Rannerdale Knotts and Crummock Water.

Start. Buttermere.

Route. Buttermere - Ghyll Wood - Low Bank - Rannerdale Knotts - Rannerdale - Cinderdale Common - High Wood - Boat House - Lanthwaite Wood - Fish Ladders - Pump House - Iron Stone - Low Ling Crag - Scale Beck - Scales - Scale Bridge - Buttermere.

Notes. The Buttermere valley home to some of the best walking in the Lake District, towering peaks linked by craggy ridge lines welcome the walker who prefers the higher, lake shore paths through mature woodland with splendid views for the average rambler. On a day that promised rain with a little thunder thrown in I opted for the lower, a wander over new ground, Crummock Water's eastern shore path, but first an ascent of Rannerdale Knotts, a splendid rocky bubble rising to the 1165ft contour.

I left Buttermere accompanied by the dawn chorus backed by the faint rumble of thunder, it would be a hot humid ascent to Low Bank, but first a delightful wander through Ghyll Wood, a lovely natural oak wood cooled by a tumbling stream. I exited the grove via a rather large ladder stile, on green paths I made the short ascent to Low Bank, the start of pleasurable ridge walking to Rannerdale Knotts rocky crown. Poor views today, a heat haze hung over the valley, there was lots of moisture in the air, I've been caught out on the high fells in thunder storms before, believe me when I say it's not much fun, this rock bubble would be my high ground for today. I descended to the road before following the path into Rannerdale, a bonus I didn't expect, the valley was carpeted with Bluebells planted to commemorate the last bloody battle on British soil. From Rannerdale the path guided me north to Cinderdale before I descended to the Crummock Water shore, a path I'd never set foot on before, it was a pleasure to do so.

Through gorse I wandered before entering High Wood, a dense pine plantation, I exited High Wood passing into Lanthwaite Wood a delightful forest of Scots pine and birch, I could have just stepped across the border into the Highlands of Scotland, this delightful woodland reminded me of days in the forests of Cairngorm, a week spent exploring in wonderful weather, weather I longed for at this moment. After passing a boat house I rounded the foot of the lake to start the walk back along the western shore. It was raining as I wandered this less frequented path under the steep slopes of Mellbreak, patches of boggy ground were easily avoided, I passed Iron Stone, a boulder breeching the surface of the lake. I continued to Low Ling Crag, this spit of land's a great spot to sit and drink in the atmosphere, I sat a while, it had stopped raining. Once rested I wandered on, a new foot-bridge aided my crossing of Scale Beck, I forded Far Ruddy and Near Ruddy Becks before reaching Scale Bridge, this fine old stone bridge once on the main route to Ennerdale conveyed me over Buttermere Bubs before starting the short walk across the valley back to the village.

view route map.


Red Pike above Ghyll Wood.

Gain a little height and the views open out, Red Pike and High Stile linked by the ridge of Chapel Crags.

That long narrow ribbon of tarmac descends from Newlands Hause, I drove in that way, rising behind the pass grey today Robinson, to the right above the road the relentlessly steep slopes of High Snockrigg.

Traversing Low Bank looking to the summit of Rannerdale Knotts.

From Low Bank hazy views over Buttermere, looking to High Crag and Hay Stacks with Great Gable dominating the horizon.

Crummock Water as seen from Low Bank, on the skyline Starling Dodd and Great Borne with Gale Fell in the centre.

The summit Rannerdale Knotts looking to Mellbreak.

Rannerdale a blaze of blue, referred to as "the secret valley", said to be the site at which native Cumbrians and Norsemen ambushed and defeated Norman armies in the century following the Norman Conquest, fact or fiction who knows. Local folk law tells us they sprang from the spilt blood of Norman worriers, and there's always a snippet of truth in folk law.

Then we have this, on the banks of Squat Beck, time for a Carlo theory, and this one is probably completely wrong, it's maybe a fox trap, the front edge would have been closed, a plank containing a dead goose balanced over the trap, the fox finding a free lunch wanders onto the plank, dropping into the hole, of course it could easily be some kind of kiln, fish trap or food store. The fact is a few hundred years ago geese were farmed in large numbers on these fell, traps named Goose Bields were used to keep the fox population under check.

Seen from the banks of Squat Beck, Rannerdale Knotts.

Walking on new ground, looking to Melbreak, twice.

Rannerdale Knotts as seen from the edge of Lanthwaite Wood.

A delightful spot and an equally delightful reflection.

Loweswater Fell rises above the foot of Crummock Water.

Wonderful airy woodland rambling, it could be Scotland but I'm glad to say it's the Lake District.

Looking to the twin tops of Mellbreak.

Stunning views along the east shore of Crummock Water, Lanthwaite Wood backed by the steep slopes of Grasmoor.

Grasmoor rising above Lanthwaite Wood.

Views taken up Gasgale Gill. to the right Grasmoor, the left Whiteside, at the head of the gill featureless against a grey sky Hopegill Head.

A hazy scene over the Buttermere valley.

Low Ling Crag with Fleetwith Pike rising through the murk, in this light it looks like the sail of a Skerry cutting across the valley head.

An atmospheric view from Low Ling Crag.

Rannerdale Knots as seen from Low Ling Crag.

Traversing the boggy ground of Scales, looking back to Mellbreak and little Scale Island.

Have you ever wondered while on your ramblings you cross so many fine bridges, obviously built to stand the test of time, Scale Bridge is a fine example, once on the main route to Ennerdale now used by walkers and a few farm vehicles, a legacy from a past way of life.

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