was also young and unpracticed, and I hadn’t set off all that early, and between uncertainties about time and stamina, I reversed my course. Before reaching Shipman Knotts again, I tentatively slipped over the fence and walked gingerly out to the top of Goat Scar, for its superb view of Longsleddale below. I was not to return for over a decade, the Wainwright Round completed. I wanted to see that ridge again, I wanted to go back. I intended the complete Kentmere Horseshoe. I was at my peak, in my early forties, experienced, confident and only just past my absolute peak of stamina, but in an ironic demonstration that I had been right to be cautious so long ago, the trudge uphill to Harter was longer and more draining that I anticipated, and my Horseshoe would only have the one arm.

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