Red Screes is a fell in the English Lake District
situated between the villages of Patterdale and Ambleside. It is an
outlier of the Fairfield group in the Eastern Fells, but is separated
from its neighbours by low passes. This gives Red Screes an independence
which is reflected in its prominence.
Taking the form of a long upturned boat, Red
Screes is a ridge running roughly north to south. Shorter saddles
connecting to neighbouring fells are sent out amidships on either side.
To the west Scandale Pass (1,690 ft) connects to Little Hart Crag, a
satellite of Dove Crag. From the pass the long Scandale Beck runs south
to Ambleside and the River Rothay.
On the northern side, Caiston
Beck makes for Hartsop and Ullswater.
To the east of Red Screes
is the road from Ambleside to Patterdale, reaching its summit at
Kirkstone Pass (1,485 ft).
On the opposite side of Kirkstone
Pass (east ) are the High Street range of the Far Eastern Fells,
beginning with Stony Cove Pike and Thornthwaite Crag.
south from Kirkstone Pass and its summit inn is the valley of Stock
Ghyll which flows the Ambleside, joining the Rothay a few yards from the
confluence with Scandale Beck.
Kirkstone Beck flows north from
the pass, joining Caiston Beck before reaching Hartsop. Thus the
boundaries of Red Screes are formed symmetrically by four valleys, with
the fell rising at the head of none of them.
The northern ridge of Red Screes passes over the
subsidiary top of Middle Dodd. This has little prominence being more the
point where the gradient of descent markedly increases, but Alfred
Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells gave it the
status of a separate fell.
The long southern ridge has the
equally notable top of Snarker Pike which was not given such a
distinction. This is one of many reasons why Wainwrights differ from
more logical hill lists such as Hewitts, Nuttalls and Marilyns.
The broad southern ridge runs for about two and a half miles before
petering out on the outskirts of Ambleside.
The lower slopes have
been planted with many small areas of mixed woodland and are extensively
divided by a vast array of dry stone walls.
North of the summit,
the descending ridge narrows at Smallthwaite Band before widening again
to the summit of Middle Dodd. From here the descent is steep and rough.
The western flanks are also rough, but the east displays two miles
of scree slope looming above almost the full length of Kirkstone Pass.
It is from this view that the fell takes its name.
Ordnance Survey maps is Kilnshaw Chimney although on the ground this is
just a narrow gully beneath the summit.
The summit area is a
broad plateau with a dressing of grass and stones. Two unnamed circular
hollows are cut into the eastern face and between them a flat topped
promontory juts out with the highest point on its northern edge.
A number of large cairns have been formed and an Ordnance Survey
triangulation column stands nearby.
A few yards to the south is
Red Screes Tarn, a small permanent body of water with no plant life in
evidence. A number of smaller pools can be found after rain.
panorama is excellent with a first-class view of the Far Eastern Fells
and the distant Coniston, Bowfell and Scafell skyline of the Southern
Fells. The immediate views down the eastern face to the Kirkstone Inn
The southern ridge provides a popular route to
the summit, climbing from the bottom of the Kirkstone road.
ascents from Ambleside can be made via Scandale or Stock Ghyll, gaining
the ridge to the north of Snarker Pike.
A number of routes are
also possible from the summit of Kirkstone Pass.
ascent is steep and badly eroded, whilst those from Red Pit or lower
down the pass to the north are slightly more appealing.
north the walker has the choice of the Middle Dodd ridge but beware as
this approach is very steep or a gentler approach up Caiston Glen to
routes near Red Screes