The Kentmere Horseshoe
A substantial but rewarding 12-mile walk with breathtaking views, which begins from Pout Howe’s front door.
Outline of route: Shipman Knotts – Kentmere Pike – Harter Fell – Mardale Ill Bell – Thronthwaite Crag – Froswick – Ill Bell – Yoke
Total distance: 12 miles
Total ascent: 3,700 feet
Equivalent distance: 19.6 miles.
To walk the Kentmere Horseshoe from the cottage, leave the garden by the pedestrian gate above the house and climb straight up the field to the road. Turn right, through a gate and between the houses. Take a track on the right, after 20 metres, that passes a row of cottages and then goes through a gate onto the fell. The path from here then goes diagonally up the fell (it is often boggy and sometimes indistinct, if in doubt stay high) to a rocky knoll called Withered Howe. From here the path continues to a high wall with a stile and then onto the ridge leading to Kentmere Pike. Follow the fence, and then the wall to Harter Fell. Now head west, down the ridge to Nan Bield pass and up the other side to Mardale Ill Bell. From here the direct route to Thornthwaite Crag becomes clear, around the head of the valley. There are excellent views of the whole valley including the reservoir from this point.
Do not follow the path when it turns south but continue west over the brow, after which the summit of Thornthwaite Crag comes into sight. From here go south, along the clearly defined route over Froswick and Ill Bell. Then continue towards Yoke, after which the going becomes rougher. You will eventually reach a wall running to the south. Follow this wall on its right hand side down to the top of Garburn pass. From here take the left hand track back to Kentmere church. Turn left immediately past the church. When the track forks take the right hand path and follow it through a farmyard until you find a narrow gap stile in the wall which leads to a bridge over the river. Cross the river and go up through the field to another stile and onto the lane. Turn left on the lane and follow this delightful ancient path back to Pout Howe.