Buttermere North Eastern Circuit

View across Buttermere from Grassgarth CoppiceWhen I got to Buttermere the cloud was clearing but there was heavy mist on the tops of the hills. I walked out of the National Trust car park, turned right to walk along the road, and almost immediately turned left through a gate onto a path going directly directly uphill; I walked through bracken at first and then it became a long grassy slog upwards. The gradient eased and I walked across the shoulder above Whiteless Breast, when I started to feel drizzle coming down from the cloud on Eel Crag so it seemed sensible to put on full waterproofs.

Just under the clouds on Whiteless PikeThere was more grassy climbing before suddenly having to clamber over a rocky sections and then walk up the eroded stony path to the summit of Whiteless Pike. I descended to a small col, then made a steady climb on grass into the cloud; Third Gill falls away steeply on the right, and where the path splits, I kept to the right hand branch above the gill. At the top of the path, a short detour to the left took me to Thirdgill Head Man, from where I had to take a compass bearing before walking across featureless grass in the mist; there are several faint paths, but I had to keep navigating until I reached the summit of Wandope on the edge of Addacombe Hole.

Summit of Eel CragI walked on the path that keeps close to the edge of the corrie before climbing upwards; I traversed across pathless grass to find another path that I knew would be closer to where I wanted to be. I crossed more grass until I reach the main cairned path leading to the triangulation at the summit of Eel Crag. I checked my compass before following another cairned path, it's no place to take chances with navigation when you are by yourself in the mist; the path makes an eroded rocky descent, and goes across the narrow ridge called The Scar.

Looking forward to Causey PikeThere is a rugged climb up towards the summit of Sail, but you have to remember to turn left from the highest point of the path, to reach its measly cairn standing in the everlasting summit puddle. I descended on a newly reconstructed path, one of the new fangled bulldozer-built type, raised above the surrounding fragile ground; the old path was in desperate need of repair, and the new zig-zag route makes a good walking surface.

When I reached Sail Pass, the mechanical digger and and pathbuilder tools were still there, and a freshly reconstructed path took me upwards on the first part of the ascent to Scar Crags; on its summit plateau there is a cairn at each end, both are exactly at the same height. I made an easy descent and then an undulating climb; the mist cleared and I was able to see the serrated ridge, leading to Causey Pike.

Reconstructed path on SailAt the summit of Causey Pike I removed my waterproofs and jacket, it had become warmer as the mist cleared, and walked back along the ridge to Scar Crags, and back down to Sail Pass. I descended left from the col on a stony path through the heather; it was in flower, and the heavy scent was the cause of the constant buzzing of bees taking advantage of a huge food supply.

Quite a long way down, there are the remains of a cairn on the right of the path, and another smaller path heads downwards on the left; it was obvious, and not too wet until I reached a stream in the small valley between the ridges. I crossed the stream and headed upwards towards a disturbance in the grass, probably rock, which is best observed to remember its position whilst descending beforehand.

View of Causey Pike from Ard Cragsdiagonally upwards, eventually reaching the ridge running parallel to the one I had descended, precisely at the summit of Ard Crags. I turned right to follow the descending ridge, before making the climb upwards and on to the summit of Knott Rigg. There is then a long descent on easy grass to Newlands Hause, the steepness makes it a bit too easy; a girl running with a dog on a lead, went too fast and fell over before sliding to a stop, she seemed to be alright but it was a good job there were no boulders in her way.

View of Newlands Hause from Knott RiggThere is a busy car park at the Hause, where the tourists stop to admire, and sometimes visit the waterfall; after crossing the road, I climbed up a steep path, not the waterfall viewing path, until I reach the soggy plateau of Buttermere Moss. I followed a faint path and kept bearing right until I reached the small cairn at the summit of High Snockrigg. It was by now a glorious warm, sunny afternoon and I sat and thought about Robinson, but after a long walk I didn't feel motivated enough for an extra two hours.

View from High SnockriggI retraced my steps on the faint path, until I came to another path turning left by the side of an initially shallow gully; it was a mainly straightforward descent, but it was rugged and swampy in places, taking me back to Buttermere.

Andy Wallace 14th August 2010

© 2003 - 2018 By Andy Wallace. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from the author is prohibited.

Back to Walking in Cumbria