High Tove and Armboth Fell

Date: 6 July 2019                             Weather: 20’C, sunny, gentle breeze

Height gain: 1,194 ft                      Distance: 4.3 miles

Time taken: 3 hours 52 mins       Wainwright count: 89 & 90 of 214

Route:  From Armboth car park up to High Tove, across to Armboth Fell then down to rejoin the same path for descent.


It was a beautiful day, a Saturday and early July – where to go for a walk that wouldn’t be packed with chatting walkers?  S suggested two of Wainwright’s less favourite fells which immediately seemed like a good idea.  We would usually go from Watendlath, but I suggested Armboth to take out some of the driving.  S checked on the road closures after our experience on Raven Crag, and happy days the road had re-opened two days before.

We drive via Ambleside to pick up pasties and cakes at the Apple Pie bakery – the road is surprisingly clear for a Saturday – not nearly as slow as the last crawl between Ambleside and Grasmere.

The previously closed road has indeed opened and we make our way slowly along Thirlmere looking out for the car park.  We find it and park under trees facing west to keep the car cool for later.  We’re one of only two cars in the car park and happy to find car park charges have been suspended as a thank you for people’s patience with the ongoing forestry work and path/road closures.

On with our boots, walk a few hundred metres in the wrong direction, then S sets us right and we’re through a gate and onto a lovely path with trees shading us on one side and a dramatic crag on the other, opening out as we climb higher:

2a

The path is quite steep, but not difficult and I’m in much better shape than on either of last two walks so we make good progress.

Once past the wall we’re onto open fell and can see Armboth to the left of us and High Tove straight ahead.  The ground is supposed to be boggy from here on in but apart from the odd squelchy patch it’s not too bad today.  We’re at the top of High Tove before too long:

6a

Wainwright finds it hard to imagine that anybody feels any affection for High Tove at all, but we gave him a friendly hello and tell him he is a lovely hill.  The views are stunning all around us:

4a

The hills really clear in all directions:

5a

We sit on the grass just below the summit and enjoy the quiet, the views and our pasties.  The first person we’ve seen all day reaches the top, coming down from High Seat just behind us, says a friendly hello and carries on down on the route we’ll shortly be following.

We sit some more, take a few photos, and then sit a little bit more, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the cooling breeze.  We eventually decide we should head on down to Armboth Fell.  S is hampered by a lost glasses lens, me having lost the tiny screw in the grass having tried to help mend them earlier, so he can’t see as well as usual, but there’s remarkably little complaint as we make our way towards boggy looking ground.

Wainwright recommends heading south off the summit, making a left turn towards Armboth Fell once the boggiest swamps are cleared.  We follow his advice, but no clear path appears to our left.  We finally make the turn using rocks as waymarks to try and reach a path.  The ground is surprisingly dry and although tufty with reeds progress isn’t too challenging – the one thing to thank global warming for?

We find a line to what looks like the top and head for it, greeting a family of four having their lunch tucked beneath it.  We clamber past them as they give us quizzical looks, then realise the top is (a) a very distinct rock you can’t miss and (b) not where we are.  We try and look like we know what we’re doing and quickly head off their crag and join the path to the real summit:

9a

We find a comfy spot on the warm rock and again sit a while and take in the lovely views.  Armboth Fell has a great rocky top, pleasant views and the going wasn’t too wet to get here – Wainwright must have really hated the boggy going in his day to have been so mean to this mountain.

We eventually drag ourselves away and start the descent.  We head down towards High Tove – the direct path between the two would have been fine – and meander through reeds and tufty grass until we finally rejoin our path up from this morning.

The route feels harder in descent – steep and rocky – but it’s not too bad and the views over Thirlmere are good:

1a

We reach the car in a little under four hours – two and quarter hours of which we were moving and the rest sitting enjoying the views and the sunshine.  A really lovely walk and glad we did it from this direction for a change – two mountains which are definitely much underrated by AW.