Red Pike and the High Stile Ridge.

Start. Buttermere.

Route. Buttermere - Burtness Wood - Old Burtness - Bleaberry Tarn - The Saddle - Dodd - The Saddle - Red Pike - High Stile - High Stile Ridge - High Crag - Gamlin End - Scarth Gap Pass - Wax Knott - Horse Close - Burtness Wood - Buttermere.

Notes. The Buttermere valley a classic combination of lake and mountain, cliff and scree, woodland and pastures, low level sauntering and high level walking, something to suit all tastes and levels of fitness. I'm heading for the higher, the summit of Red Pike followed by one of the best ridge walks in the whole of Lakeland, you sit back and let me suffer the pain of the ascent, and descent for that matter, just relax and enjoy the views on a very special Lakeland day.

I left the village via a well trod path heading to the lake shore, on entering Burtness Wood my ascent started. A pitch path guided me through mixed woodland, lets call this the “stairway to heaven,” for it eventually leads to Bleaberry Tarn. Nestled in the comb between Red Pike and High Stile, backed by rock walls of Chapel Crags, this is a special place, climb the hill you can feel the atmosphere, it's a place I love to linger. I lingered before ascending Dodd, a much neglected top with splendid vistas over the whole of the Buttermere valley. I've been putting this off long enough, the final pull to the summit of Red Pike, the steep ascent over shifting scree takes it out of the legs, by the time I'd reached the gully, the gateway onto the summit I felt like I'd climbed a lot higher than the 2,478ft would suggest.

I sat down on a convenient pile of rocks, an ice cold wind ripping in off the sea forced me to don another layer, once recovered my sights fell on High Stile the next summit on the ridge. A convenient row of rusting fence posts was to be my guide, the remains of the Ennerdale Fence guided me safely above Chapel Crags, over High Pike then above Burtness Comb across what I have christened the High Stile Ridge, this superb ridge route deposited me on High Crag looking down the daunting descent of Gamlin End. I took my first tentative steps onto this massive scree slope, once committed the descent was straight forward enough, half way down a pitch path replaced shifting scree depositing me on the coll between Seat and High Pike. I left the main path, the remains of a dry stone wall now guided me over shifting scree on a route that was once a decent path, this tentative decent deposited me on the Scarth Gap Pass, continuing down hill I soon stepped onto the Buttermere shore path. Just two miles of easy walking with level paths under foot, heaven at the end of the day, then I was back in Buttermere deciding on the Fish Inn or the Walkers Bar in the Bridge Hotel for a well earned drink.

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Seen over the pastures of the Buttermere valley, High Pike and High Stile with the Dodd face of Red Pike to the right.

Burtness Wood and the cliffs of High Stile seen over Buttermere.

A wonderful early morning view the length of Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike dominates the scene.

Stairway to heaven, the ascent through Burtness Wood.

Once clear of the trees the views are stunning, the bulk of Grasmoor and Whiteless Pike dwarf the rocky bubble of Rannerdale Knotts, climbed last time I graced this valley.

Robinson across Buttermere with High Stockrigg to the left.

Views over Crummock Water, including the Vale of Lorton and the fells of Darling and Fallbarrow.

Nestled in the palm of the mountains rocky hand, Bleaberry Tarn with Red Pike rising behind.

The Grasmoor massif as seen from Dodd.

Stunning views from the summit of Dodd, the dark face of Grasmoor, dwarfs little Rannerdale Knotts, rising from the west shore of Crummock Water, Mellbreak.

Also seen from Dodd, Fleetwith Pike and Dale Head split by the Honister Pass.

Breathtaking isn't it, the view north from the summit of Red Pike.

Ennerdale Water backed by Crag Fell and mysterious Grike, beyond them the Cumbria coastal plain melts into the Irish Sea.

Seen from the slopes of High Stile, Red Pike.

Bleaberry Tarn rests forever in the shadow of Red Pike and Dodd.

Across the summit High Stile.

Let High Stile Ridge carry the eye to High Crag.

Stunning views over Burtness Comb, above Buttermere, High Snockrigg, Robinson and Dale Head.

View taken from the High Stile Ridge, cast your eyes to a distant horizon where Skiddaw and Blencathra dominate the scene.

Seen from the summit of High Crag the Ennerdale face of Pillar.

Hay Stacks seen from my torturous descent path, I'm heading for that other scar on the landscape, Scarth Gap Pass.

Looking down on Warnscale Bottom, dominating the scene, apart from bluebells the ragged cliffs of Hay Stacks.

Descending to the Buttermere shore.

Easy walking all the way back from here, from the entrance to Burtness Wood views taken looking back to Fleetwith Pike and Warnscale Bottom.

Stunning views from the Buttermere shore path, Mellbreak and Rannerdale Knotts, you can just make out the buildings of Buttermere village hiding in the trees.

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