10th February 2008

Cloud inversions from the High Stile ridge


Walk Overview
Time 09.10 to 13.30
Duration 4 hr 20 min
Distance 6.7 mile
Ascent 3400 ft
Walking with On my own
Buttermere - Old Burtness - Bleaberry Tarn - The Saddle - Red Pike - White Pike - High Stile - High Crag - Gamlin End - Scarth Gap Pass - Buttermere (lake) - Buttermere
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Buttermere Village

There are a few different options for parking in Buttermere. A couple of decent sized car parks the road side leading up past the church onto Newlands pass and the sneaky couple of spaces next to the bridge. Despite these options and the village being so small they all fill up pretty quickly.

For such a small village there are a couple of hotels / pubs, public toilets and a couple of tearooms, one of which sells the best ice cream you could ever hope to find.


Route Map

The Fish Hotel in Buttermere on what looks likes being a grey and dismal Sunday morning. I suppose down here is was a bit uninviting, but conditions in the valleys were showing perfect indications of cloud inversions above. Cold and cloud down to ground level is usually a good sign.

There is actually a lake in there somewhere.

Rannerdale Knotts on the left of the picture and Grasmoor & the north western fells rising above the clouds.
The top of the cloud was almost the same height as the top of Burtness Wood, so after ascending less then 500ft I was already above the cloud, and walking in warm sunshine.
This is a football fans equivalent of going to see their team play in the cup final (do they still have that?).

Looking in the opposite direction down the valley. The pointed fell on the right is Fleetwith Pike / Honister Crag.


A close up of the higher section of Burtness Wood.

Grasmoor behind Rannerdale Knotts.

And again.

Sail and Scar Crags is the ridge on the left and the ridge casting the shadow in the middle of the picture is Knott Rigg and Ard Crags.

Taken between Dodd and Red Pike this picture shows just how unbroken the cloud was in this part of the lakes. I may be wrong, but from what I could see of the other areas, I think I was in the best place today.
Crummock Water and Lorton Vale are down there under the cloud; honest.

Looking back from the start of my walk up the Saddle.
Lots of fells to name here, but far too difficult to explain which is which, or should that be which is where. Anyway, I'll name what I can pick out and you can pin the name on the fell.
Dodd (not the Skiddaw one), Whiteless Pike, Wandope, Crag Hill, Sail, Scar Crags, Causey Pike, Ard Crags, Knott Rigg, Grisedale Pike (just), Skiddaw, Skiddaw Lesser Man, Lonscale Fell, Blencathra, Latrigg, Cat Bells, Clough Head, Great Dodd, Robinson.

After leaving Red Pike I took a short detour across to White Pike so I could get a decent view into Ennerdale Valley.

These two pictures show there wasn't nearly the same amount of cloud in Ennerdale as there was in the next valley along.

A broadside view of Red Pike. You can see how it gets its name.
The fell behind Red Pike is Mellbreak and beyond that is Low Fell & Fellbarrow.

Another photo of the north western fells and Skiddaw in the far distance.

A close up of Blencathra and a few of the other northern fells. Just as with Ennerdale valley there doesn't seem to be as much cloud over there as I was seeing in Buttermere.


A close up of the top of the cloud on the opposite side of the valley.

Low Fell & Fellbarrow in the distance and Grasmoor rising high on the right hand side of the picture. The little pointed fell near the centre is Rannerdale Knotts.

Looking down Gamlin End. Very steep and very loose under foot.

Low Raven Crag (the bottom bit on Fleetwith Pike).

I'd lost a fair bit of height by the time I'd reached this point and was nearing the cloud again, so I was trying to make sure I didn't miss anything. What I did manage to photo was this silhouette of Haystacks , , ,

, , , this view across to Fleetwith Pike and, , , ,

, , , this view down the valley.
Then the views were gone.

Walking through Burtness Wood.
A few of people I passed said hello and commented on how awful the day was. They looked a bit surprised when I said it was more like a summers day up on the tops where I'd been.

Reflection on Buttermere almost looking like a black and white photo.

And close up.
A truly fantastic day on the fells.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks