The Buttermere Round
A complete circuit of all Buttermere�s skyline peaks
At the first sight of the peaks that surround Buttermere only the hardest cynic could fail to be drawn by the prospect of a walk around them.
They shine as a group, with no one peak outdoing the other: each has its own individual charm that just cries out for attention. The variety of character is stunning. Across this small range of peaks there is everything you could want in a mountain walk.
Dramatic and intimate peaks
In the first place you have drama in the form of High Stile with its deep, craggy corries and Dale Head with its sheer, brooding bulk. Then you have the friendlier, more intimate peaks like Haystacks that offer a place to pause and take in some of the best views in Britain, or long, rolling ridges like the crest of Littledale Edge that give easy, high-level walking that is pure delight.
Lovely and unspoilt
The walking is not all there is though � for this corner of the Lakes is widely regarded as the loveliest and least spoilt valley. The three lakes of Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater are of course the jewels in the crown, but the surrounding becks, crags, fields, walls, houses and lanes do a perfect job in support.
All this detail can be seen perfectly as you make your way around the skyline. And if you happen to get bored with the views down below, you can simply lift your eyes to take in all the great peaks of the Western and Central Fells that lie all around.
Of all the Lakes this is the one you absolutely must do when conditions are clear. This is not because it�s technical, as there is no scrambling. Nor is it to do with navigation, as most paths are clear and easy to follow. No, this is to do with what you can see. To do it in mist or in rain is more than possible but it would not have done the walk properly because you would not have experienced its greatest charm.
Its greatest charm
There are two big ascents on this route: the great dip down to Honister Pass, and the stepped dip over Haystacks and across Scarth Gap. It�s the ascents out of these dips that determine the best direction to do it in. Anti-clockwise you are faced with the long, boring grind up to Red Pike then the monstrous pull up to Dale Head. But clockwise these two are quickly dealt with in descent, and the more reasonably graded ascents up the quarry tracks from Honister Pass and the steeped climb over Seat and Gamlin End come into play.
The morning warm-up over Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head is just that � a warm-up. Don�t think you are halfway round when you get to Honister Pass and have your lunch. Instead, reserve this pleasure at least until Haystacks because the biggest bulk of work is on the south side of the valley.
Dramatic Scale Force
There are numerous places to duck out and finish early if you fancy, but if you manage to get it the right way round the dramatic waterfall of Scale Force makes a fitting last landmark. After this, gentle paths lead you back to Buttermere where you must decide at which pub to buy your celebratory drink�
Start: Butteremere Village: NY175170
Maps: OS Explorer OL4; Harvey Superwalker Lakeland West