Lake District Walking At Buttermere Tuesday April 30, 2013

Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag are the three peaks on the ridge walk above Buttermere. I think it’s one of the very best Lake District walks with spectacular views. On one side you see Grasmoor, Dale Head and distant Skiddaw and Blencathra; on the other side you enjoy Great Gable, the Scafells and Pillar. This is hill walking at its best.

When I set off on this walk I wasn’t sure if I’d continue to Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike. I still wasn’t sure when I was at the foot of Haystacks where you can, if you wish, retreat back to the valley at Scarth Gap. I decided in such superb conditions I wanted to be in the hills the longest possible time and thus completed the entire Buttermere round.

I don’t recommend the final climb to Fleetwith Pike unless the light and conditions make it especially worthwhile. By far the best part of this walk is Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag and then the walk to Blackbeck Tarn is also beautiful. My first wild camp was beside this attractive lake. When you arrive below the climb to Fleetwith Pike you find a small stream which seems to disappear down the hillside. There is a path beside this stream which is not immediately visible but walk downhill and you will find it.

Buttermere is a quiet and remote valley with limited facilities. There are two hotels for expensive accommodation, two or three guest houses, a youth hostel, and two camp sites. I’ve stayed at both. One is directly beside the lake which allows for a lovely morning walk before breakfast or convenient access for walking around the entire lake for the day. it is however relatively cramped and correspondingly prone to noise from nearby campers. The site is called Dalegarth. The other is at Sykes Farm, near the hotel bars which is always a bad sign. You will probably get drunken idiots disturbing you sometimes but it’s a large site where you can spread out for privacy and personal space, and the scene is so lovely it’s conducive to peace and quiet not music and shouting. I’ve been there twice and it was fine. There’s no shop at Buttermere, only a small cafe with a stock of snacks and a sandwich if you ask. I did this once because I’d run out of supplies. I can’t remember if they normally stock sandwiches; I think it was a favour.

My video shows a walk at the end of the bizzarely extended winter which I think has applied across Europe. The calendar said spring, the weather said otherwise.

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