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" To Sweden with Two Pikes "

Date & start time: Tuesday 19th February 2013, 11.45 am start.

Location of Start : Roadside (free) parking in Ambleside, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 378 047 )

Places visited : Low Sweden Bridge, Low Pike, High Pike, High Sweden Bridge, Ambleside.

Walk details :  7 mls, 2100 ft of ascent, 5 hours 35 mins.

Highest point : High Pike   2,155ft - 656m

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : A beautiful, calm, sunny winter's day.

 " To Sweden with Two Pikes " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


Off to Ambleside to climb two peaks that we haven't been up for a very long time.

The sun is shining and the air is clear . . . it's a beautiful winter's day.

Two people, two dogs, two summits and two bridges . . . today !

We parked a little further up "The Struggle", close to what would be the end of the walk

and then walked down passed the Golden Rule to take the road to Low Sweden Bridge, our first objective.

Signposts make it too easy . . .
. . . I love some of the evocative local road names.

This interesting building is usually seen from the main road.

It is part of the University of Cumbria's Charlotte Mason Campus.

We walk up the road heading for Nook End Farm.

On the way we pass these boarded up houses which in an area like Ambleside was quite strange.

I can but presume they are something to do with the college.  Too expensive to fill, too valuable to let go ?

The enticing fellside from an urban perspective.
Low Sweden Bridge . . . not quite as dramatic as the name suggests.

Low Sweden did however lead us out onto the fells . . .

Farmland at first as grass replaces tarmac and gardens.

The view down to frozen Rydal Water improved as we climbed.

Views of Windermere just seemed to get hazier as we climbed.

The high fells were clear of the valley haze which was nice.

These are the Coniston / Wetherlam fells seen across Silver How.

All the answers from Loweswatercam !

Name those fells . . . take a quick at the skyline and it's easy . . . take a longer look and perhaps you may doubt your judgment.

The ones on the right seem straight forward . . . but there shouldn't be that many summits on that ridge,

. . . and some don't look the right shape anyway !

Hold your cursor over the picture to get the answers.

Out onto the open fell at the ladder stile.

The unusual name of the bridges is matched by the name of the crags ahead . . . Sweden Crags.

There's a short, steep climb ahead . . .
. . . even the dogs think twice about climbing it.

The problem was easily solved in fact

by following the path to the right

and scrambling up

past the small holly tree.


- - - o o o - - -


The valley of Scandale is below

and the snow dappled fell opposite

is the back of Red Screes.

Above the short set of crags is a flatter area with its attendant problem of bog !

Unusually a sign points out the danger in words of one syllable . . . DEEP BOG.

It was frozen so navigation of the DEEP BOG was no problem . . . and we continue on up.

Low Pike . . . The Big 200.

Hey folks, Ann pointed out the fact (she makes an active note of these things) that this is our 200th Wainwright summit,

200th of 214 of our third round that is . . . which makes it our 628th unique visit to a summit listed in the Wainwright Lakeland Pictorial guides.

It's a good job I did sums at school.

The summit cairn is on the narrow side of the wall

so we cross through a gap and continue on the western side for a change.

We're into the snow now, albeit what remains of the deep drifts that once graced this wall.

Interestingly the Southern Lakes had more snow this last week as the weather was blown in on the cold south easterlies.

When the snow travels down on a northerly wind, the northern Lakes usually get more.

Harry crosses another patch of open snow.

It has a frozen crust due to the cold weather so you can walk on it if you don't weigh too much.

At the top of the next rise, another gap in the wall leads across to High Pike summit.

The second of our two summits today.

Ann enjoys a sit down to take in the view . . . Red Screes, Middle Dodd, Caudale Moor across to the triangular Stoney Cove Pike.

The sunshine was lovely so instead of finding a sheltered spot and putting on an extra layer

we sat out in the sun in our tee-shirts and enjoyed the contents of the lunch box.

What a view !

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama from lunchtime.

Up ahead was the large cairn on High Bakestone, a possible route home.

We could walk across to it and down Scandale but it would add an hour to our journey.

The path ahead to Dove Crag would be a slow one . . .
. . . and time was getting on.

Stick to plan A . . . and reverse our outward route,

. . . but you would have known that if you checked out the map at the start.

Back down over the snow patches with a view towards Windermere once again.

The snow was no problem . . . it could be avoided quite easily

but what caught me out was the wet, freshly thawed grass and a slip and a slide

meant I was drying out a wet backside at the time of this photo.

