Barely 3.0km (1.9 miles) from the bustling middle of Ambleside town centre is a fantastic viewpoint overlooking the northern end of Windermere. The view also includes the Fairfield Horseshoe, Red Screes. And westwards are the Coniston Fells. Peeking over Loughrigg Fell is the familiar form of the Langdale Pikes. The viewpoint is on the top of Gilbert Scar. Just behind it lies an area of rich summer bracken dotted with rocky outcrops and small tarns, the largest of which is Lily Tarn. After visiting the tarn the walk meanders a little to Todd Crag, and then joins the bridleway back to Ambleside.
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. 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 a couple of smaller car parks dotted around too. If you are up early you can park along the Under Loughrigg road before the cattle grid, it fills up quickly.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Todd Crag.
If you need accommodation we have details of 85 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Facing the Tourist Information Centre at the top of the town centre outside which you will find a stone pillar on a three stepped octagonal base with 1651 carved into the top of it, turn left. Immediately in front of The Climbers Shop turn left again to head south west, pass Blacks and the lower entrance to Gaynor Sports on the left hand side. Take the first turning on the right into Millans Park road next to Zefferilis, and then immediately left into Vicarage Road to head down towards the prominent church spire. Follow the lane past the schools, church, and on into Rothay Park. Continue ahead through the park, over the small footbridge spanning the river Rothay and then left over the stone packhorse bridge.
Turn right along the Under Loughrigg road, across the cattle grid, and in 50m (55 yards) turn left onto a minor road which begins climbing almost immediately.
Reaching a group of cottages swing left, still climbing steeply. As the road then swings right, on the left climb the stone steps in the wall corner next to a bin of road salt. It's signposted public footpath to Clappersgate.
At the top of the steps bear left along the muddy path, at the end cross the wooden footbridge, and take a left then right to climb the steep stone pitched path.
At the top of the steps follow the path bearing right, in 30m (33 yards) turn left on a rough path heading between rocky outcrops. Soon reaching a small beck follow the path upstream on a small section of stone pitched path. Amongst the deep summer bracken, aim for the highest in view outcrop. The view opens out to the south and Windermere and behind you to the north west is the Fairfield Horseshoe.
Continuing on there is a choice of two paths. Take the right, a narrow path climbing a rocky knoll overlooking this one. On its top is a large, if squat, beacon.
From the beacon bear right taking a narrow path towards a higher outcrop, behind which you'll find a ladder stile.
Cross the ladder stile and bearing slightly right climb to the top of the outcrop. There's actually two knolls separated by a depression, cross the gap to the slightly higher one. This is the top of Gilbert Scar.
Overlooking Waterhead and the Roman Fort of Galava, the view is naturally to Windermere. Fell walkers will find themselves swinging round to identify each of the fells and will be rewarded to find the Langdale Pikes just coming into view over Loughrigg. You can still Ambleside with the church spire prominent amongst the buildings.
From the top of the Scar turn right, drop down the outcrop on a wide path. Then continuing ahead, climb a short steep bank, past the small un-named tarn. Onward, again climbing more gently and in less than 100m (110 yards) is Lily Tarn.
In the middle is a small island complete with lone tree. A bench overlooking the tarn makes a good place to just hang around watching the wildlife.
Follow the path around the right hand side of Lily Tarn, past the bench, and keep to the wide path now heading roughly west.
Keep left to join alongside a wall but don't cross it.
Go through a kissing gate, then keep left to reach a junction of paths. Bear right, and then left around the immediate rocky crags, to climb on a clear path the outcrop behind, which is Todd Crag.
Drop down the other side to approach the Ambleside to Little Loughrigg bridleway. The bridleway is a rough stoney major thoroughfare and should be plainly recognisable.
Bear right on the bridleway to the fell gate, go through onto the gravelled track, and finally tarmac.
Keep on the minor road to return to Under Loughrigg road. Turn right, and cross the cattle grid. Then left over the packhorse bridge and right into Rothay Park. Continue straight ahead back into the town centre.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood||30m (33 yards) away|
|Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside||42m (46 yards) away|
|Stockghyll Force - Ambleside||50m (55 yards) away|
|High Sweden Bridge Circular||50m (55 yards) away|
|Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike||53m (58 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||63m (69 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||63m (69 yards) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||111m (122 yards) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||223m (245 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Rydal||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from White Moss||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|Troutbeck Tongue||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Sour Howes and Sallows||3.9km (2.4 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 (3.1 miles) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Alcock Tarn||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||5.0km (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