Thursday, 1 September 2011

Buttermere Fells - High Crag to Red Pike

This is the second half of a circular walk which I made with Claire that started and finished at Gatesgarth Farm. You can read about the first half of the walk here.

Having walked to the summit of Haystacks it was time to tackle the High Stile ridge starting with High Crag. The ascent of High Crag is a challenge right from the outset.

High Crag and Seat

It starts off with a pleasant enough clamber up the hill called Seat, but you are conscious of the giant face of High Crag that faces you, and each person that you pass warns of the section of scree towards the top.

the steep path ahead
Whilst the climb up is a hard enough slog, stumbling up over the scree is real hard work. With the impending views the main consolation you just have to get your head down and keep going. I found this as hard going as the Ladder on the side of Ingleborough.

High Crag with Ennerdale Water in the distance

It's a pleasure to be off the scree and onto the large summit of High Crag. Fantastic views all around, over Buttermere and Crummock Water and great views out over Ennerdale and northwards to the Vale of Keswick and the North Western Fells beyond. To the west was the obvious path that would take us onwards.

looking from High Crag to High Stile

From here it was an easy walk along the ridge to High Stile, and it didn't take long to get there. We would have stopped a bit more often on this stretch to enjoy the views but pesky insects meant we pressed on.

Red Crag and Bleaberry Tarn

A quick stop to enjoy the view and we carried on along the ridge, finally heading downwards towards Red Pike. Again this was easy and pleasant walking, with the views way beyond Crummock Water being new to these eyes - lots more walking territory to be discovered and explored.

Red Crag and it's obvious why

The descent from Red Pike was really tough. Right off the summit you have to make your way down a bad scree slope, basically stumbling your way down and doing your best not to roll all the way down to Bleaberry Tarn. After quite a lot of walking this was hard work, and meant we didn't enjoy the views as much as we otherwise would have done.

The descent continued past Bleaberry Tarn and into woodland before coming out on the edge of Lake Buttermere, where I couldn't resist giving my hands and face a good wash and cool down.

spectacular view across Buttermere

The return walk along the shore of the lake is a fantastic walk in itself, with great views of the fells on the opposite shore as well as seeing where the walk started out as you walk with Fleetwith Pike directly ahead of you and the Honister Pass snaking its way into the distance. You join the long path that comes down from Haystacks at Janet's Bridge and from there it is a short walk across fields back to Gatesgarth Farm. Fantastic day out!

Fleetwith Pike viewed across Buttermere

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