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A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne


Postby Alteknacker » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:49 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Fleetwith Pike, Great Borne, Haystacks, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere), Starling Dodd

Hewitts included on this walk: Fleetwith Pike, Great Borne, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere), Starling Dodd

Date walked: 18/09/2020

Time taken: 10

Distance: 23.3 km

Ascent: 1724m

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Forewarned is forearmed
This is one of those reports where I have to apologise from the outset for the number of pics. I have excuses - pretty good excuses actually: it was a superb day, in superb country; but – the views, the views! Up to now I’d thought the best round for views in the Lake District was the Wasdale Head Round – Yewbarrow to Scafell. But I think this Buttermere round beats even that. (Or perhaps it’s just that the hills work their magic anew every time one is among them…). Anyway, I couldn’t prevent myself from stopping to absorb the vistas more or less every few minutes, and from taking a good few ( :roll: ) pics. I’m no photographer in the JKLL mode, but if the pics here give even a quarter way representative idea of what it was like, I’ll be content.

The Forecast
...for Friday was good, as indeed it was for the weekend...
Image

– but I try to avoid weekends in the Lake District...
Image

... so Friday it was.

The Route
This was a largest group of Hewitts in the Lake District that I hadn't yet walked, and I'd been wanting to do so since I'd looked at them from the Wasdale Head ridge (Pillar, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, etc.). Regrettably I hadn't looked carefully enough at the map, otherwise I'd probably have walked along the north east shore of Buttermere to close the loop at Gatesgarth, rather than biking along the road, which is what I actually did.

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The Report
A 3.45am departure from home saw me arrive in Buttermere just after 07.00am, where I parked up. There were already a few cars there, but nothing like the number that were there when I returned.
It was beautifully clear and already the ridge was showing at its most alluring. Image20200918-071109-2.

Image20200918-071140-2. After a quick breakfast, I changed and got going on the bike for Gatesgarth.

Unfortunately I only realised when I was well along the road that I could have cycled along the Buttermere shore track :( :roll:
Image20200918-073904. Truth is though, that fact didn't spoil the view - here of High Crag (LHS) and High Stile (RHS) - which augered very well for the day.

Image20200918-075555-2. After chaining my bike to a fence in the car park, I started off on the ascent of Fleetwith Pike via Fleetwith Edge; which is a good old climb of some 540m, and, to ensure the walker doesn't get bored, features innumerable false summits... Suffice it to say, I didn't get bored :roll: .

Image20200918-081851. The crags of Hay Stacks were dramatic and even slightly sinister in the low rising sun.

Image20200918-082255. ...while the view down Buttermere valley defies description - I must have taken 20 or so pics of this as I slowly ascended Fleetwith Edge. Fleetwith Pike cast a long shadow into the valley.

Image20200918-091721. To the North, Dale Head (RHS) and Hindscarth (LHS), with Whiteside in the distance, are also picking up the morning sun.

Image20200918-092458. A little further round Hay Stacks on the extreme LHS, with Pillar behind; and then High Crag and High Stile again overlooking Buttermere.

Image20200918-094231. Eventually, many many false summits later, I got to the summit of Fleetwith Pike, and parked myself on the cairn to soak in the views. Just wonderful!

Image20200918-094231-labelled.

After 20 minutes or so of just enjoying being there, I managed to tear my eyes away from the scene, and continue on my way.

Image20200918-095234. First, an easy yomp descent to Dubs Bottom following an intermittent path.

Image20200918-103252. Then along an up-and-downy path amid fabulous rough and gruff rocky terrain - this pic looking roughly north towards the crags of Hay Stacks.

Image20200918-103837. And looking back just east of north towards Fleetwith Pike from a little further along the path. Magic!

Image20200918-104257. En route: Pillar viewed across Innominate Tarn. Apparently Wainwright's ashes were scattered in this miniature jewel, and one can see why he might have wished for that ceremony to be just here.

Image20200918-105715. There were quite a few folk on the multiple summits of Hay Stacks, but precisely because of the multiplicity of summits, it was easy to imagine sitting there in pure solitude. And the views...!!! This looking north...

Image20200918-105715-labelled.

Image20200918-110242-2. ...and this looking SSE up the head of the River Liza valley towards Great Gable.

