The Tongue from Troutbeck round

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Cumbria is a large county in North West England and contains the Lake District and Lake District National Park. It is bounded to the north by the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, to the west by the Irish Sea, to the south by Lancashire, to the south east by North Yorkshire, and to the east by County Durham and Northumberland. Cumbria is very mountainous containing every peak in England over 3,000ft above sea level with Scafell Pike being England’s highest mountain at 978 m (3,209ft). Cumbria is also one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty attracting mountain climbers, hikers and walkers, cyclists, runners and tourists and holds a source of inspiration for artists, writers and musicians. Cumbria consists of six districts Eden, Carlisle, Allerdale, Copeland, South Lakeland and Barrow-in-Furness.

The Lake District is an area with stunning scenery located within in the County of Cumbria. Commonly known as The Lakes or Lakeland it was granted National Park status on 9th May 1951 less than a month after the first UK designated National Park, The Peak District.  It is the largest of thirteen National Parks in England and Wales and the largest in the UK after the Cairngorms. The Lake District National Park itself covers an area of 885 square miles and stretches 30 miles from Ravenglass in the west to Shap in the east and 35 miles from Caldbeck in the north to Lindale in the south. Crammed with so much natural beauty the Lakes attract visitors, tourists and holiday makers from all over the world. As the name suggests there are many lakes each with their own uniqueness, amenities and activities such as lakeside walks, sailing, waterskiing, boat trips and ferries. All of the lakes except Bassenthwaite Lake are named by water, tarn or mere and are surrounded by stunning scenery and magnificent fells. There are some wonderful towns to explore such as Keswick, Windermere, Ambleside, Kendal, Hawkshead, Grasmere and Cockermouth all with a splendid mixture of shops, cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants. There are also many museums, theatres, historic homes, gardens and many easy walks for the not so energetic visitor wishing not to climb the fells. William Wordsworth the famous British poet was born in Cockermouth and later lived in Grasmere where he wrote some of his best works before moving to Rydal Mount near Ambleside for his last 37 years. Both places are open to visitors and so is Brantwood home to John Ruskin until his death. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey and Thomas de Quincey all followed Wordsworth to the Lake District. Arthur Ransome, author of Swallows and Amazons, also grew to love the lakes and settled in the Winster Valley near Windermere. The painters Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner and John Constable were early visitors to the lakes but it was John Ruskin who settled here at Brantwood on the shore of Coniston Water. Farming and especially sheep farming has been historically and still is the main industry of the Lake District. The tough Herdwick breed with their stocky build and distinctive grey coat are especially hardy for the Lakeland fells and its weather. Sheep farming has probably been here since Viking times and is an important factor both to the economy of the lakes as well as in preserving the stunning landscape which attracts visitors and hence income to the region. Walking is a big attraction in the Lake District whether strolling around the low lying lakes or climbing up into the mountainous fells whichever is undertaken the scenery is magnificent. Alfred Wainwright’s famous hand written book, The Pictorial Guide to the Lake District, published in 1955 is a collection of seven books each illustrated with his unique style and charm of the 214 fells inspiring many visitors and tourists from all over the world.

Troutbeck, a small tranquil village situated 3 miles north of Windermere town, is a conservation area and home to the National Trust property of Townend. Townend is an atmospheric 17th century Lakeland Yeoman farmhouse full of quirky objects and fascinating stories. The farmhouse was the home of the Brownes an ordinary farming family but today their home and belongings bring to life more than 400 years of extraordinary stories. The bunk barn built by George Browne in 1666 and extended in the 18th century is one of the very few surviving bank barns in the area still in use today. There is plenty to explore at Townend such as the cottage style garden, the bunk barn, tours, visiting peaceful Troutbeck and walking the beautiful surrounding fells. There is also plenty to keep the kids entertained on the kids trail, the Townend quiz on one of the guided tours, play traditional games and a scavenger hunt around the cottage garden.  The village also houses a combined Post Office, general store and tea shop and a pub The Mortal Man which serves and displays a verse with reference to Sally Birkett’s Ale.

