Fellwalking: High Stile

Red Pike from High Stile

“High Stile is the pivot, the central point and the loftiest of a closely knit trinity of peaks on an elevated ridge between Buttermere and Ennerdale … The rewards of a visit to High Stile more than compensate for the effort in getting there.”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

Another walk from the archives … and a magnificent walk it is – a highly recommended Lake District ridge walk centred on the lovely village and lake of Buttermere.

Parking near the church just above Buttermere village we took the bridleway that proceeds south towards Burtness Wood, continuing uphill as we entered the woods on the path that soon starts to climb steeply westwards by the south side of Sourmilk Gill toward Red Pike. After passing Bleaberry Tarn, the path gets steeper and the final pull up to the summit of Red Pike is quite an effort, but worth it for the magnificent views from the ridge, which may extend out to the coast if the weather is kind.

From Red Pike we followed the path south-east to High Stile and then on to High Crag, this section is not particularly difficult and in fine weather it is worth taking your time and savouring the views. North of the ridge are excellent views of Crummock Water, Buttermere and the north-western fells including Grasmoor and Eel Crag. To the east, Fleetwith Pike and the old slate mine tramway. South-eastwards you’ll see Haystacks and beyond Great Gable, and to the south, Pillar.

After High Crag, the path descends rather steeply to meet Scarth Gap Pass. At this path, you can turn north and follow the bridleway downhill to the shore of Buttermere, finishing with a pleasant stroll along a permissive path back through Burtness Wood. Alternatively, if you are feeling energetic, you can continue east up towards Haystacks and then keep following the path as it curls around past Innominate Tarn and Bleaberry Tarn to eventually pick up the path that descends by Warnscale back down towards Buttermere. This way requires a short road bash along the B5289, picking up another bridleway at Gatesgarth Farm that proceeds south-west to join the aforementioned bridleway and then permissive path back to the village of Buttermere.

All-in-all a great walk and one of my personal Lake District top 5 day walks.

My rating: A+
Map: OL4 – The English Lakes: North Western area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: Book 7: The Western Fells – Second Edition (Pictorial Guides)

Fellwalking – Haystacks

Summit of Haystacks

“If mountains had fan clubs, Haystacks would have a legion of members. And I would be the first to enrol.”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

We started this walk from Buttermere on a lovely, sunny summer’s day, following the bridleway that passes through Burtness Wood on the south side of Buttermere. After passing the end of Buttermere the path turns eastwards towards Gatesgarth and then south to Warnscale Bottom. We took the footpath that diverges south from the bridleway and then decided in our wisdom to scramble up by Black Beck which allows entrance to the higher ground through a small breach in the crags, but is not really recommended (better to keep following the footpath that rises to the east of Green Crag).

From here it was an easy walk westwards along the tops, past the beautiful Innominate Tarn, to the summit of Haystacks (Hay Stacks on the OS map). Continuing on we reached Scarth Gap Pass, which we followed northwards back to Buttermere and a beer.

My rating: A+
Map: OL4 – The English Lakes: North Western area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The Western Fells (50th Anniversary Edition): Book Seven (A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells)

Warnscale Bottom and Buttermere Innominate Tarn Burtness Wood Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks

Haystacks was Wainwright’s favourite mountain and his ashes were scattered by Innominate Tarn.

“…a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn, on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time, and be carried: someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone.”

Wainwright, “Fellwanderer”