Image20200918-110656. Ahead - NW - Seat, and High Crag - the start of the ridge proper.

Image20200918-114700. First there's a drop via a rough path down into Scarth Gap, followed by a 100m+ climb up on to the hump of Seat (this pic is taken from the top of Seat).

Image20200918-114740. Which necessitated yet another breather while I took this pic looking back towards Hay Stacks.

Ahead a 225m climb up on to High Crag. And it does feel to be quite high! The path - just visible, zig-zagging up to the LHS of the scree.
Image20200918-115429.

Image20200918-122202. As usual these days, it was a s-l-o-www ascent; but that afforded plenty of occasions to look back and admire the view. Here's looking back again to the head of the Liza valley, Great Gable in the background, while starting in the foreground: Seat; then, behind it, Hay Stacks; and yet further behind and to the right, Fleetwith Pike.

Image20200918-123854. Eventually I managed to haul my dripping carcass to the summit. In the background is High Stile.

Image20200918-124451. From here Fleetwith Edge doesn't seem to consist entirely of false summits. But it does!!!

Image20200918-125005. It's just a short hop from here to High Stile.

Image20200918-130328. ...which is blessed with some fantastic crags - at least a full day's scrambling available here!!!

Image20200918-131751. Looking back towards High Crag, as I approached the summit of High Stile.

Image20200918-132211. "...just sat contemplating land and sea..." The summit of High Stile. And still life: day sac with agent orange fleece :roll: .

Image20200918-132226. To the North West, Red Pike, and in a line behind it, Starling Dodd and Great Borne. Ennerdale Water just peeping out to the far LHS.

Image20200918-132822-2. A little further to the North, more of the district's lakes: in the foreground, Bleaberry Tarn, and behind it, Crummock Water.

Image20200918-132853-2. The same view in pano.

It's really easy ridge walking round to Red Pike, which I reach in fairly short order
Image20200918-135405. Looking back, High Stile.

Image20200918-135824. Now on to Starling Dodd, path easy to see. Behind it, and slightly to the right, is Great Borne, the last hill of the day.

Image20200918-140049-2. Same view in pano. Loweswater just visible, just right of centre pic.

The path is very clear and easy to follow...
Image20200918-141812. Looking back the way I've just come to Red Pike.

Image20200918-141822. Ahead Starling Dodd.

Just easy upland walking (though a bit of a slog for me on the last short pull to the summit)...

Image ...where there's a modernist rusted steel sculpture, and a fine view of Great Borne ahead, with the Irish Sea in the background.

Image0200918-143842. Initially I missed the path down from Starling Dodd towards Great Borne; but I could hardly get lost, and soon I picked it up again. Still easy walking, with about 100m of ascent, and a bit of a final pull up to the summit.

Image20200918-151725. Here's looking back south east along the line of the ridge, with the ever-present Great Gable showing to the right of it. Plus another take on still life: day sac with agent orange fleece :roll: .

Image20200918-153543. Now there was just the long walk back to the car; and after a good drink and a sandwich, I headed off slightly to the North of the route I'd just come along, in a yomp across the rough. My aim was to hit the Scale Beck valley some way above Scale Force, with the idea of taking a look at the waterfall. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but my eye had been drawn to it when planning the walk by the tight contours - means: should be interesting!

Image20200918-160345. The start of the drop into the Scale Beck valley.

Image20200918-160917. It's very rough: fairly dense heather concealing many many football-sized rocks. I took it very slowly!

Image20200918-162153. Initially the path runs alongside the beck. But the valley turns into a deep gorge, that seems to get deeper and deeper and the sides more and more precipitous, so that the bottom is invisible from the path, which runs at an increasingly high level relative to the beck. I heard the sound of falling water all along, and tried several times to get a view; but failed miserably.

Image20200918-163259. By the time I got to the bottom and crossed the beck at a footbridge, I eventually saw at least some falling water...

ImageLooking it up when I got home, this is apparently what I should have seen if I'd been determined enough in my exploration!!! (Not my pic).

Image20200918-165037. Once beyond the falls, the path is broad, and, with one short stretch of unavoidable bog in which I got wet feet for the first time on the day, is very easy going. I love this view, looking straight along the line of Fleetwith Pike in the background, with Crummock Water to the left.

