Buttermere October 2012

Photo: haystacks buttermere. Helen Rose Hill Diary

The walking club arranged a weekend to Buttermere in the Lake District in the north of England. Although I have been to the Lake District many times, this is an area I have not visited and I looked forward to actually climbing a mountain.

We travelled by car from Glasgow stopping for a short break in Cockermouth, the birthplace of William Wordsworth, and also noted for Jennings' brewery. We then drove into the Lake District and along narrow roads to Buttermere. The village is at the north end of Lake Buttermere and boasts two hotels, a hostel and a coffee shop. We stayed in the hostel at Buttermere (www.yha.org.uk), which was warm, cosy and served good meals. There were seventeen of us in total with some staying in bed and breakfasts further away.

Photo: big hills buttermere. On the Saturday we walked to Haystacks, noted as Wainwright?s favourite mountain in the Lake District. Alfred Wainwright was famous for his Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells written in the 1950s. We left the village and walked to the head of Lake Buttermere where we followed the west shore of the lake along a very good path under High Stiles. We continued on the path to Scarth Gap and the ascent of Haystacks, which at less than 600 metres is not a lot of ascent. The hill does have a rocky cone and although there is a good clear path there is some scrambling over the rocks. This was very enjoyable and Stephen advised me on the foot and hand holds. This is my first real hill walk since I broke my leg so I was exhilarated when we reached the top. The weather was cold and clear so we had magnificent views all around to the higher tops of High Stile, Great Gable etc. I just love the names in the Lake District. They are so descriptive.

After lunch on the top of Haystacks, we descended over towards Fleetwith Pike with views of the Honister mine. This area is famous for the slate mines and Westmoreland Green Slate. From there we joined the path from the mine which was previously a railway to carry the slate down to Buttermere. I found my ankle painful walking on the path of shattered rock but in time it will strengthen. It's early days yet.

Photo: big hills from haystacks. At the lower level we joined a good path at Peggy?s Bridge and walked along the east shore of Lake Buttermere going through a tunnel at Hassness.

The following day was wet so a shorter walk was planned to Loweswater in the Vale of Lorton. On the south of the lake we ascended to a balcony with good views over the lake, which is only a mile long. We could not see the fells as the mist was low with steady rain. We walked above the lake and further on descended to walk back to the cars alongside the lake. We were back at the hostel for lunch as it had been so wet. We were rewarded at lunchtime when we saw a red squirrel feeding from the bird food outside the hostel.

Buttermere was a charming place and place that I would want to return to and explore further.

Coming attraction; Forth and Clyde Canal Contact me by emal

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