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Buttermere, Scarth Gap Pass, Black Sail Youth Hostel, Blackbeck Tarn, Dubs Hut, Hassness tunnel, Cumbria.
[16.8 km]  Thu 12 Jul 2018

Lat/Long: 54.541987, -03.274482
OS Grid ref:
NY 17645 17050
After recent clear weather the drive north along the M6 was overcast and a bit cooler. I turned off at Penrith and drove past Keswick and over Whinlatter Pass to Buttermere village. I left my car at the small parking area by the road above the village were a few cars were already parked. I walked back down the road and joined the track south towards Buttermere shore. Buttermere Dubs is the outlet river and when I got there the footbridge had been removed with a diversion sign indicating back where I’d come from. The ludicrous thing is there was no sign back in Buttermere village.

Footbridge out

Stepping stones

Looking towards Fleetwith Pike from the Buttermere path
I wasn’t too bothered as the river would have been easy to wade. Nearer the lake there were several stepping stones so it was easy to cross. I was following the south shore path and that had a short length closed with a barrier that was easy to walk round. I wandered along the path with overcast views until I reached the southern end of the lake where I turned off the main path to head up the fellside on the Scarth Gap Pass path. It was a steady climb on a good path and higher up were bags of rocks ready for path improvements.
Looking back to Buttermere from the Scarth Gap Pass path

Ennerdale view from the promontory
A small sign by the path said:
Caution - Rangers undertaking path repairs, please proceed with care.
Find out more twitter @NTScafellpike
The summit of the pass is flat and crossed by the path for the main Haystacks and High Stile popular path and there were already a few people on it. I crossed over and started my descent into Ennerdale. I hadn’t been descending long before I noticed an interesting promontory protruding above the valley on my right.
There was also a path heading towards it so I wandered over for a look. It gave a good view of the valley and on to the Ennerdale Water in the distance. It was grassy and flat so I stopped for my sandwiches. I was surprised to get a signal for my phone and it would make a good camping spot as there is a small stream nearby which was running in spite of the recent dry weather.
Welcome to YHA Black Sail
I returned to the Scarth Gap path and descended to the vehicle track and on towards Black Sail Hut Youth Hostel. There was a landrover parked outside and the warden was just saying good bye to a couple of walkers heading up the valley. I stopped to have a chat and look round. I told him I first saw the Hostel when doing the Coast to Coast route about 40 years ago. He told me they’d celebrated their 85th anniversary on 24th April and Chris Brasher (1928-2003) was a frequent visitor. He had to drive off to do some shopping so I continued up the valley on a soft grassy path.
Scaw Well and Starling Dodd

Black Sail Youth Hostel

Hostel interior

In memory of Chris Brasher (1928 - 2003)
The path path started to climb steeply up the right side of Loft Beck. Up ahead I could see the couple who’d left Black Sail earlier and I caught up with them when they stopped for a rest. I reached the summit then descended to Blackbeck Tarn where I had an interesting view of the tarn with Crummock Water away in the distance. I joined the popular Haystacks path which was very busy.  One walking group must have been 20 strong. Too big for me. I walked to the Dubs Hut bothy which I haven’t visited for several years. There was a man there who’d just called in but had used it for overnight stays in the past. The hut had been much improved with a new roof put on last year.
Blackbeck Tarn, Crummock Water
and Mellbreak in the distance

Dubs Hut

Dubs Hut c1960

Dubs Hut interior

Dubs Hut interior
I started my descent down the steep path above Warnscales Beck towards Gastesgarth. Thankfully the gradient eased as I descended further. At the B5289 road at Gatesgarth I turned left to head back towards Buttermere. It was fairly busy with cars and walkers. Before Hassness I joined the lakeside path and soon came to the Hassness tunnel that I’ve never visited before.
Buttermere, Crummock water and Mellbreak

Across Buttermere to High Crag

Hassness tunnel
 Apparently the tunnel was cut in the 1880s by employees of George Benson, a 19th-century Manchester mill owner who then owned the Hassness Estate. He wanted to be able to walk around the lake without straying too far from its shore. The path continued busy all the way back to Buttermere village where I returned to my car.