The view from the front of our house I have to say is second to none. Yes on a good day we can see the Old Man off to the left but every other day, unless the mist is really low, we can see the wonderfully craggy hillside of Rigg Head and Yew Pike and its towering proximity to our home means we have a soft spot for the route up there. My wife and I call it the Tilberthwaite loop because you head up towards Tilbertwaite but in reality, it should be called the Yewdale Fells loop but we started calling it Tilberthwaite and it stuck.
It’s a loop so you can do it clockwise but we prefer anti-clockwise, leaving the best bit for last.
It’s a brisk morning but the clouds are high so I know it’ll be nice up the hill. From town, I head up toward the Coppermine’s valley and turn right onto the trail that is signed for Yewdale and Elterwater. It easy underfoot for the first few miles as I both wonder and wander through lovely mossy woodland. If it’s been raining heavily, which let’s be honest is very likely, keep a look out for the water cascade on your left coming off the mountain, and take time to listen to the sounds of nature.
After a few miles the path comes out of the forest and hits a small side road to the left signposted to Tilberthwaite – and I head up this road. It’s a dead end so you don’t get much traffic but do be careful walking on main roads. This is the first time I’ve tested my legs in a week and I can feel it as the road climbs up a bit. The road follows Yewdale Beck where on a summers day you could go for a dip. It’s winter now though so I come up with all manner of excuses (when in reality I’m just a wimp) and give it a skip.
A few hundred meters after the cattle grid look out for a path of to your left. It’s the first signposted one so you can’t miss it but I’d have your OS maps with you in any case. From here I’m into the fells, climbing, sweating, taking in the view behind me. There are a couple of old disused quarries up here to explore too if you fancy making a day of it. The climb then tops out and follows the ridge along Yewdale Fells. I love it up here because I’m often the only one around. It can get a bit muddy but that’s half the fun. I tend to use waterproof socks if I’m out for a slow meander, they really help.
A few miles later the path goes down and then back up one more slippery climb. This is the best bit. Up till now, I haven’t really seen the view so it really jumps out at me as I come around the corner to see Coniston in full view below, the brighter sky to the south shimmering off the water. Even though I’ve done this route countless times I still can’t believe how high I’ve climbed which makes it all the more special.
Now the impending downhill. It’s fast and steep and I’d suggest poles if you feel the need. The middle section is a rocky scree slope which always brings out the kid in me as I pretend to be a downhill skier, slipping and sliding careful not to sprain my ankle. 20 minutes later and I’m back in Coniston. The route takes an hour to run and about 2 to 3 hours to walk. It’s a great one to do if you don’t want to spend the whole day doing one of the other ‘big’ routes and is a little bit more off the beaten tracks to get away from it all. Make sure you wave when you come down the scree and I’ll wave back from my house.