Route finding was easy . . . just follow the wall.

In the photo above, the high ground in the distance is Wansfell.

You can even see the what remains of the red smoke.

With the clear air the sound of a helicopter over the summit was quite loud despite being such a long way away.

I looked across at Wansfell and saw a plume of red smoke of the type used by the rescue teams, so I loaded the zoom lens and pointed the camera at the summit.

Only when I got home did I realise that I had captured not only the helicopter but the team members too.

- - - o o o - - -

There were in fact two incidents on the summit, each with separate people slipping on the ice within quarter of an hour of each other.

An injured arm and an injured shoulder were attended to by the Kendal and Ambleside teams. Click here for their report (No 12 & 13).  They were evacuated with the assistance of the air ambulance.

Our path continued back down past Low Pike

but we decided to take an alternative route back which involved a slight diversion.

A left turn and down to a tall ladder stile led us down into the valley of Scandale.

Arching over the waters of Scandale Beck was the old packhorse crossing

which goes by the name of High Sweden Bridge.

A stone arch one layer deep is sufficiently strong, due to its method of construction, to take the path across the river.

Known as a "pack horse" bridge because it has no side walls which could catch on the panniers of a loaded packhorse crossing the beck.

Ann easily across, I decided to go back for a second photo from the other side of the river.

The delicate nature of the design is evident when you get side-on to the structure.

The summit in the distance by the way is High Pike, our lunch spot and turning point from today.

We now join the good track which makes its way down the other side of the valley.

One of the reasons for the track is that it provides access to the upper part of Scandale

but the well-engineered nature of it is probably due to the presence of the old quarries that we passed along the way.

Time is moving along and the sun is moving with it.

The low angle now brings wonderful late afternoon sunlight to the trees and walls alongside the track.

If we had continued on to Bakestones it would be getting dark by the time we reached here,

so sticking to our original plan was a good idea.

Shafts of sun cross above Rydal Water as we return towards Ambleside.

Our ascent route ran alongside the wall opposite.

A fine old gate system . . . perhaps the true derivation of the expression " a five barred gate "

If you see old field stones like this with large holes in . . . now you know how they were used.

Just around the corner, a totally different type of gate . . .
. . . and a matching one on the other side.

Any ideas of their history ?

The answer is most likely to be tied up with the Manchester Aqueduct taking water from Thirlmere to the Midlands.

A slight flattening of the ground and a series of similar gate entrances in alignment across the next few fields

implied that this is the track of the tunnel that carries the water south.  The gates would have provided access during and after construction.

Hi Roger,

The gates do mark the passage of the aqueduct from Thirlmere.

Similar gates can be seen below Reston Scar near Staveley.


click here  for more info.


Just before we entered suburbia once more there was a rather fine folly set high on a rocky mound.

It is not named on the map . . . anyone any ideas ?


Re the folly:

Chris Drake posted recently on Facebook that it’s known as ‘The Tower of Beauty and Friendship’ and is in the grounds of Eller How which I believe was sold recently.   Knowing the name, Googling brought up interesting information:

"The house was purchased by the Boyle family in 1862. The Boyles were prominent figures in the Potteries where John Boyle was a partner in the then ‘Wedgwood and Boyle’ factory. His son Henry, a typical Victorian dilettante and eccentric, was a keen botanist with a passion for landscape gardening.

It was his ambitious schemes that gave the gardens at Eller How their present day character. He specialised in rockeries and tropical plants obtained from friends at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. He built egg-timer ponds, rustic bridges, flights of stone steps, a fernery, where tree ferns and orchids grew inside an impressive glass house, kept crocodiles in heated ponds, dug underground caves and built what has become known locally as the ‘Tower of Beauty and Friendship’.

Built on a high mound at the top of the garden, the tower stands as an elaborate 19th century visitors’ book. The names of friends who stayed at Eller How, including the Wordsworths, the Arnolds, Harriet Martineau and other womens’ suffrage supporters were carved into bricks built into the face of the tower and can be clearly seen today."

Maggie Allen (Penrith)

Many thanks Maggie,  knowing the name of the property made all the difference . . . Rmh.


A short walk back down the lane brought us back to town and to the car at the end of the walk.

- - - o o o - - -



Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D SLR digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a day of warm winter sun.

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Previous walk - 18th February 2013 - Ennerdale Ramble

A previous time up here - 8th June 2006 The Fairfield Round on a hot summer's day

Next walk - 25th February 2013 - Rannerdale Beck Falls