Buttermere and Crummock Water

Start. Gatesgarth Farm.

Route. Gatesgarth Farm - Peggy's Bridge - Horse Close - Burtness Wood - Scale Bridge - Scale Beck - Low Ling Crag - Iron Stone - Lanthwaite Wood - Boat House - High Wood - Rannerdale Bridge - Rannerdale Knotts - Low Bank - Millbeck Wood - Buttermere - Wilkinsyke Farm - Pike Rigg - Crag Wood - Gatesgarth Farm.

Notes. The Buttermere valley 329ft above sea level, remote and less developed than the rest of the Lake District, a perfect mix of lake, stream, low and high fells, woodland and pasture. Hemmed in on three sides by high mountains and plunging cliffs. Buttermere and Crummock Water breath life into this eutrophic slice of paradise, on a calm day reflecting the high fells like brooding witches casting incantations on the small community below. Well graded valley paths to souring mountain traverses, there's something special for every level of fitness and experience, today I opted for the lower, a ramble along lake shore paths, and just because it's there and avoided a stretch of road walking a leg burning ascent of the 1,165ft Rannerdale Knotts.

Gatesgarth Farm at the foot of Honister Pass marked my starting point, a finger-post welcomed me to the lake shore path. Into spectacular scenery I wandered, with cloud kissed mountains on three sides it was akin to walking into another dimension, the magic and charm of the Lake District on another level. I wandered along the lake shore trod, shadowed by stunning combs and towering ridge lines, through Burtness Wood I wandered dwarfed by the giants of High Stile and Red Pike. Passed Scales Bridge and into the bog riddled wilderness of Scales, this was the only really damp stretch of the walk. With dry feet I reached Scale Beck, a splendid foot-bridge aided my crossing, I wandered on to Low Ling Crag, an isthmus, a rare geological feature I am told, it's a jolly good place for a brew, I sat ages.

Brew over I wandered on, the twin tops of Mellbreak to my left and stunning views over Crummock Water my right. On reaching the foot of the lake I traversed a shingle beach, wandered passed a Victorian pump house then crossed a fish ladder to access Lanthwaite Wood. Now heading south woodland paths under foot, I escaped the woods into rough sheep pastures with views across the lake to the twin summits of Mellbreak. Passed more shingle beaches I wandered before the path swung left to join the valley road. This is the side of the valley where all the people are, the road's narrow and was quite busy, on reaching Rannerdale Knotts I'd had enough of the traffic, an ascent seemed appropriate, up I went, legs burning, lungs pumping, half way up I decided this was a bad idea, unfortunately I was passed the point of no return, the summit welcomed me with mind-blowing views through glacial valleys, over sparkling lakes to the Solway Firth and the hills of Galloway.

I continued, the splendid Low Bank ridge under foot, at the end of the ridge a steep descent greeted me, I descended to a gate allowing access to the oak woods guarding Mill Beck, a narrow trod then guided me into Buttermere village. With another stretch of lake shore path to come I decided to rest aching legs at the Sykes Farm Tea Room, “a peace of cake and a pot of tea please”, I sat outside in the rain. Tea and cake consumed, rain shower over I was on my way. Between the farm buildings the way-marked path guided me before descending to the lake shore. Along Pike Rigg I wandered, through a tunnel honed from the bedrock at Dalegarth before stepping onto the valley road, a couple of hundred yards over tarmac saw me back at Gatesgarth.

view route map.


Gatesgarth Farm looking to High Crag and High Stile.

Kissed by cloud old Wainwright's final resting place, Hay Stacks.

The mighty head of Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike.

The cliffs of Goat Crag viewed across Buttermere.

Lit by the morning sun, Rannerdale Knotts with Low Bank in dappled light.

Low Bank and Whiteless Pike backed by cloud kissed Grasmoor and Crag Hill.

From the foot of Buttermere, High Snockrigg and the ridges leading to a distant Dale Head.

Heading along the shore of Crummock Water looking to Rannerdale Knotts.

A couple of walkers enjoy the delights of Low Ling Crag with the bulk of Grasmoor behind.

Like brooding witches casting spells on the valley below, Dodd, Red Pike and High Stile.

The stunning view from Low Ling Crag, closing the head of the valley, Fleetwith Pike and the precipitous cliffs of Honister Crag, Grey Knotts with Hay Stacks to the right.

Low Ling Crag looking to Rannerdale Knotts.

Passing below the Crummock Water face of Mellbreak with this wonderful view for company.

Rising high above Crummock Water, the heather and scree of Whiteside and Grasmoor.

Rising almost sheer from Crummock Water, Mellbreak.

From the small shingle beach at the foot of Crummock Water, a splendid view down the Buttermere valley.

A glimpse of Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell over the northern slopes of Mellbreak.

Dipping it's feet into the cool water of Crummock Water, the twin tops of Mellbreak.

Pausing for a breather on the ascent of Rannerdale Knotts, looking to Dodd, Red Pike and High Stile.

Near the summit of Rannerdale Knotts, viewing Mellbreak across Crummock Water, the small spit of land jutting out into the lake is the delightful Low Ling Crag.

From the summit breath-taking views to the north, over Crummock Water, Loweswater the Solway Firth and the hills of Galloway....

....and to the south Buttermere and a wonderful stage set of Lakeland mountains.

Mellbreak as seen over Buttermere village.

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