17th October 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk 71

4 tarns above Buttermere

Time 8am to 4:10pm
Duration 8 hr 10 min
Distance 10 mile
Ascent 4600 ft
Walking with Paul Sharkey
Buttermere (village) - Buttermere (lake) - Old Burtness - Bleaberry Tarn - Red Pike - High Stile - High Crag - Gamlin End - Seat - top of Scarth Gap - Haystacks - Innominate Tarn - Blackbeck Tarn - Dubbs Quarry - Fleetwith Pike - Fleetwith Edge - Gatesgarth - Buttermere (lake) - Buttermere (village)
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre -
Buttermere Village

There are a few different options for parking in Buttermere. A couple of decent sized car parks the road side leading up past the church onto Newlands pass and the sneaky couple of spaces next to the bridge. Despite these options and the village being so small they all fill up pretty quickly.

For such a small village there are a couple of hotels / pubs, public toilets and a couple of tearooms, one of which sells the best ice cream you could ever hope to find.


Weather Readings

The Gadget
All readings were taken using a Kestrel 2000 Weather Meter
Live temperature recorded at the time I press the hold key
Maximum Wind Speed Maximum wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location Average Wind Speed
Average wind speed since the weather meter was turned on at each location
Wind Chill
Combination of wind speed and temperature. The gadget does the calculations not me.

Route Map


I don't normally stop to take pictures on route to or from a walk. Today, time was on my side and despite it being a sunless morning, it seemed far to nice on the drive past here to hurry along as we all normally do.


It's obvious that progress with my 2015 tarns project has slowed down to a snails pace recently. The reason for this is because I've almost visited all the tarns I decided include. However, there was one last big walk to do and as the days are shortening, and winter isn't very far down the road, I thought it best to get out and complete the last of the higher level routes. After the 4 tarns on this walk I'll have reached the nice round figure of 199 tarns visited so far this year. Although it was never my intention to aim for completion the list, it looks like I may end up doing just that. There are still a few more left so depending on where my wanderings take me there may be more tarn walks to follow.

I must have walked through Buttermere a hundred and one times over the years but don't remember seeing these. I'm not sure of it's 1 out of 10 for observation or if they've just been put here.

It was lovely next to Buttermere this morning, hardly a ripple on the water and the surrounding nicely reflected in the lake. At the far end of the lake you can see Fleetwith Pike. We'll be there towards the end of the walk.


It was almost too nice to leave the peacefulness of the lake shore but, we had grand plans for a day on the fell tops and after what seemed like an age, we dragged ourselves away from this and headed into the woods you see over there. The strange thing was, although there was hardly a breath of wind, the mist was blowing across the water as if it were being moved by a gale force wind.

The lake is left behind and we make out way up the path through Burtness Wood.

Once above the woods the view opens up and we look across to the Grasmoor fells.

A close up of Buttermere and the bottom of Newlands Pass.

Reaching Bleaberry Tarn we saw the cloud had dropped far enough to hide Red Pike from our view. Initially this brought on a feeling of disappointment but as it turned out the cloud didn't last too long and was in fact one of the highlights of the walk.

All of Bleaberry Tarn.

We look across to Chapel Crags and are really surprised at just how quickly the cloud is blowing over them. More so because when we set off walking there wasn't enough of a breeze to blow the pages of a newspaper open.

Looking up to Red Pike summit from the very eroded path up The Saddle.


Our arrival at Red Pike summit was timed perfectly today. While we stood in sunshine with crystal clear views, we watched some big banks of cloud moving very quickly across most of the surrounding high fells. Not great if you happened to be standing on top of those fells but for us, it was a brilliant ten minutes or so.

Buttermere below us.

Looking towards Ennerdale. Starling Dodd is straight in front of us and just hidden by cloud will be Great Borne.


Red Pike seen as we make progress across the ridge to High Stile.

By the time we reached High Stile the cloud show was all but over and as predicted by the weather folk, the fell tops were now cloud free..

Looking across High Stile summit ridge. Below and to the right is Red Pike, the one with a red side.

And to name a few of the fells we could see

A close up of Ennerdale with Crag Fell and Anglers Crag on its left hand side.

Looking back at High Stile from High Crag.

Here we twist and turn our way down Gamlin End. At the time I described this as a "knee cruncher". From here we pick out the people walking up Scarth Gap and on to Haystacks.

And as if by magic, we're now ascending the Scarth Gap end of Haystacks.
Buttermere and Crummock can both be seen in the picture.


My second tarn of the day is this one found within splashing distance of Haystacks summit.

And again.

Haystacks summit view.

Dinner was eaten on some rocks near the path leading to Innominate tarn. Just after setting of again we pass a lady out walking with a young lad. The lady seemed to be having a great time and offered us a nice hello but the boy, , , , it was written all over his face and the way he was dragging himself up the hill that he'd rather have been anywhere than this. We thought it was quite funny (in a none nasty way). Hopefully someday he'll enjoy coming to places like this instead of viewing it as some sort of punishment.

Innominate Tarn in front of Pillar.

The last of my tarns for today was Blackbeck Tarn, here seen with Green Gable & Great Gable in the background.


I can't remember exactly where it was first mentioned but somewhere further back we toyed with the idea of extending the walk to include Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson instead of returning to Buttermere via Fleetwith Pike and the lake. If we'd had an extra hour of quality daylight then I reckon we'd have done that, but in the end we decided to stick to the original plan. So, here we are at Dubbs Hut and all ready for the final ascent of the day which would take up onto Fleetwith Pike.

Looking over the top of Dubs Hut and we get a view of a good section of our route. Haystacks, High Crag and High Stile. In the background you can also see Pillar - - - we didn't go to that one today.

Fleetwith Pike was reached only to find the summit was fully occupied by a group of people who at this point in time had claimed it as their own. Along with ourselves, a few other small groups that happened to be here at the time stood about for a little while and then had no option other than to find somewhere else to take their summit photo.

Here's a similar view to the previous picture. This time taken from lower down so you can see the ridge a bit better. It's a steep one!

Looking back up Fleetwith Edge. I know it's steep but from this angle it looks impossible; which of course it isn't.


Near the bottom and just across from the path is the white cross which can be seen from miles around (if you know where to look).

Gatesgarth Cottage marked our return to civilisation and along with civilisation came more people than we'd seen all day.

Fleetwith Pike seen from the short walk along the road to pick up the Buttermere shore path.

Haystacks, Seat and High Crag seen from the start of the lake shore path.

A little bit further along and I look across towards High Stile, Red Pike and Dodd (not the Skiddaw one).

It's not an expression I'd normally use because I think it's quite odd, but, this view is often described as one of Lakelands 'classic views'. Fleetwith Pike on the left, Haystacks towards the right and the Buttermere Pines in the middle.

Now for the spooky part of the walk. People over 6 foot tall might want to crouch down a bit, those that can't say no to pies and cake might want to turn back.
Before entering the tunnel I look back along the lake shore path .

All good things come to an end and this walk was no exception. We pass by the cafe / shop at Wilkinsyke Farm and once the road is reached we see the church which was passed about 8 hours ago.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks