High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike from Buttermere.

Start. Buttermere.

Route. Buttermere - Burtness Wood - Horse Close - Scarth Gap Pass - Low Wax Knott - Scarth Gap - Seat - Gamlin End - High Crag - High Stile - Red Pike - Lingcomb Edge - Blea Crag - Scale Force - Scales - Scale Bridge - Buttermere.

Notes. Today one of the best walks in the whole of the Lake District, and that's a hell of a claim to make in a corner of the British Isles with so much fabulous walking. Commonly known as the High Stile Ridge, this is my version of a classic Lakeland traverse. High Crag and High Stile linked by the awe-inspiring High Stile Ridge was my intended ascent route followed by Red Pike and a descent along the lesser walked Lingcomb Edge. The views are staggering, hidden combs guarded by walls of Lakeland rock, small tarns, looking glasses capturing the morning sun, and to end the day a visit to a slender ribbon of water hidden in a deep gorge.

I left Buttermere striding out along the path that heads to the lake shore, once on the shore I turned south, through woodland I wandered, glimpses to the mountains I was about to climb spurred me on. After traversing the lake shore path I joined the Scarth Gap Pass trod, an ancient packhorse track linking Ennerdale and Buttermere, the start of a long ascent. Over the slopes of Warnscale I climbed, passed Low and High Wax Knotts and on to Scarth Gap itself. With Hay Stacks to my left and Seat my right the choice was easy, ignore the procession of Wainwright disciples ascending Hay Stacks and head for the quiet, Seat.

Unfortunately Seat is but a curtain raiser to what lies beyond, a leg burning ascent of Gamlin End, to be honest it looks a lot harder than it is, the path winds to ease the gradient, it wasn't long before I was perched on the summit of High Crag, drinking coffee, soaking up stunning views, views that would accompany me on the whole of this traverse. Rest over the High Stile Ridge beckoned. Above White Cove and Comb Crags and Eagle Crag I slowly wandered savouring the moment, all good things come to an end, I was soon ascending High Stile, the summit greeted me with many cairns and even better views.

The traverse between High Stile and Red Pike was just as spectacular, above the wall of rock that is Chapel Crags I wandered, impressive views into the comb, home to Bleaberry Tarn halted my progress, then I was ascending iron stained rock, the rust red that gives Red Pike it's name. A long descent above Ling Comb followed, Lingcomb Edge guided me into staggering views, the best of the day. After crossing the summit of Blea Crag the path got increasingly difficult to walk over, heather, rock and thick peaty soil made the going slow, I took my time, after what seemed ages I rounded a corner to be greeted by Scale Force, a slender ribbon of water over 150ft high tumbling through a sylvan gorge, I sat and drained my flask in the cool of the waterfall. I left Scale Force via a gate allowing access to Scales, this vast tract of wet ground was a pleasure to cross after a day striding over Lakeland rock, I soon reached Scales Bridge my gateway back to Buttermere.

view route map.


The slopes of High Stile loom above the approach to Buttermere, with High Crag and Hay Stacks to the left.

Seen across Buttermere the sunlight and cloud kissed slopes of Grasmoor tower above Rannerdale Knotts.

A moody Fleetwith Pike and Dale Head guard the entrance to Honister Pass.

Heading up Scarth Gap Pass with this view to Goat Crag for company, remember the leg burning ascent the other week, it was the ridge leading from the tree line below Goat Gills to the top right of this shot.

Passing behind Low Wax Knotts with a stunning view back over Buttermere.

Pillar mountain rises dramatically from the Ennerdale valley, on view from near the summit of Seat.

Toiling up Gamlin End with spectacular views to Robinson above Buttermere.

The wonderful view over Seat and the head of Ennerdale, Green Gable, Great Gable and Kirk Fell backed by the Scafell massif.

Taking a breather on the summit of High Crag, the view Ennerdale Water and the Cumbria coastal plane.

Comb Crags and the High Stile Ridge with High Stile dominating the view.

Looking to Robinson and Hindscarth from the High Stile Ridge.

Ascending High Stile looking back to High Crag with the dark mass of Great Gable on the horizon.

The view from High Stile, breath-taking isn't it, you can even make out Criffel across the Solway Firth.

Bleaberry Tarn rests forever in the shadow of Chapel Crags and Dodd.

A litany of Lakeland gems, from left to right, Sail, Scar Crags and Causey Pike, to the right slightly, Knott Rigg leading to Ard Crags, right again, High Snockrigg and the slopes of Robinson, hazy on the far horizon Blencathra.

Drinking in views from the summit of Red Pike, Lingcomb Edge with dappled light on Mellbreak, Crummock Water with Loweswater top left..

Crummock Water backed by the bulk of Grasmoor.

Wonderful views along Lingcomb Edge.

The lit farm land of Buttermere seen over Ling Comb.

The scene over Buttermere from delightful Lingcomb Edge.

Hen Comb and Carling Knott seen over Mosedale from near the summit of Blea Crag.

Grasmoor dominates the view over Crummock Water.

Scale Force a slender ribbon of water tumbling into a cool sylvan gorge.

Mellbreak on view from the boggy ground of Scales.

It may be wet under foot but the views over Crummock Water are magical, Rannerdale Knotts backed by mighty Grasmoor.

Earlier today it was a moody Fleetwith Pike that greeted us to Buttermere, now benign in sunlight and shade it welcomes us back.

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