Lakes of the Lakes : Buttermere

Lakes of the Lakes : Buttermere

ROUTE STATS (including map)

Buttermere

I’ll get straight to the point and say that a walk around Buttermere is perhaps the best short walk in the Lake District.

It has everything. Really it does. I even started making a list of what’s good about it and it ran to several pages. Something like this:

  • Stunning scenery
  • Good paths
  • Reflections
  • Cracking fells
  • You can swim in it
  • There are some fine pubs and cafés
  • You can sleep on a campsite, in a youth hostel or a hotel
  • Approaching via the Honister Pass is fun
  • You get to walk through a tunnel
  • It’s not too long
  • There’s woodland
  • There are sheep
  • It’s great for a picnic
  • You can see (and climb) Wainwright’s favourite mountain – Haystacks
  • It’s difficult to get lost
  • There are waterfalls
  • There are cliffs
  • It’s perfect for all ages

You get the idea. It’s pretty special.

The best short walk in the Lake District?

With several miles of Crummock Water already in my legs, I picked up my walk around Buttermere. The sunlight shone through the trees and I picked out the peaks of High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike across the water. Every colour imaginable is on show, particular during these late Autumn months.

It’s only a short walk but what it lacks in length it makes up for in interest. A short tunnel carved through the rock adds a dollop of excitement for children and adults alike and the pebbly beaches at strategic intervals are ideal for lingering.

You’ll gaze up at the magnificent amphitheatre formed by the cliffs of Haystacks as it swoops towards the spine of Fleetwith Pike. And you’ll need to fight the temptation not to head up the path towards Scarth Gap into the exciting mountain terrain beyond.

The path on the opposite side to the road is delightful, with the waters of Comb Beck cascading down the hillside, making way for a peaceful saunter through Burtness Wood.

As you reach Sour Milk Gill, the walk comes to an end all too soon. But not for me. I had the final stretch of Crummock Water to negotiate…

Sibling rivalry

Despite being close to its bigger brother Crummock Water, Buttermere is clearly the more popular sibling. It’s as if both had the same opportunities in life but forged different paths. Buttermere did what was expected of it. Worked hard. Got a good job. Reaped the rewards with increased visitors.

But the demands are starting to show. Cars everywhere. Litter. Signs telling visitors to be considerate.

Crummock took a different path. It preferred a wilder existence. A quieter life. Somewhere to stretch its legs. It’s successful in its own right but enjoys a slower pace of life. It doesn’t have quite the same demands placed on it and doesn’t live under the same pressures.

So, as I sat on a rock, some might say contemplatively, taking in the views of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks, I realised that’s why, despite Buttermere being the best short walk in the Lake District, I’d always turn towards Crummock Water.


Highs and Lowdown (1)

Buttermere

Rating

Start / Finish: Start from either the Buttermere end or the car park at Gatesgarth.

Distance: 3.75 miles (6 km)

Navigation: Easy

Terrain: Excellent

Facilities: Various options in Buttermere – The Bridge, The Fish, YHA Buttermere and nearby campsites

CLICK FOR ROUTE MAP

*These routes and descriptions are only ever intended to be a personal record of my adventures, which may inspire your own. Hillwalking involves a degree of risk, so please make sure you are properly equipped and prepared if you choose to follow them.


Highs and Lowdown (2)

Crummock Water and Buttermere Figure of Eight

Rating

Start / Finish: Car park on lake shore at Cinderdale Common

Distance: 11 miles (17.5 km)

Navigation: Straightforward (although paths around far side of Crummock Water can feel remote in bad weather)

Terrain: Average – the paths can get muddy and the streams swell in bad weather

Facilities: Various options in Buttermere – The Bridge, The Fish, YHA Buttermere and nearby campsites

CLICK FOR ROUTE MAP

*These routes and descriptions are only ever intended to be a personal record of my adventures, which may inspire your own. Hillwalking involves a degree of risk, so please make sure you are properly equipped and prepared if you choose to follow them.

Share this post
Comments are closed.
error: Content is protected !!