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" Buttermere - round the Lake "

Date & start time:       2nd March 2024.   11 am start.

Location of Start :      The National Trust car park, Buttermere, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 173 172)

Places visited :            Dubbs Bridge, Burtness Woods, Gatesgarth, Hassness and back.

Walk details :               5 miles, 375 ft of undulating ascent, 2 hours 30 mins, excluding lunch.

Highest point :           Walking the whole round when we weren't expecting to.

Walked with :              Loes and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Overnight snow on the hills, a gentle cool breeze, sunny to start.



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With snow blanketing the high fells and the sun shining beautifully, it was time to head up the valley to enjoy the spectacle.

With a slightly poorly dog and a companion with a potential limp too, we stay low and headed off round the lake.

How far we get, depends on the weather and how the team are doing as we reach Burtness Woods.

Hunter Davies's old house against a back drop of a very white Whiteside. 

From Lanthwaite Green the outlier of Whin Ben appears slightly darker due to a lighter snow cover.

(Note to self:  that looks a great place for a walk tomorrow)

As the road drops down towards Cinderdale there's a layby with a great view up Crummock Water towards Red Pike.

- - - o o o - - -

Lingcomb Edge shines a brilliant white, whilst Red Pike loses that brilliance due to the shade of a passing cloud.

We've parked at the Trust car park here in Buttermere.

Heading out on the walk, the contrast of the green fields and bracken to the white of the upland snow is amazing.

Our first sighting of new season lambs this year is in the home field of Crag Farm.

I would think that this one has just been born today.
Another youngster, but he/she's a bit different ?

Crag Farm's Nanny goat has had a young kid of her own . . . another very recent arrival.

We head out past The Fish, now the Buttermere Court Hotel, on the circular path round the lake.

Looking back at Whiteless Pike and Grasmoor shining out above the village.

The snow distorts the appearance and emphasises the size and outline of Knott Rigg / Ard Crags,

making it seemingly tower over Syke Farm and it's out buildings.

Down by the lake . . . a first view of Fleetwith Pike through a recently cut and stacked pile of Larch logs.

- - - o o o - - -


Loes crosses the bridge over Buttermere Dubbs.

The new bridge is blending in now

as the timber weathers and the colours become more muted.



With the cold conditions

Sour Milk Gill is not as full of water as expected.

Recent rains have fallen as snow of course

and are still lying on the upper slopes

rather than cascading down into the valley.


- - - o o o - - -


Looking across the foot of Buttermere lake.

The gate and shallow water acts as a ford point for the river and presumably the stacked logs travelled that route from Burtness Wood.

Fortunately the forest track has not been damaged by the recent timber work.

Dougal found a small stick to carry . . .
. . . but I think it was just too big to take much further.

Hassness House nestles beneath High Bank, as seen across the nearly calm waters of Buttermere.

Looking back down the lake at snow-covered Mellbreak, Rannerdale Knotts, Grasmoor, Whiteless and Wandope.

The fell to the right is High Snockrigg, which leads up onto Robinson (out of picture).

The bright sunshine and blue skies seem to be clouding over

the change of weather being brought about by the clouds carried in on the cool north easterly breeze.

Burtness Wood passed, Loes strides out towards the trees at Horse Close.

It seems the good path and level walking is not causing too many problems for either woman or dog.

- - - o o o - - -



A brief sit on the slate bench by the trees . . .

then it's on towards the head of Buttermere.



As we approach the top of the lake

the bothy becomes nicely framed by the trees

and the camera catches it

and the reflections

in both the river and the lake.



- - - o o o - - -

When the lake stops, turn left for Gatesgarth and go cross Peggy's Bridge !

Fine weather still characterises the skies to the north west

but the Highland cattle are more interested in the many visitors that are passing close to their field.

The Haystacks horseshoe of fells, as seen from the track close to Peggy's Bridge.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger annotated panorama.

The snow line on Haystacks, as elsewhere in the valley, seems to stop around the 200m contour.

Gatesgarth Farmhouse and the little Mountain Rescue hut tucked away in the back garden.

It's back to the road for half a mile as we approach the Buttermere Pines and regain the head of the lake.

An old Ash has battled the odds and has a reasonable growth of new branches to its credit.

It is rather one sided growth, but from here the majestic pines catch the eye instead.

Looking across the water at our outward path and to High Crag / High Stile on the skyline.

The corrie is called Burtness Comb and the small woodland is the one named on the map as Horse Close that we passed earlier.

Another landmark Ash on the promontory close to Hassness House.

The cold,  damp winter is not showing it off to its seasonal best.

More large Scots Pines between the lake and the lakeside path.
Two leafy tide-lines show recent changes in water levels.

This would be a difficult section of the path to maintain dry feet if the water level was close to that higher mark.

The cut path below the Dalegarth Woods.
Where the cliff edges the lake, a tunnel has been cut.

The structure has seen many feet passing through and a number of large puddles have formed both at the entrance and deeper in the tunnel.


Still we are through dry shod

if a bit wet and muddy on the outside of our boots.


From here on the path crosses the meadow

and then climbs slightly into the next woodland.

- - - o o o - - -

One of the features of Pike Rigg path is a rock-cut gully for the surface water.
From here on the path is wide and easy to walk.

It leaves the lake and heads off towards the village.

The other option would have been to swing left and follow the lake shore back to the wood stack and then rejoin our outward track.

The path skirts the rock bluff and climbs a hidden set of pitched steps by the trees.

That took us up to meet the track to Bowderbeck House, in the trees off to the right.

But the village is in sight so we turned left at the gate and headed for Wilkinsyke Farm.

A busy farm yard with a footpath through it . . . please shut the gates !

The welcoming lights of home . . . well Syke Farm Cafe at least.

The ice cream machine is turned off for the winter

but the menu this cool day offers great soup, Buttermere Pies or other hot meals instead . . . it's decision time !

A short while later, after talking to walking friends who also had the same culinary desires as us, we were off again.

The colourful Herdwicks of Syke Farm have been gathered in for checking prior to lambing.

As an upland breed it is probably too soon for them to be actually lambing yet, unlike the other breeds we saw earlier.

- - - o o o - - -


It just remains for the short walk

through the village and up the hill,

back to wards Crag Farm

and the National Trust car park just beyond.


The daffodils are out here

as are the first flowers on the Hawthorn or May branches.

Despite the snow, there are signs of Spring on the way.


Dylan seems to have coped with the walk well

but I'm sure he'll sleep well tonight.

I'm sure I saw him smiling when we reached the open fell paths.


- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with my iPhone 11pro mobile phone camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a walk which exceeded expectations.

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Previous walk - 29th February 2024 - Smithy Beck Trail

A previous time up here - 25th March 2023 - An Afternoon Buttermere

Next walk - 3rd March 2024 - Whiteside Snow