Troutbeck Tongue, a small fell at 364 m (1,194 ft), is one of Alfred Wainwright’s 214 listed hills. Its moderate height and proximity to the main A592 road makes it a popular attraction for walkers especially when the higher fells are in cloud. The Tongue branches off south-westward from the main III Bell ridge, just north of Froswick. It separates Trout Beck from Hagg Gill, its main upper tributary. The Tongue is usually climbed from the village of Troutbeck. From the village it is a pleasant walk to the base of the fell, following the course of the Trout Beck along Ing Lane which leads to Troutbeck Park Farm. The short ascent of the fell from the farm is quite a steep climb with several rocky outcrops and there is some evidence of quarrying near the top. The summit is grassy with views of the surrounding higher fells but due south there is good views down the Troutbeck valley to Windermere, England’s largest lake. The descent is a long grassy back-slope to Hagg Gill, a lovely meandering stream leading up to the desolation under Stony Cove Pike. The good track following Hagg Gill makes it a pleasant walk back. Troutbeck Park Farm, a 1,900 acre sheep farm, was bought by the children’s book author and illustrator Beatrix Potter in 1923 when it was in danger of development. When she died in 1943 she left the farm and its land to the National Trust along with 13 other farms she owned in the Lake District.

The Walk

From the lay-by we head forward uphill along the road for a short way and take the bridleway on the right signposted Ing Lane. We walk down the stony track and when the track splits we keep right. When we come to the tarmac track we turn right and continue following the track over Ing Bridge then bear left until we come to a gate. We go through the gate and after crossing the little stream we bear right at the signpost for High Street. We make our way across the field to the gate. We go through the gate then head forward uphill, not a clear path, to the corner of the wall ahead. At the corner of the wall we go through a small gate at the side. We head forward then bear left steeply uphill on a faint path to a white gate. We go through the gate and head forward still uphill following the path to the cairn on the summit of The Tongue. We continue forward then slowly start dropping downhill and bearing slightly right towards the valley bottom. There are several paths going off to the right but we make our way down to the bottom then turn right on a path to reach the stream (Hagg Gill). At the stream we turn right and follow the track with Hagg Gill on our left. After passing a building and the mine quarry we come to two gates we take the left one with a blue arrow downhill to cross over the stream on a stone slab. We continue ahead following the stream now on our right until we reach two more gates we take the higher one on the left then head forward with the wall on our right. We continue following the track passing over two streams and close to a farm until we come to a large gate. We go through and take the path to the right down to the Limefitt Holiday Park. We follow the road through the park until we meet the main road. We turn right back to the lay-by where we started.


This is an easy to moderate walk on grass/stony/tarmac paths/bridleways and tracks, also two short stretches of tarmac main road.

Elevation: approx lowest point 128.20m (420.60ft) approx highest point 361.60m (1186.35ft) approx ascent 336.70m (1104.66ft)

Distance and Start Point

Approx 6.75 miles allow 3 – 3½ hours using OS Explorer Map OL7, The English Lakes, South-eastern area. Windermere, Kendal and Silverdale. This walk is done clockwise.

Start point: Lay-by between the turn off for Troutbeck and the entrance to Limefitt Holiday Park.


Troutbeck is just off the A592, Windermere Road, in the Lake District, Cumbria.

Directions and Parking

From the A66 take the A5091 sign posted Troutbeck and Ullswater. Follow the A5091 until it joins the A592, on the edge of Ullswater, turn right and follow the road through Glenridding and Patterdale. By-pass Brothers Water and Hartsop then continue along Kirkstone Pass. At the top of the pass continue on the A592 for about 3 miles. Troutbeck village is just off the A592. We park a little further on in the lay-by on the right.

Parking: Lay-by on the A592 on the right just after the turn off for Troutbeck village. There is also parking at Green Gate (small road) next to Church Bridge just past Troutbeck Jesus Church on the A592 or at the side of the road near the church and limited parking in the village. All parking is free.

Toilets and Refreshments

There is no public toilets en-route the nearest ones are at Windermere. For refreshments at Troutbeck there is the Mortal Man Inn and a combined Post Office, General Store and Tea Shop. There are ample pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops in nearby Windermere and Ambleside.

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