High Stile and Ennerdale Water

High Stile, from the ridge to High Crag. Ennerdale Water visible behind.

Height: 2644 feet above sea level.

Volume: Book 7 (The Western Fells)

Date climbedFirst visit: 28th July 2012 (walk 60a). Second visit: 21st October 2019 (walk 171).

Bagged as numberFirst round:  186 of 330. [ << Red Pike (185)  (187) High Crag >>Second round: 229 of 330. [ << High Crag (228)  (230) Red Pike >> ]

Route of ascent and descent: First visit: Came in on the ridge from Red Pike (shorter than you expect) and left on the ridge to High Crag (longer). Second visit: The reverse.

High Stile summit cairn

High Stile summit cairn

What Mr Wainwright says (from page 3 of his chapter): “The Buttermere valley is robbed of winter sunshine by a rugged mountain wall exceeding two thousand feet in height and of unusual steepness…. Three summits rise from this ridge, a trinity of challenging peaks, and of these the central one is the loftiest and grandest. This is High Stile.

“The range is magnificently carved to a simple design on a massive scale. Each of the three summits sends down to the valley a broad buttress, steep, rough and untrodden. To the north of each buttress natural forces ages ago eroded a great hollow, leaving a rim of broken crags. A tarn lies in the central recess like a jewel. This is superb architecture.”

High Stile from Gatesgarth

High Stile from Gatesgarth. Picture taken on walk 16.

What I say: High Stile certainly is a fine walk. The views are great, both of other fells (Pillar Rock looks particularly striking from this point) and of itself; the views down into both Birkness Comb and Bleaberry Comb are very impressive. A worthy summit of any walk along this fine ridge, anyway.

Even Wainwright is ambiguous about the exact summit: there are at least three, possibly four, candidate cairns, all of about the same height. You will of course visit them all. Surveying it from the ridge, the suggested route of ascent from Bleaberry Tarn does not look too impossible (unlike the other off-piste one, on nearby High Crag). Maybe worth a try.

Also, it’s certainly the only Wainwright which sounds like it could be the (misspelled) name of a fashion magazine.

[ << High Spy     High Street >> ]

One Response to “High Stile”

  1. […] a substantial step toward completing this project on schedule (Jan 2013). The 9 fells comprised the High Stile and Great Gable ranges, and walk 60 was broken by a night at the atmospheric and highly convenient […]

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