Image20200918-170516. Pano from the path, the hills to the north east of Crummock Water making a final showing: from righ to left: Fleetwith Pike, Robinson, Whiteless Pike, and Grasmoor (I think - but I'll stand corrected...).

I reached the car at about 17.20, and ended proceedings with a can of cold Brew Dog Nanny State, sat on a stone absorbing the setting sun, and reflecting on what a fabulous day it had been. I learnt this cool beer trick from Dr Frank on our last walk: pack your drink in a cool bag with cooling elements, and it'll stay cool the entire day long :D :wink: .

There is actually an establishment of cultural, historical and architectural distinction in Buttermere, but it was crowded I didn't fancy covid-defined queuing; and anyway alcohol doesn't really go well with my current medication. Whereas a cold Nanny State in the afternoon sun just goes perfectly :D .

ImageProfile.

Image3D view of route.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby thefallwalker » Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:09 am

great report of the finest area in the LD! :clap: :D As i have often stated on many forums, Fleetwith pike has in my opinion the most stunning views of all the Wainwrights 8) & goes to prove that they don't have to be big to be beautiful :D :D
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby yellowbelly » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:38 am

Loved reading your report on one of my favourite parts of the Lake District. Great effort and superb photos.
If you enjoyed that, why not try this sometime:
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=14144
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby malky_c » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:14 pm

I enjoyed that :D . Not been on these hills in a while - I once did a shortened version of this, dropping back to Buttermere after Red Pike (which means I still haven't visited Great Bourne or Starling Dodd).

We weren't far away from you at this point - I think we were up Harter Fell above the Hardknott on Friday.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby prog99 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:01 pm

I must have walked past fleetwith pike plenty of times now without visiting the summit, must rectify this next time I am up at honister. Otherwise I’ve done pretty much the same round before, have you ever visited the tiny bothy up there?

As far as crowds go, I was also in the lakes Friday to Sunday and it seemed quieter than normal tbh. 2 other folk on the summit of great gable.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby vuirich » Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:28 pm

A lovely walk with cracking photos. It's been a few years since I was last on the High Stile range - must rectify that soon. The descent of Fleetwith Pike's west ridge is also a joy as you have the magnificent view of the Buttermere valley ahead of you all the time.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:19 pm

I really like the route up Fleetwith Edge, all those false summits give good excuses to turn around and admire what must be one of the finest views in England. As for the views from the High Stile ridge I'll have to simply enjoy you pics as both my ventures up there were clag bound in the main.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby trailmasher » Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:26 pm

A great report and pics of a very beautiful part of the LD :clap: and I never tire of walking around there AK 8) I've done that same route a couple of times but in the opposite direction to you. As for taking it easy when climbing I think we all get that 'worn out' feeling at times as the years slip by :roll: Well done on a great walk :clap:
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby cparky3 » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:48 pm

Love that view from Fleetwith Pike! Impressed you got to Great Bourne and Starling Dodd. Still got those to do, and need to find a good route up Pillar...

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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby dav2930 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:04 pm

One of Lakeland's finest; definitely worth following the whole ridge out to Great Borne (or opposite direction). I'm not surprised you couldn't stop taking photos on a day like that!

- "Or perhaps it's just that the hills work their magic anew every time one is among them." - Nail on head! :D
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:04 pm

thefallwalker wrote:great report of the finest area in the LD! :clap: :D As i have often stated on many forums, Fleetwith pike has in my opinion the most stunning views of all the Wainwrights 8) & goes to prove that they don't have to be big to be beautiful :D :D


Thanks TFW. A fine area it surely surely is; and they certainly don't have be big to be beautiful - north of the border Sgurr na Stri proves that beyond all argument. Mind you, Fleetwith felt pretty big to me as I was ascending it :roll:

yellowbelly wrote:Loved reading your report on one of my favourite parts of the Lake District. Great effort and superb photos.
If you enjoyed that, why not try this sometime:
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=14144


I appreciate the kinds words, YB. But any merit in the photos has absolutely nothing to do with me - it's hard to go wrong here if the weather's OK. What it really needs is JKLL to walk it on a good weather day, and work his photo magic.

