Pike and High
Starting point and OS Grid reference:
and display car park at Buttermere village (NY
Ordnance Survey Map
The English Lakes – North Western Area.
Distance: 7.7 miles
Date of Walk: 29 April 2011
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Introduction: This walk involves a very steep ascent up a
scree gully on to aptly named Red Pike and an equally steep descent from
Seat to Scarth Gap Pass. It is however a great ridge walk with contrasting
views from the almost unreasonable prettiness of the Buttermere Valley to
the north east and the rugged Scafell Range to the south east and a great
profile of Pillar. There are also views down the usually deserted Ennerdale
Depending on your fitness and enthusiasm, the
walk could easily be lengthened to include Haystacks but after the ascent
and descents mentioned above this might be a climb too far!
Start: The walk starts from the car park at
Buttermere village (NY
173169) where you will need plenty of change to meet the cost! There
are toilets here too. Walk back down the car park road and turn right in
front of the Fish Hotel and follow the sign for Buttermere Lake down a broad
track. Where this forks, take the left fork. At the lake, turn right and
follow the line of the lakeshore towards the trees.
As you get to the corner
of the lake, cross over the stream on the little bridge and take the
attractive route through the trees on the steep stone stepped path (NY
As you exit the trees stay on the obvious main path and you will
arrive at the gorgeous setting of Bleaberry Tarn (NY 167155) with Red Pike
rising above. The path to the summit is clear and it is obvious how the
mountain got its name.
Take the path up Red Pike. As you approach
the higher part, the path becomes ever steeper and loose shale makes for
frustrating walking. Eventually, you struggle up a narrow gully to achieve
the summit (NY 161155).
The summit itself is unremarkable having
little to mark it other than a crude shelter but the views are terrific of
Crummock Water and Ennerdale. The route along the ridge heads south at first
before swinging south east to High Stile. There is a line of old iron fence
posts and if you keep to the left of these, you will arrive at High Stile.
However, do not keep them to your right beyond High Stile or you will meet a
sticky end! Some are close to the precipices!
There are some craggy outcrops between Red
Pike and High Stile which can provide a sheltered spot for lunch, depending
on wind direction.
High Stile is marked by a large stone cairn
(NY 171149). The view from here along the ridge back to Red Pike is
From the cairn, backtrack a few yards then
turn left and follow the ridge along to High Crag (NY 180141) and Seat (NY
186134). Stone cairns indicate the way.
There now begins an extremely steep descent
to Scarth Gap Pass. It is loose shale underfoot for a time and then the path
becomes “manicured” with stone steps having been laid. At the bottom, a
large stone cairn marks the pass (NY 189133). Straight ahead is the mass of
Haystacks but I decided to save this for another day.
Turn left at the Scarth Gap Pass Cairn and
follow the obvious path down to the lakeshore. Turn left at the lake and
follow the shore back to Buttermere. This last mile or so alongside
beautiful Buttermere lake is a
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