A Circuit of Buttermere.

Start. Gatesgarth Farm.

Route. Gatesgarth Farm - Crag Wood - Dalegarth Bay - Pike Rigg - Sourmilk Gill - Burtness Wood - Horse Close - Peggy's Bridge - Gatesgarth Farm.

Notes. One and a quarter miles long, surrounded by high mountains on three sides, dominating the western shore the High Stile range, to the northwest the Robinson massif and closing the head of the valley Fleetwith Pike and Hay Stacks. I tell you this because you couldn't see a bloody thing, the mountains were there brooding in the murk but their bulk remained a mystery. Rain bearing cloud hung over the valley, horizontal rain driven on a howling wind, I should have stayed in South Lakeland, there was snow, lots of it.

Trussed up in gortex I left the car park at Gatesgarth Farm, my only concern other than keeping dry was the height of the beck I'd parked next to, would it be spilling into the car park on my return? The valley road guided me to a finger-post inviting me to Buttermere, I obliged joining the lake shore path, that was about it, with the lake to my left I wandered around its wet and wind swapped shore.

Across shingle beaches, through woodland I rambled, round the point at Hassness then through Crag Wood. The Tunnel came next honed from the cliff face by the employees of George Benson a 19th century Manchester mill owner, who at that time owned the Hassness Estate.

I continued to a path junction, the left hand fork continued along the lake shore, my chosen route. This path crossed the head of the lake depositing me in Burtness Wood, I marveled for a moment at the power of a swollen Sourmilk Gill before rambling south through Burtness Wood. With the tree cover providing a mediocre of shelter I was able to enjoy the grey, moody vision before me. Once out of the wood it was head on into the tempest, head down, head long into a wall of driving rain.

Once at the path junction for Scarth Gap Pass I swung left, crossed Peggy's Bridge then followed the wide path back to Gatesgarth Farm, my worst fear hadn't materialised although the water level was a good six inches higher than when I parked.

view route map.


Rising behind the woodland of Kirk Close, Goat Crag with the ridge climbing to Robinson.

Looking through the murk to the head of Buttermere.

Disappearing into the Buttermere mist, High Stile and High Crag.

Wind swept and rain washed Hassness Point.

Reaching through the Lakeland gloom, Fleetwith Pike.

The lake shore path at Hassness.

The tunnel cut by employees of George Benson.

Views over Buttermere from Pike Rigg.

A kind of view over Buttermere from the northern shore.

Crouched behind a tree watching horizontal precipitations wash Buttermere.

Over waterlogged fields Buttermere village.

Lakeland mountains brood in the mist.

Sourmilk Gill spills from Bleaberry Tarn high in the comb below Chapel Crags.

En route through Burtness Wood.

Viewing Robinson Crag from the shelter of Burtness Wood.

Towering above the head of Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike.

Let the white water of Comb Beck guide the eye to Burtness Comb.

Warnscale Bottom.

Almost back at the car, a quick shot to the lower slopes of Fleetwith Pike.

Shrouded in mist mountains, with iconic names like Fleetwith Pike, Hay Stacks and Brandreth, believe me they are there, to be walked another day.

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