Red Screes via Kilnshaw Chimney

An afternoon adventure to ascend Red Screes via Kilnshaw Chimney. Not the normal route to climb this fell, more of a rough scramble than a walk.

On Location: 12th May 2016

Wainwright Fells: Red Screes

Parking: Reasonably large car park at Kirkstone Pass, free at the time of writing.

Refreshments: At the time of writing the Kirkstone Pass Inn is currently closed. Building work is ongoing so it may possibly reopen in the near future. Nearest food and drink at Ambleside or Patterdale.

The normal, and quickest route of ascent of this Wainwright fell is via the popular pitched path that leads from the top of Kirkstone Pass. For this route I wanted to explore the gully named as Kilnshaw Chimney, a name that on old maps was more prominent than Red Screes. Just a warning, the gully is steep and narrow and due to loose scree it and the odd obstacle it can be quite a challenge.

Route map: click on the arrow to play the route. Route files in various formats are available to download by clicking in the link at the bottom right.

Red Screes, Kirkstone Pass Wainwright fell

Leaving the car park through the gate at the northern end our route is seen ahead. Kilnshaw Chimney is the dark cut at the top of the red coloured scree slope.

Kirkstone Inn and pass from the slopes of Red Screes

We leave the regular path to take an ascending line up the slopes of the fell. Kirkstone Inn and Wansfell behind us now.

Approach to Kilnshaw Chimney, Red Screes Wainwright Fell

Soon the gradient increases. Don’t be fooled by this shot, the scree is loose and steep with the chimney just in view on the skyline.

Kilnshaw Chimney start, Red Screes, Kirkstone Pass

After a bit of a climb we reach the bottom of the gully.

Kilnshaw Chimney rock pinnacle, Kirkstone Pass below

Looking back down to the inn past this fine rock pinnacle.

Kirkstone Pass from Kilnshaw chimney, ascending Red Screes

We head into the gully over rough loose stones, soon gaining height.

Kilnshaw chimney lower section, Red Screes

It’s narrow so there is no sense of exposure, more like claustrophobia.

Ill Bell from Kilnshaw Chimney, Red Screes, Kirkstone Pass

Away over the Kirkstone Pass road is the distinctive shape of Ill Bell.

Kilnshaw Chimney obstacle, Red Screes, Wainwright fell

About two thirds of the way up the gully you encounter this rock face. It is slippery, near vertical and awkward. It’s about the only real challenge on the route. If you don’t fancy it your escape route is to retreat back down the gully for about 10m.

Then find a grassy break in the wall of the gully on your left (as you descend). A bit of careful route finding and you can bypass the “rock step”. Bailey opted for this route.

Kilnshaw Chimney, Red Screes

Following a bit of a climb on the grassy slopes you can re-join the chimney further up. The image above is looking down from just above the awkward section.

Kirkstone Inn from Kilnshaw chimney, Red Screes

Before long was break back out into the sunshine. This point is at the head of the chimney, a place that I had been before. This is exactly where AW stood to get his reference photograph for Red Screes 6.

Red Screes 6 from The Wainwrights in Colour

My watercolour sketch of the same view from The Wainwrights in Colour. We ascended the last few feet to the top of the fell.

Red Screes trig column, Wainwright fell

Red Screes summit has both a large cairn and this O.S. trig column.

Middle Dodd from Red Screes, Looking north from Red Screes summit

Worth taking a few steps north to the edge of the true “Red Screes” for this fine view of Middle Dodd and the hills beyond.

Red Screes tarn, Red Screes summit, Wainwright Red Screes

There are several tarns on the summit area. This one is Red Screes tarn with the fell summit at the far side.

Red Screes small tarn, Tarn near Red Screes summit

Other nearby pools of water are dotted around.

Red Screes summit plateau, Wainwright Red Screes

Looking south in the direction of Snarker Pike and the ridge down to Ambleside.

Red Screes summit shelter, Wainwright Red Screes

Returning to the summit where the large cairn has been formed into a rough shelter. From here we head south east to pick up our route of descent.

Descent path Red Screes heading down to Kirkstone Pass

The path is obvious on a day such as this but care and good navigation is needed in bad weather.

Descending Red Screes, above Kirkstone Pass Lake District

The route down is steep in places as the path zig-zags down the fell side.

Red Screes path descending to Kirkstone Pass

Lower down the path is pitched with stone but still steep. After more descent the gradient eases and we are back at the car park.

Kirkstone Inn at the top of Kirkstone Pass

Obviously it would be nice to end the day with a refreshing pint at the Kirkstone Inn. That’s what I did. However, currently the pub is shut (28/3/24) and apparently work is ongoing so hopefully it will re-open sometime in the near future. If you find it open on your next visit do let me know so that I can update this page. Thanks

I hope that you have enjoyed this short route. Let me know in the comments if you have done it and how you found it.

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