Return to Whittle Wanderer

Buttermere, Innominate Tarn, Haystacks, Seat, High Stile, Red Pike, Cumbria.
[17.4 km]  Tue 17 Jul 2018

Lat/Long: 54.541937, -03.274483
OS Grid ref:
NY 17645 17045
I
t was a drizzly morning as I set off to drive north along the M6. The weather was overcast all the way to the start of my walk as I've returned to Buttermere. Thankfully the earlier rain had stopped but the cloud was fairly low. I left the car in the small parking area on the Newlands Valley Road and walk down into Buttermere through a farmyard to follow the Buttermere shore path. It is the same route I took last week but this time I'm walking it the other way.

H
assness tunnel and Butermere
The idea is to hopefully get some views across Buttermere but the weather was too overcast and dull for decent pictures. However it did give me the chance to walk through the Hassness tunnel again from the other direction. I joined the road and walked to Gatesgarth Farm where I left the road to head up the path into Warnscale Bottom. This was my return route last week but this time I am climbing up the valley on the opposite side of the river on a path I haven't walked for many years. Unlike the other side which is well made this route is extremely rocky and easy to follow but not good under foot. I reached Green Craig and there were already several walkers out. I could see Blackbeck Tarn on my left as I headed directly west on the path up towards Haystacks.
Fleetwith Pike

Warnscale Bottom

Looking down on Buttermere

Innominate Tarn
Innominate Tarn:
Hereabouts lie the last earthly remains of A. Wainwright, the Author of the ultimate and definitive guide books on the Cumbrian fells. To the right I've quoted from his 'Fellwanderer' book.
That day will come when there is nothing left but memories. And afterwards, a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn, on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time, and be carried: someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me alone.
And if you, dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It may be me. A.W.
It is an interesting route as there are excellent views down into the valley and towards Buttermere. It didn't take long to reach Innominate Tarn which is where the ashes were scattered of Alfred Wainwright. I stopped for a while to take some pictures with a moody backdrop of clouds over Kirk Fell. The path continued upwards but over the summit of haystacks the path splits into several directions so I headed for the highest which passed a small tarn and then starting the fairly steep descent which was quite scrambley in places but thankfully the rocks were clean and easy to negotiate. The initial steep section gave way to a well-made path taking me down to Scarth Gap. I was surprised how many people were out on the fells and some people coming up from Buttermere didn't look the fittest of walkers.

Innominate Tarn
 Crossing the gap I headed up Seat and left the path for a while to have a look on the other side and down into Ennerdale. Up ahead I started up Gamlin End which is a very steep climb up to High Craig. It wasn't as bad as it looked as the path is very well made and zig zags to avoid the worst of the gradient. I caught up with a large group of walkers on the summit and was glad to continue past them as they were making a lot of noise. The weather was variable and a few spots of rain earlier didn't last long. However the visibility came and went and although I could see in the distance there was no sun breaking through and cloud would occasionally come swirling across the mountain summits.
The path was generally good and as I headed for High Stile I noticed a group of young people walking the other way with large rucksacks looking like they were backpacking. One of them had a map and seemed to be in charge of the route finding as the rest were following him blindly. I continued through a mix of swirling cloud and occasional clear patches to the summit of Red Pike where several people had stopped for a rest after climbing up from Buttermere. There is no proper cairn as such but reasonable shelter stones where some people were already using it to eat there sandwiches and avoid the wind
Butty time
It had started to feel a bit chilly because of a fall in temperature down to 8 degrees C with a strong westerly wind. The descent down the saddle was quite tricky as it was loose red scree and quite steep and lose in places. It seemed to take an awful long time to get down to the flat grassy area at the saddle where I made a short detour to the Dodd promontory which has extremely good views up and down the Valley from Crummock Water and Buttermere. I returned to the path and started my descent. The main way down his via Bleaberry Tarn but that is the way all the tourists were using so I decided to avoid it. My way was to the north descending on a minor path which was quite easy at first and then it swung round to the left to join the line of a small beck.
Crummock Water from Red Pike
The path followed down with a mix of rock and grass but generally easy to negotiate. I reached a wall where a gap had a wooden fence gate across it which I could easily climb around. I was approaching Near Ruddy Beck and found a minor path through the ferns continuing very steeply down towards Bettermere Dubs. It wasn't particularly enjoyable as I was wading through ferns and there were lots of flies. The last bit was through trees where the path was quite loose and difficult in places. I reach the main valley bottom path and turned right to follow parallel to Buttermere Dubs. At Scale Bridge I crossed over. This Bridge was fine and was being used as the diversion route for the other missing bridge to the south. Once over I followed the farm track back towards Buttermere. I could see a few people looking at the warning notice saying that Dubs Bridge was out and they should take the diversion. However I mentioned to them that they could still cross the river if they were going that way if they used the stepping stones as I did last week. It was then a short walk back to my car where the rest of the parking area was now packed with cars.