“High Stile is the pivot, the central point and the loftiest of a closely knit trinity of peaks on an elevated ridge between Buttermere and Ennerdale … The rewards of a visit to High Stile more than compensate for the effort in getting there.”
Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains
Another walk from the archives … and a magnificent walk it is – a highly recommended Lake District ridge walk centred on the lovely village and lake of Buttermere.
Parking near the church just above Buttermere village we took the bridleway that proceeds south towards Burtness Wood, continuing uphill as we entered the woods on the path that soon starts to climb steeply westwards by the south side of Sourmilk Gill toward Red Pike. After passing Bleaberry Tarn, the path gets steeper and the final pull up to the summit of Red Pike is quite an effort, but worth it for the magnificent views from the ridge, which may extend out to the coast if the weather is kind.
From Red Pike we followed the path south-east to High Stile and then on to High Crag, this section is not particularly difficult and in fine weather it is worth taking your time and savouring the views. North of the ridge are excellent views of Crummock Water, Buttermere and the north-western fells including Grasmoor and Eel Crag. To the east, Fleetwith Pike and the old slate mine tramway. South-eastwards you’ll see Haystacks and beyond Great Gable, and to the south, Pillar.
After High Crag, the path descends rather steeply to meet Scarth Gap Pass. At this path, you can turn north and follow the bridleway downhill to the shore of Buttermere, finishing with a pleasant stroll along a permissive path back through Burtness Wood. Alternatively, if you are feeling energetic, you can continue east up towards Haystacks and then keep following the path as it curls around past Innominate Tarn and Bleaberry Tarn to eventually pick up the path that descends by Warnscale back down towards Buttermere. This way requires a short road bash along the B5289, picking up another bridleway at Gatesgarth Farm that proceeds south-west to join the aforementioned bridleway and then permissive path back to the village of Buttermere.
All-in-all a great walk and one of my personal Lake District top 5 day walks.
My rating: A+
Map: OL4 – The English Lakes: North Western area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: Book 7: The Western Fells – Second Edition (Pictorial Guides)