Red Screes and Middle Dodd sit right next to the Kirkstone Pass from where a direct assault is tempting. However an "assault" it would be for the slopes are steep, and littered with crags and scree. A better approach lies in the Scandale Pass from Ambleside with a return on the long southerly ridge to make a fine circular walk.
This approach may for some have a slight sting in its tail: to visit Middle Dodd requires a short section of off-piste 'make it up as you go along' exploration. To most folk it should really add to the attractions, giving some stunning views, and makes an excellent change from simply path following all the time.
It is worth driving up The Struggle from Ambleside to see the red stained screes from which the fell is named.
Parking in Ambleside is reasonably plentiful although it does get busy at holiday times. There is the main car park above the town centre on the A591 towards Rydal. And for longer stays the Miller Field car park at the bottom end of town is large and often has space when the other has filled up. There are another couple of smaller car parks dotted around too.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Take the lane along the right hand side of the Post Office and Tourist Information Centre outside which you will find a stone pillar on a three stepped octagonal base with 1651 carved into the top of it, at the top of the town centre. This is North Road. At the top reaching the junction with Kirkstone Road, turn right. In 20m (22 yards) turn left into Sweden Bridge Lane.
Follow the lane, bearing left in 250m (275 yards) at the junction to remain on Sweden Bridge Lane to the gate and go through onto the rough track.
Continue on the track. Entering the woodland of Rough Sides, Scandale Beck on your left has some lovely little cascades although some can only be heard rather seen in the deep ghyll. Pass the stone arch High Sweden Bridge but do not cross. Keep on the track.
As the upper reaches of the valley are gained the track becomes less obvious and more like a path, tho is still easily followed. There is a short section at Scandale Bottom which is quite boggy - marked as "ford" on the map. The path continues just to the left of the wall.
The gradient steepens now. Keep on the path as it bears right to the top of the pass. Reaching the wall there is a rather pointless stile as the wall is broken in many places, cross the wall and turn sharp right to follow the wall as it swings left and then climbs through Broad Crag.
Between Broad Crag and the wall above, which is just below Smallthwaite Band is an area of grassy slope. When you feel comfortable enough bear left away from the path and wall to aim for Middle Dodd. There are no well worn paths heading in that direction although you may pick up the occasional short section. Middle Dodd summit is a short stroll from the col which is probably where you'll manage to end up.
Return to the col, cross the wall beside the windshelter and continue on the path climbing along the edge above the crags to the left. Swing left to the trig point, cairn and windshelter of Red Screes.
From the summit of Red Screes head south-south-west - turn right from the ascent path, past the large summit tarn. A couple of large cairns should come into view on the wide ridge. Follow the well worn path as it bears slightly left and descends along the southern ridge. Go through the gap in the broken down wall that crosses the ridge.
Cross Snarker Moss which is, as its name implies, a rather boggy section including some small peat hags and continue on the vague path with a wall to your left. After a while you will be collected by a wall to your right too. Continue down the ridge between the walls to the ladder stile just below a small crop of crags. Climb the stile and continue on the path. At a boggy section where you may wish to go to the right a little, return to the path between the walls. Gradually the wall to your right becomes less broken down and you do not want to be stuck the wrong side - keep between the walls.
Below Snarker Pike cross the ladder stile to continue on the path along the ridge.
Further down, reaching the step stile, cross to continue on the path.
Approaching the Kirkstone Road, the path swings left to join the road earlier than expected. Reaching the road turn right and head back down into Ambleside. Turn left into North Road to return to the Tourist Information Centre.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|High Sweden Bridge Circular||10m (11 yards) away|
|Stockghyll Force - Ambleside||10m (11 yards) away|
|Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike||22m (24 yards) away|
|Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood||30m (33 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||31m (34 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||31m (34 yards) away|
|Lily Tarn above Ambleside||42m (46 yards) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||72m (79 yards) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||183m (201 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Rydal||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside||3.3km (2.1 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from White Moss||3.5km (2.1 miles) away|
|Troutbeck Tongue||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Sour Howes and Sallows||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Red Screes from Kirkstone Pass||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|Helm Crag||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Alcock Tarn||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011