Favourite Buttermere Walks


Over the past few days we have been talking NON STOP about Buttermere, about the walks, the pubs and the views. Our Facebook page has been a hive of activity with people entering our competition to win Valentine's weekend at Middle Cragg Cottage. This got me thinking about all the fabulous walks in the area and I have written a guide to our pick of the best.

Walking at ButtermereRound the Lake
The circuit of the lake is really beautiful and understandably popular. It can get quite busy during high season. I say throw convention out of the window and get up at the very crack of dawn for this walk. You will have nothing but nature to contend with as the sun rises over the skyline of Littledale Edge and Dale Head. Take your time, stop and enjoy the quiet and watch out for elusive otters on the banks of the lake, red squirrels and deer in the woods or even a fox or a badger on their way home from a night out. The path round the lake is 4.5 miles in distance and undulating.

Buttermere in the Lake District

High Stile Range
This is possibly my favourite high level walk in the Lake District. The views are expansive and the walking fairly easy once you have gained the height of the ridge. My preferred route is via Red Pike, with a descent to Scarth Gap Pass via Gamlin End. No longer a scree filled nightmare, there are nice rock steps to make your way down hill. The walk covers around 9 miles and 3,100 feet of ascent, so it is a full on day walk. Once you have reached the top of Red Pike you can see as the views are expansive. The walk up to High Crag is not as tough as it looks and the views from here almost make you giddy.

One point of interest on the way are the fence posts. These iron posts are all that remains after the rest of the fences were cut down and used in the war effort during WWII.

By Bus to Braithwaite
From Easter, the Rambler bus service runs between Keswick and Buttermere via Whinlatter and Honister. I use this service for linear walks – it feels great knowing you can walk and walk without needing to worry about getting back to the car. I recommend taking the bus from Buttermere to the village of Braithwaite and making your way up Grisedale Pike. From the summit, a myriad of choices are open to you. The ridge from Grisedale Pike to Whiteside rolls out in front of you heading west, Eel Crag sits across Coledale Hause with Grasmoor too, or the interesting path along Gasgale Gill. 

The route back to Buttermere via Hopegill Head is an airy and undulating ridge walk with an excellent path all the way along. It is also my favourite.

Rannerdale bluebells

Rannerdale Knotts
This beautiful walk is a favourite of everyone here at Sally’s. The carpet of bluebells is a sight to behold against brilliant blue skies and the craggy outline of the fell. A path from the small National Trust parking area will take you into the small valley and a modest walk to the ridge will reward you grandly for your efforts. Once on the broad summit ridge continue right to the end. From here you get an amazing vista which includes all three lakes, with Crummock directly below you, and the fells from Fleetwith Pike all the way round to Mellbreak. From here you can carefully descend the front of Rannerdale Knotts (quite steep in places) or simply retrace your steps for an equally lovely walk in the opposite direction.

If you are visiting during May then this is time to be in Rannerdale – the hidden valley becomes a blaze of bluebells during late spring. This valley has a bloody history – it is where the valley folk lay in wait for Norman invaders in the 11th or 12th Century and ambushed them, winning the battle. The slain invaders were left were they fell and it is said this is why the blue bells grow so profusely in this little corner of the western lakes.

We have a guide to the Buttermere and Crummock Water area. Click on the highlighted link to read more.