Buttermere's Northern Skyline.

Start. Buttermere.

Route. Buttermere - High Snockrigg - Buttermere Moss - Robinson - Littledale Edge - Hindscarth - Hindscarth Edge - Dale Head - Yewcrag Quarries - Honister Hause - Honister Pass - Gatesgarth Farm - Peggy's Bridge - Burtness Wood - Buttermere.

Notes. High above Buttermere outlined against a sky filled with scudding cloud the dark ridges of Littledale and Hindscarth, a rocky bridge of broken crags linking the summits of Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head. Usually walked as part of the popular Newland Round or lesser known Littledale Horseshoe, I chose to make my ascent from Buttermere via an old sled track rising to Buttermere Moss, a quick visit to High Snockrigg to sample the stunning views over Buttermere and Crummock Water before ascending above the 2,000ft contour for the next two miles of today's little outing.

My day started on the small car park at the bottom of Newlands Pass just above Buttermere Village, I followed the narrow ribbon of tarmac back up the hill, after one hundred yards a finger-post announced it was only 1¼ miles to the summit of Robinson, following an old sled route this was the longest mile and a quarter I have ever walked, after a quick visit to High Snockrigg I made the short crossing of Buttermere Moss followed by the final pull to the summit. From the summit a good path heads south to reach an old boundary fence above Robinson Crag, (not Crags, if you're in the mist and above Robinson Crags you've gone in the wrong direction) I followed this leaving it only to summit Hindscarth before moving on to Dale Head with it's shapely cairn with stunning views down Newlands.

The boundary fence I followed from Robinson now descended to Honister Pass. A long easy descent followed passing the Yewcrag Quarries before stepping onto Honister Hause opposite the entrance to the Honister Slate Mine, worth a visit if you've got time, I hadn't, what I did have was a long stretch of tarmac walking down Honister Pass. It may seem a strange route to take, but it's the only way to experience the stunning scenery on either side of the pass, you can drive over but I'm afraid you'll have to watch where you're going. One thing Honister Pass does, it make you feel rather insignificant, an ant walking through a landscape of shattered rock and scree, a visitor in this fragile place, soak up the atmosphere it's a wonderful feeling. At the exit of the pass stands Gatesgarth Farm, a refreshment caravan and the start of the well used path following the western shore of Buttermere, with views to hills walked earlier, this was my preferred route back to the village.

Something I was forced to point out to my darling daughter that may be worth mentioning, when following a boundary line, it may be a fence, the remains of a fence, or likewise a wall in similar condition, just because it's on the map doesn't mean you'll be able to find it, the one I followed today was a bit of everything, a good handrail to guide me.

view route map.


"A man must be very insensible who would not be touched with pleasure at the sight of the chapel of Buttermere" Wordsworth's description of the Church of St James, Buttermere, built in 1841 to replace an earlier kirk dating from 1507.

On the lower slopes of High Snockrigg looking to High Stile towering above Buttermere.

Whiteless Pike and the cliffs of Crag Hill with the bulk of Grasmoor behind.

Let the long grassy ridge over Low Bank carry the eye to Rannerdale Knotts with Mellbreak across Crummock Water.

The formidable cliffs of Comb Crags plunge into Burtness Comb, either side High Crag and High Stile.

Near the summit of High Snockrigg with a stunning view down the Buttermere Valley.

The dark mass of Robinson rises above Buttermere Moss.

Looking to the dramatic rock scenery of the Grasmoor massif.

It's been a long time coming but here I am on the summit of Robinson, this is the view to the south, seen over Fleetwith Pike, Great and Green Gable with the Scafell massif across the skyline.

Taking centre stage to the north, Grasmoor with Mellbreak and the northwestern fells rising above Crummock Water.

Descending Robinson with wonderful views across the edges of Littledale and Hindscarth, in shadow Dale Head but first a short detour to Hindscarth on the left.

The high skyline is Skiddaw with Causey Pike dark in the middle distance, seen over Littledale.

Ascending Hindscarth looking back to High Stile and Red Pike.

The summit Hindscarth looking to Grasmoor.

Standing above Hindscarth Crags, soaking up the views over the cliffs of Maiden Moor with the rolling summits of the Dodds across the skyline.

At the moment I'm a chip on the shoulder of Dale Head, looking back to Robinson with the path leading to Hindscarth bathed in sunlight,

Viewing Honister Crag a fearsome wall of rock and scree guarding the pass.

In sunlight and shade, Hindscarth.

Seen from the summit of Dale Head, Newlands in all its glory, the name describes the new land brought into being when land was drained between Portinscale and Braithwaite in the 13th century, not so visible are the scars of mining, the mines of Newlands weren't so big just valuable, lead, copper, silver and gold have all been extracted from the valley, the most famous mine being the Gold Scope Mine.

Views taken from the descent of Dale Head, across the vast tract of bog above High Scawdel the valley of Stonethwaite.

Viewing Honister Crag from the remains of Yewcrag Quarry. Green Slate was first extracted from Honister around Roman Times, the height of slate mining was in the 1800s with a network of tramways, ropeways and railways criss crossing the crag, the levels and edicts driven into the cliff face can clearly be seen, now part of the Honister Slate Mine Experience.

Sunlight catches the scree slopes below Honister Crag.

Towards Hay Stacks from near Gatesgarth Farm.

Stunning views down the Buttermere Valley with Mellbreak on the left and High Snockrigg the right, at the head of the valley the Loweswater Fells.

Honister Pass seen over Buttermere backed by Hindscarth Edge and Dale Head.

back to top

back to list