31st March 2012

Walking the Lakeland Passes - Walk 7 - Floutern Pass


Walk Overview
Time 09.45 to 15.30
Duration 5 hr 45 min
Distance 12.9 mile
Ascent 3700 ft
Walking with On my own
Bowness Knott - Floutern Pass - Floutern Tarn - Mosedale - Scale Force - Buttermere (lake) - Bleaberry Tarn - Red Pike - Ennerdale
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, Bowness Knott, Ennerdale Water

Difficult to reach, well perhaps it is a little, but Bowness Knott is in effect the gateway to the wonderfully remote Ennerdale Valley and therefore well worth the effort required to get here. The valley beyond the car park stretches for over six fantastic traffic free miles.

Parking is free and the car park always has plenty of empty spaces available.


Route Map

Today's passes walk took me from Ennerdale, which is quiet, secluded and generally considered difficult reach, to Buttermere, an altogether different sort of place with hotels, cafes and more than enough visitors to keep them in business. To link the two valleys I walked over Floutern Pass which offers an easy crossing over gentle moorland. The biggest surprise today was passing 4 other people on the pass. This is somewhere you normally find deserted.

Herdus / Great Borne, taken from the road I walked along to reach Floutern Pass.

Looking over Ennerdale Water to Crag Fell and Anglers Crag.

Almost at Routen Farm.

High up on Floutern Pass now and looking across to the west coast.
The fell in the distance on the left is Dent, I was there yesterday.

A slight de-tour from the pass took me over for another look at Foutern Tarn. The tarn isn't really that difficult to reach from the Ennerdale side, but because it is tucked away in this little hollow, I suspect a large percentage of the people that walk over the pass don't even notice it's here.

and from the outflow.

Heading down into Mosedale, which was actually the main reason for doing this walk today. Under normal conditions this is a very wet place indeed. So after a few weeks with no rain it seemed like a good idea to come here and hopefully reach the other side dry-shod.


Crossing one of the Mosedale Beck tributaries.

Once you actually get down here it's not difficult to tell why this place holds onto so much water. Despite the lack of rain, I still went for the 'around the edge' option rather than straight through the middle.

Mellbreak, seen across Mosedale.

Once across the end of Mosedale, Crummock Water comes into view, and you now have a few options on how to get down to the valley, depending on which way you want to go next.

Scale Force.
This was one of the top attractions in the Lake District for the 19th century tourists. Below is an extract from Harriet Martineau's "The English Lake District" book from the mid 1800s.

The pretty domain on the margin of the lake is Hasness ; and, in another mile, we come to the tiny little chapel on the hill-side, and then the village itself. Here are two inns, both of which have been much improved of late. At one of these our traveller puts up his horses and himself takes luncheon, enquiry being made for char which is more abundant here than elsewhere in the district. Both Buttermere and Crummock yield this most delicious of English fish ; and, we believe, Winandermere is the only other lake from which it is now taken.
Luncheon over, the next object is visiting Scale Force, which is about two miles from the inn. There are two ways of accomplishing this, namely, walking the whole distance, and, taking a boat from the head of the lake to the mouth of the beck which issues from the fall, the latter entailing a cost of one shilling for each person, or 3s. 6d. for a party. The walk to the boat lies through the meadow between the two lakes, by its small patches of pasture and wooded knolls; and a pretty walk it is. A short row brings the stranger to the mouth of the stream from the force; and he has then to walk a mile among stones, and over grass, and past an old fold.
The chasm between two walls of rock, feathered with bright waving shrubs, affords a fall of one hundred and sixty feet, — high enough to convert the waters into spray before they reach the ground. It is one of the loftiest waterfalls in the country; and some think it the most elegant. There is a point of view not far off which the traveller should visit. His boat will take him to a little promontory below Mellbreak, called Ling Crag. When two hundred yards or rather more above this, he will see the two lakes and their guardian-mountains to the greatest advantage.

Turning around, I took this picture looking away from the falls.

After leaving Scale Force I followed this path for a short distance before making my way down to the lake.

The way to Buttermere.
The distinctively shaped Fleetwith Pike / Honister Crag can be seen at the head of he valley.

That's Fleetwith Pike.

Scale Bridge.

Buttermere. I didn't walk right into the village. I turned right at the junction and headed down to the Lake.

The lake.
There were lots of people around this area today. No doubt lured here by the unseasonably good weather we've have over the last couple of weeks. Although, today was the cloudiest and coolest we've have for a while. Those who are leaving today can pat themselves on the back for timing their holiday perfectly, those who are just arriving should have came last week.

After emerging from Burtness Wood, the view opens up to show Buttermere and the surrounding fells.

A close up of Buttermere.
On the right of the picture is "the tiny little chapel on the hill-side" mentioned by Harriet Martineau.

Looking up to Red Pike. From here, it doesn't look as steep as it feels.

Bleaberry Tarn.

Before I headed up to the summit I took this picture of Loweswater, Crummock Water, Mellbreak, Low Fell, Fellbarrow, Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts.

While I was up here I was thinking how much harder it would be to reach the fells on this side of the valley if Loweswater, Crummock and Buttermere were all joined together. Sorry Mr & Mrs H, if this were to happen you'd need to buy a boat, as well as something to keep the ducks away from your bird table.

On the scree section now and looking back down to Crummock Water and Bleaberry Tarn.
Now you know why it's called Red Pike.

Red Pike summit, in front of Grasmoor and its neighbours.

In the opposite direction you have Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple and Caw Fell. Not forgetting Scafell Pike and Scafell on the left of the picture.

Lots of fells here from Blencathra and Skiddaw in the distance to Grasmoor and Robinson at the front.

Heading down from Red Pike with a view over Ennerdale to the coast.

Looking across to Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple and Caw Fell.

Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel.
I worked here for a few weeks not long after leaving school (a couple of years ago). I'd like to say it was something fancy or connected with the outdoors, but it wasn't. We were just laying a concrete path around the back of the building.

OK I admit it, when I say I only left school a couple of years ago, it was actually in those carefree wacky days we called the 1980s. You know the ones, mobile phones were the size of building bricks, flared trousers were no longer fashionable (thankfully) and if the teacher gave you the cane your Mother didn't go to school and beat him up.
Yes, you youngsters don't know your born. When I were a lad we had to do a proper days work. There was none of this sitting behind a desk in those days. , , , , and, when I got home after work I was sent straight to bed with no tea, I was paid 50p for an 80 hour week and I even had to give that to my Mother. Eeee them were the days, we might have only had one pair of shoes between 4 of us, but at lest we could leave the back door open when we went out.

Not a lot of water in here today.

Ennerdale in front of Crag Fell and Anglers Crag.

The final view of the day, looking back along Ennerdale Water to Pillar; the pointed fell above the track.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks