Buttermere Fells: Fleetwith Pike to Red Pike
by poppiesrara » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:08 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere)
Hewitts included on this walk: Fleetwith Pike, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere)
Date walked: 16/04/2014
Time taken: 5.5
Distance: 16.25 km
Ascent: 1405m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It’s a pretty relentlessly steep mile up the nose of Fleetwith Pike from Buttermere lake, but a really good one on a twisting path and a few little scrambles through the rocks; tremendous views back to the valley behind and the High Stile ridge each of the many times you stop for a breath. Not a route if you get annoyed by false summits though – there are at least three, and they aren’t nearly as close to the real thing as you feel you’ve earnt…
The far side of the summit is quite a contrast, a wasteland of brown heather and mine-workings stretching flatly towards Great Gable, half-paths cutting down to the highway to Haystacks. The climb there from Dubs Bottom is a lovely undulating mile’s walking among tarns and rocky crops, but then everyone already knows that! - it’s very busy here even on an April Wednesday and, I imagine, perhaps excessively so on a summer weekend. Fine views all round from the summit, but nothing is more striking than the sharp mountain triangle of High Crag rising from the ridge west, dauntingly steep and stony.
Some good work has been done on the path either side of Scarth Gap, well-graded and sympathetic stone steps laid on the climb to Seat and then much of the face of High Crag. It does degenerate into shifting scree for the final 100 yards or so, but not much more – the sight of what seems the former path alongside during the ascent shows just how nasty a climb this must once have been however. The three fells along the ridge look strikingly dramatic from Buttermere below, dizzying curved crags carved out of the north faces, and no less so close at hand, but the walk between them is actually on pretty gentle stony slopes - easy going even in a stinging salty wind.
This was generally a great walk, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the initial descent from Red Pike is just horrible – unavoidable steep and loose red scree that constantly slides away beneath your feet. You can just about crab left onto manageable grass after a time, but it must be hard to do it without a fall or two first – I certainly couldn’t. It’s alright from Dodd downwards, where the path-repairers have been to work and built long zigzags of big rough stones down to the woods – still quite tiring high-concentration walking for much of the way, but life will be a lot better when they’ve turned their attention to working a miracle with the top slopes too. The shoreline path on the west tip of Buttermere is closed for now (until the end of June - nesting birds) – the diversion through the village and back to the darkening lakeside is perfectly pleasant and looks nothing on the map, but my ageing calves could have done without it! A wonderful Lakes day nonetheless.
by stevesey » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:33 am
by Broggy1 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:11 am
by simon-b » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:08 pm
by Sarah86 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:29 pm
by simon-b » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:34 pm
Sarah86 wrote:I...found Innominate Tarn a good resting point.
I guess A. Wainwright agrees with that.
by ChrisW » Fri May 02, 2014 2:59 am