Sour Howes and Sallows are little known outside of Wainwright collectors, being neither directly on the way to anywhere, nor shapely or distinctive enough to attract attention. Nevertheless Wainwright included them in his Far Eastern Fells book. It is when on the summits that you understand why. Situated between Troutbeck and Kentmere, Sour Howes is the summit of Applethwaite Common, and Sallows that of Kentmere Park. To the north is the ancient packhorse road of the Garburn Pass. The views from these two summits amply reward the walkers effort. To the west across Troutbeck, is Wansfell Pike. North is the Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick ridge, and to the north-east is Kentmere Pike, which if one is very keen makes up the Kentmere Round. On the way back when you can see far into the Troutbeck valley The Tongue can be seen way below you.
This walk starts near Church Bridge which is on the main A592 just below Troutbeck. Climbing up to the Garburn track we cross it via a couple of ladder stiles and take to the slopes of Sour Howes. The views back to the valley really open out into a splendid vista. Before the fell can be reached another stile must be crossed and a path wending its way between grassy hummocks followed to the summit. There seem to be three likely contenders for the summit of the fell, separating them would require very accurate measurements. Wainwright's summit is easily spotted, the end of a small ridge it stands proud despite the lack of a decent cairn. Just a few stones mark the spot. Onward to Sallows is an easy stroll, another stile and a small climb to a barely marked summit. Again just a few stones indicate the achievement.
An informal parking area is located just down the minor road into Troutbeck from Church Bridge with space for approximately 6 cars.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Leave the parking area and return to the A592 and Church Bridge. Turn right and cross the beck via the footbridge alongside the road. In 50m (55 yards) cross the road to the narrow lane opposite, it is signposted "restricted byway". This rough lane climbs quite steeply, above The Howe it swings sharply left and soon continues slightly easier up to a slanted crossroads.
Bear right to continue the ascent. As the track zigzags right and then left, just below a stand of trees, climb the tall ladder stile on the right into the enclosure. Follow the faint path to the obvious ladder stile above. This one is more awkward than the previous but climb it and cross the Garburn track above, climb the ladder stile opposite as well onto Applethwaite Common.
Now the path meanders between rocky knolls and through bracken to head for a spiky looking knoll high on the skyline slightly left. The path can clearly be seen climbing its face. Follow the path to this knoll, and beyond. A step stile quickly comes into view. Cross the stile and continue on the grassy path. Keep a look out to the right. Although the major path goes straight for the summit a branch left may be mistaken. The small triangular form of the end of the ridge is seen between grassy hummocks. Don't blink or you may miss it. The summit of Sour Howes is marked by a few small stones.
Bear left from the summit to head northwards, continuing on more grassy paths. Drop down to join a wall on your right and follow alongside this down to the depression and up the other side. Again the major path crosses the step-stile you are looking for, but a much fainter path does continue. Cross the wall here at the step-stile and initially bear left, and then right onto the wide grass ridge.
Continue past one small rocky outcrop and continue along the ridge to the high point of Sallows. Again only a few small stones mark this summit.
The return path is down to the Garburn Pass, initially turn back sharply left - about 45 degrees from the direction of approaching the summit and take the faint but reasonably well used path through the grass. Descend northwards on steepening grass to the Garburn Pass track. Approaching the bottom bear right along the stone path to the wall corner where there is a stone stile. There is no fence crossing directly ahead!
Reaching the track turn left and pass through the gate, continue along the track. Along the way a little a cairn rests on the right beside the track, this is the turning point for those people heading further north along the Ill Bell ridge.
At the cairn bear left to continue on the Garburn Road track. Follow the track through a couple of gates. The quarry marked on the map just to the left of the track has some geological interest, and a mobile phone mast!
When the track splits just before the stand of trees take the right fork. Just below the trees you soon reach the stile used on the ascent. Reaching the crossroads bear right to follow the track all the way back down to the A592 once again. Carefully cross to the pavement the other side and turn right to the footbridge, then left to return to the parking area.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Troutbeck Tongue||10m (11 yards) away|
|Lily Tarn above Ambleside||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Orrest Head - the view that changed a young man's life||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|High Sweden Bridge Circular||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Stockghyll Force - Ambleside||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|The Kentmere Horseshoe||4.6km (2.9 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