Your Ennerdale round looks great, and not so long ago I would have taken up your suggestion - I used to do quite a few longish routes - eg
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=51636
- which includes some of the hills on your walk. Unfortunately I recently developed a heart condition, which has drastically cut what I can do in a day, principally the amount of ascent I can managed. So this will have to remain a dream...

malky_c wrote:I enjoyed that :D . Not been on these hills in a while - I once did a shortened version of this, dropping back to Buttermere after Red Pike (which means I still haven't visited Great Bourne or Starling Dodd).

We weren't far away from you at this point - I think we were up Harter Fell above the Hardknott on Friday.


I simply cannot believe there some Hewitts you haven't visited!!!! :roll: :shock: :? This is an area that will stand many many visits, though.

I did squint south when on High Stile - and I had my binocs with me - but I didn't espy you. I think you must have been on the eastern slopes of Harter Fell when I looked, so Scafell was in the way... :D

prog99 wrote:I must have walked past fleetwith pike plenty of times now without visiting the summit, must rectify this next time I am up at honister. Otherwise I’ve done pretty much the same round before, have you ever visited the tiny bothy up there?

As far as crowds go, I was also in the lakes Friday to Sunday and it seemed quieter than normal tbh. 2 other folk on the summit of great gable.


I didn't realise that there was a bothy there until a few days ago, when I was reading an old report of Malky_c's, otherwise I would have paid it a visit.

Really surprised to hear that you didn't encounter many folk on the weekend. I did a round on the Coniston Fells a couple of weeks before this one, and Coniston Old Man was absolutely heaving. I'm always torn between being irritated by the crowds when I really wish for solitude, and being pleased that so many folk want to get out into the hills. Actually, if one chooses one's times, one can be alone on even the most popular hills: Snowdon is one of my local hills, and on several occasions I've been the only person there.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby prog99 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:56 pm

Really surprised to hear that you didn't encounter many folk on the weekend.

Maybe the cafes? Was genuinely surprised to top out of our climb to a nice peaceful summit.
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Re: A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:32 pm

vuirich wrote:A lovely walk with cracking photos. It's been a few years since I was last on the High Stile range - must rectify that soon. The descent of Fleetwith Pike's west ridge is also a joy as you have the magnificent view of the Buttermere valley ahead of you all the time.

Thanks for the kind words ref. photos. Sadly, it has little to do with me, and everything to do with the wonderful place.

I can well imagine - from the very many stop-and-look-backs I made on the ascent :wink: - that a descent along Fleetwith Edge would be a joy. I have many many pics from that unique day that bear affirmative witness to this proposition!!!


johnkaysleftleg wrote:I really like the route up Fleetwith Edge, all those false summits give good excuses to turn around and admire what must be one of the finest views in England. As for the views from the High Stile ridge I'll have to simply enjoy you pics as both my ventures up there were clag bound in the main.

Or you could go up there when there's an auspicious forecast?? I'd love to see the pics you'd take from the High Stile Ridge - which would undoubtedly go a lot further than mine towards showing the area in all its glory.


trailmasher wrote:A great report and pics of a very beautiful part of the LD :clap: and I never tire of walking around there AK 8) I've done that same route a couple of times but in the opposite direction to you. As for taking it easy when climbing I think we all get that 'worn out' feeling at times as the years slip by :roll: Well done on a great walk :clap:

Thanks TM. Yes, it's clear that this would be an area and a route it would be hard to tire of. My keenness to walk it built up over time through seeing it from walks on both the north and south sides.


cparky3 wrote:Love that view from Fleetwith Pike! Impressed you got to Great Bourne and Starling Dodd. Still got those to do, and need to find a good route up Pillar...

Actually doing those last few km north-west from Red Pike doesn't pose that much of a physical challenge, even if you've done the route clockwise - at least not compared with the ascent of High Crag!!
Never walked up Pillar from this side, so I can't make any suggestions for a good route...

dav2930 wrote:One of Lakeland's finest; definitely worth following the whole ridge out to Great Borne (or opposite direction). I'm not surprised you couldn't stop taking photos on a day like that!

- "Or perhaps it's just that the hills work their magic anew every time one is among them." - Nail on head! :D

Seems like there's a strong faction in favour of the proposition that this is indeed one of Lakeland's finest!!!
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