Date completed: 23rd July 2009

Fells climbed: Whiteless Pike (2159 feet above sea level, no. 7), Wandope (2533′, no. 8), Eel Crag (2749′, no. 9), Sail (2530′, no. 10), Outerside (1863′, no. 11), Barrow (1494′, no. 12)

Distance: 6.8 miles approximately.

Total ascent: 3300 feet approx.

Weather conditions: Overcast but otherwise OK and improved towards the end. Kept getting closer and closer to the base of the clouds but never quite reaching them.

View from Barrow summit to the east

View from Barrow summit to the east (Blencathra on left, Derwentwater in foreground)

Start and end point: Started at Buttermere, reached on the no. 77 bus from Keswick (via Honister Pass). Walked back to Braithwaite and then got the X4 bus the few minutes’ ride back to Keswick. (Keswick can be reached by bus from Workington, Penrith or Windermere rail stations.)

Pub at end: The Royal Oak, Braithwaite. With all due respect I found this a little dull and plastic, though it was still a welcome sight at the end of the walk. [In the interests of fairness I will add that I revisited this pub a year or so later, at the end of walk 18, and revised my opinion upwards at that point.]

Route card: Follow this link to download a route card containing summary information, an elevation profile, waypoints and an overview map: Route card for walk 3: Buttermere to Braithwaite

Route: I actually think it would be impossible for anyone to go astray on this route even in bad weather. This is a very well-walked route, at least as far as High Moss (between Sail and Outerside). Actually it is more common to finish with Scar Crags and Causey Pike instead of Outerside and Barrow, but even then, it would take a heroic effort to get lost on this walk – at least if armed with a map as backup just in case (which of course you will be).

None of it is very strenuous or rocky, but the pull up to Whiteless Pike is quite a long and steep one, and the descent from Eel Crag to Sail needs care in a couple of places.

Arbitrary ramblings (still mercifully brief at this early point in the project): I’m definitely thinking of this in terms of doing the lot now. I can tell because I choose to come off the ridge at Sail Pass and do the last two instead of doing Scar Crags and Causey Pike. At the time this was because I’d done them when I was 12, or whatever, and was assuming I would count them, but the P wasn’t yet fully formed and eventually I ditch all the old walks and decide to start counting again from Walla Crag.

Hopegill Head, viewed from Eel Crag

Hopegill Head, viewed from just below the summit of Eel Crag

Get the bus to Buttermere, past Honister Pass YHA, looks very bleak up there. Leaving Buttermere it’s a stiff climb up to Whiteless Pike. I’m looking slightly nervously at the clouds above: Grasmoor is constantly in cloud as I climb beside it, but I never quite reach the mist: on Eel Crag, the day’s summit, I’m literally about 20 feet below it. I have lunch just below the summit, perched with my feet seemingly right above a drop of several hundred feet down to Coledale. Get that great pic of Hopegill Head in the mist with the sheep.

Sail endears itself to me with its neglected cairn sitting in a big puddle.

Barrow, lowest summit of the day, has the best view of all, both Derwentwater and Bass Lake very well displayed. The sun starts to come out too. We had already booked our cottage for next year in Braithwaite, and when I come down to it, it looks a bit like a council estate – nor did the pub impress me much – hope it’s better than it looks next year. Has a good bus service, anyway.

2 Responses to “Walk 3: Buttermere to Braithwaite”

  1. Lucy said

    Hi there, all very inspiring. Struggling to get to Buttermere on a friday night by public transport in order to stay for the weekend. Note you stayed in a holiday cottage – did you drive to holiday cottage or get the train there? maybe driving to the cottage but then getting the bus on days out counts as without car? I am looking for a get out clause? Any suggestions?

    • Drew Whitworth said

      All holiday cottages have been reached by public transport too, but I’ll let you off 🙂 Buttermere by PT is not easy at any time of the year to tell the truth…

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