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The triangle of fells sandwiched between Ambleside and Troutbeck terminates at the diminutive summit of Wansfell Pike. Although relatively small, Wansfell Pike is surrounded by deep valleys and is separated from its neighbouring peaks by considerable distance, all of which allow stunning unrestricted views from its summit. From Ambleside you can get straight onto its flanks and be on open fell side in next to no time. Most people make an ascent and return the same way, usually taking the Stockgyhll Lane approach. This is fine if you are restricted by time, but if you can, it is really worth making a crossing and heading over the top to Troutbeck. The advantage of this is that not only can you take in the superb summit vista but you can explore the quieter side of Wansfell with its old fell lanes and wooded ghylls, and also sample the delights of Troutbeck, a truly classic Lakeland village. The terrain is narrow lanes, steep pitched path, summit rocks, open fell, hill track, valley road and rocky bridleways
4 - 5 hours
1. From the centre of Ambleside take Stockghyll Lane (accessed from the road beside Barclays Bank) as it climbs steeply up hill to the start of a track by the college entrance. Continue climbing east up the track to the start of a footpath on the right (after 250m).
2. Turn right onto it and follow the gravel then pitched path as it climbs steeply southeast direct to the summit rocks of Wansfell Pike. There is a bit of a rocky section just below the summit, which if you don't fancy it, can be by-passed, either to the left or the right.
3. Once you have explored the summit and taken in the views the descent path lies to the East. It winds its way across open slopes to reach a wall after 800m. On the other side of the wall the path splits. Ignore the right branch; instead continue East for 150m to another wall at a bend. This is Nanny Lane, join it and follow it South East all the way down to the road at Troutbeck. Turn right onto the road and follow it South through the village for 800m to the Post Office and village shop.
4. The track on the right, just after the Post Office, is Robin Lane, this is the start of the return leg. The first bit of Robin Lane is a climb, follow it South West then West, after 600m the gradient eases and it turns North West to a junction. Take the left fork and make the pleasant descent to a beck, cross the beck, make the short climb on the other side then make another descent to Hol Beck. Continue West up hill to High Skelghyll.
5. High Skelghyll marks the start of the final descent back to Ambleside. Continue West then North West through Skelghyll Woods down to Old Lake Road. This is a popular route for mountain bikers so it is worth listening out for their approach from behind. Once on the Old Lake Road follow it North to the A591 which is then taken back to the centre of Ambleside.