28th May 2016

The full High Stile Ridge - Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Time 7:45am to 4:30pm
Duration 8 hr 45 min
Distance 13.5 mile
Ascent 4500 ft - isn't far off
Walking with Paul Sharkey and Rod Hepplewhite
Honister Mines - Fleetwith Pike - Dubs Hut - Blackbeck Tarn - Innominate Tarn - Haystacks - top of Scarth Gap - Seat - Gamlin End - High Crag - High Stile - Red Pike - Little Dodd - Starling Dodd - Scaw Well - Great Borne - top of Red Gill - Mosedale - Scale Force - Scale Bridge - Buttermere
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Car park, Honister Mines

Given the size of the car park (s) here I'm tempted to say you'll find ample parking up here. This isn't always the case though. The popularity of the mine tours and the surrounding fells make this a very busy place indeed.

You have two options here, the mines car park and the national trust car park next to the Youth Hostel. They both cost about the same, so it doesn't really matter which one you try first.

Route Map


It's not very often I stop to take photos on route to start a walk but conditions at Crummock were too nice to ignore today. Time was also on my side so I thought why not.

I believe the people at Honister Mines have applied for permission to open a new tourist attraction offering rides on the shortest railway line in Britain. Apparently the journey lasts for 20 seconds with train departures every 2 minutes from 9am to 5pm, everyday except Christmas Day.


Heading to the top of Fleetwith Pike.

The view from the top shows just how hazy it was today, and this was looking in the clearer direction.

Soon after leaving Fleetwith Pike we reach Dubs Hut. High Crag and High Stile can be seen in the distance.

Looking across to the path between Blackbeck Tarn and Innominate Tarn.

Buttermere and Crummock Water seen from the beck flowing out of Blackbeck Tarn.

It was very peaceful indeed at Innominate Tarn today. It was also very hot and quite humid making the up hill sections feel much harder than they should have been.

Haystacks summit cairn(s). It seems like our timing was perfect for walking over Haystacks before today's crowds arrived.

Haystacks summit tarn.

Before walking down from Haystacks to Scarth Gap, we look across to Gamlin End and all agree - - - yes, it is as steep as it looks.

Down the rocky section on Haystacks we go. Buttermere is below us with Robinson opposite and the Grasmoor fells in the distance.

Seat and Haystacks seen from the bottom of Gamlin End.

High Crag summit. Our next four fells are seen ahead of us - High Stile, Red Pike, Starling Dodd adn Great Borne.

Looking towards Red Pike and Bleaberry Tarn.

Looking ahead to Red Pike.

Lincomb Edge runs away from Red Pike towards Mellbreak. Beyond that are the Loweswater fells. You can make them all out but sadly the haze had taken away any chance of seeing any details.

Once down from Red Pike, we move from rocky paths to this grassy fellside. The terrain now becomes gentler under foot and we agree this walk is best done in this direction.

Starling Dodd summit.

Brightening skies are seen above Great Borne.

Great Borne may have been the final fell of the day but the walk was by no means over yet. We still have about four miles to walk before we reach Buttermere. Sadly, it appears that the ice cream van you normally find up here had left for the day.

Sometime after leaving Red Pike we began talking about our route from Great Borne to Mosedale. Our original intention was to walk down Steel Brow to Floutern Tarn but in the end we decided to follow those red dots before dropping steeply down to Mosedale.

We look across to Hen Comb and Mellbreak before going over the edge to carefully make our way down to Mosedale.

Well, as far as off path 'lets give it a go' routes go that one worked out to pretty good, but blimey, , , , it wasn't half steep.

Here we're looking through Mosedale to Hen Comb on the left, part of Mellbreak on the right and straight ahead you see Low Fell. To state the obvious, I wouldn't suggest anyone walks straight through here after weeks of heavy rain.

Crummock Water and some of the north western fells come into view as we leave Mosedale.

We reach the entrance to Scale Force and although none of us said anything on the subject, I'm sure we were all pleased to have short rest while we admired the falls.
If you look carefully you can see two young lasses taking pictures of themselves. While we stood on the bridge they walked past and after getting a whiff of their perfume, I turned to Rod and said "those two certainly smell better than we must do".

While we stood looking at the falls, Paul says he's going to climb up to the higher one and offers to take my camera with him.
Here's the result of his lone expedition.

A view down Crummock Water with Rannerdale Knotts and Grasmoor behind. Both looking much clearer in the afternoon sunshine.

Looking t'other way we see Robinson straight ahead and Fleetwith Pike in the distance.


After all the haze and silhouetted views we had along the higher section of the walk, the final hour or so was completed in hot sunshine and ever clearing skies.

It may have been a tough walk but it still gave us a great day in the fells. And, to round the day off nicely, Rod treats us all to an ice cream in Buttermere.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks