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A wonderful viewpoint to look down at England's longest lake
This pleasing walk, starting from Ambleside, takes you through woodland to Jenkyn’s Crag, a wonderful viewpoint looking down on Windermere. It continues over the delightful countryside to Robin Lane and then returns via Skelghyll Lane and through Skelghyll wood.
Park in the car park beside the Climbing Wall Centre opposite Old Lake Road, grid ref 377039.
1 From the car park cross the A591, with care, to take Old Lake Road, leading off the main road. Climb the quiet way, passing attractive houses and cottages and then where the road branches, descend right past a delightful cottage on the right and then pass acar park. Where the road continues, to drop down to join the A591, go on ahead on a signposted narrower lane. At the Y-junction take the left branch and then at the next junction bear right signed for Skeghyll Wood and Jenkyn’s Crag. Stroll the good track, with woodland to your left and open pastures to your right. Pause to enjoy the dramatic view of Windermere and its tiny boats well anchored.
2 At the entrance to woodland you have a choice of two routes. Going off right is an inviting narrow path. This continues, often indistinct, crossing narrow streams, fast after heavy rain. It weaves beneath the trees, round fallen trunks, and for most of the way over a deep layer of leaves. After a quarter of a mile the faint path ends and to your left through the trees rears a huge crag. A narrow way, not a stream bed, climbs steeply towards it (walking poles help here). From the right side of the crag you can see another beyond it – Jenkyn’s Crag. Continue along the left side of Jenkyn’s Crag and pick your way right to ascend a narrow path to the craggy top and enjoy the superb view.
3 If this rather venturesome part of the walk is not for you, at point no 2 go ahead on the bridleway. It is good at first and then it swings steeply left and becomes very wet. Step left into the trees to climb the way others have climbed. Follow the track as it winds high around Stencher Beck and continue on the high-level path with woodland rising steeply to the left and the slopes down to the beck, dropping almost sheer. Watch out for the well-signed gap in the wall on the right and walk a few steps ahead to the Crag. By whichever way you reach it, go, or return, through the gap in the wall and turn right to carry on bridleway.
4 Climb the roughish way, leave the trees behind and continue on a fenced track, stony and steepish, from where there are more fine views of the rolling hills. Go through the gate to High Skeghyll and wind through the farmyard to take the next gate and then descend the access track. At the foot of the slope, take the gate at the side to bypass the cattle grid and, beyond, pause on the bridge above Hol Beck. Beyond, take the first gate on the left, well signed, and then the next gate and begin your climb up a water-eroded track. Ford a tributary of Hol Beck and soon wind right on the immensely improved grassy track as it curves, right, round a hillock and then heads on up to go through two gates on to walled Robin Lane. Walk ahead for a short way. Look for stone steps in the wall on the left to make a short grassy climb to a monument on a low hill.
5 Return to the track, cross and take a pleasing walled grassy track. Leave it (alas) in a few steps by a waymarked stile on the left. Descend the long narrow stiled path. Go past St Martin’s Wood and continue to Holbeck Lane, where you walk right. Ignore the track off left and continue a short way to turn right up tarmacked Skelghyll Lane. Go by more woodland and where the lane descends you can see Windermere again and also a fine view of the Langdale Pikes. At some farm buildings bear right with the lane and climb to pass a large white house. Go on the reinforced way, as it passes through meadows.
6 Follow the track as it comes closer to Hol Beck and brings you to the footbridge crossed earlier. Climb the access track to High Skelghyll and then go on along the bridleway through the woodland, moving into the pines when it descends steeply. Once out of the trees, bear left twice to join Old Lake Road and walk right to return to the car park or to explore Ambleside.
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time 3-4 hours
Terrain: Some good tracks and lanes. Avoid slipping where some paths are muddy after rain.
Map: OS Explorer OL 7
NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.