Introducing the Lake District

As part of enjoying the Lake District with other walkers, I also find it massively rewarding to introduce others to the wonders of the Lake District.

As part of hiking with family and friends I also take people from work into the hills. Living in a city, this can often be the first time people have been to the Lake District. Or for some, they have been to the Lake District, but never ventured further than the many towns dotted around the Cumbrian national park.

A couple of weeks ago was an opportunity to introduce the Lake District. I picked a pretty punishing route for someone who does not walk often, but he managed it really well and hopefully I haven’t put him off for life 🙂 .

Our route was to start in the incredibly picturesque village of Buttermere, situated on the shores of Buttermere (a small lake). Things get a little confusing like that in the Lakes, when the town is the same name as the Lake it is situated nearest. See Windermere, Grasmere, Elterwater….

From Buttermere village we walked along the banks of Buttermere lake, making our way towards Fleetwith Pike. Fleetwith is a fantastic climb with everything you could want from a mountain condensed down to 600m. You ascend very quickly, with burning muscles and a rapid heart rate. This walk is punishing, to have it at the beginning of a walk means, full packs on your back. All your water, all your food. It is a great test.

Fleetwith has a series of demoralising false peaks. Each suggesting it should be the summit until you are a few metres from it. Even though the summit is only 648m, you are tackling 540m of elevation in about 1200m straight line distance, if that doesn’t sound that bad, I would suggest putting 10-15kg on your back and giving it a go 🙂 .

Once you pass the initial grassy ascent, it turns significantly more rocky with a good section of hand on rock scrambling. Making the route feel a little more adventurous than it really is. The edges give a good sense of exposure without any real danger of toppling over the side. It is a great hike.

Also the view isn’t bad either on a nice day.

the-view-from-fleetwith

From the summit of Fleetwith we took in the surrounding summits including Haystacks to the left of the image, plus Robinson to the very right of the images, our final summit of the day. From Fleetwith, we descended to Honister Pass, where the YHA provided a welcome stop for a water refill. With a top-up in our tanks, we started up the long upward slog to Dale Head. A constant ascent Dale Head is reached relatively quickly and on the day had a fantastic view right down the valley. Taking time to enjoy the view it is astounding how well shaped this valley is, a definite U-shaped valley if there ever was.

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Dale Head marked number 99 of the Wainwrights I have walked. Exciting when the numbers almost reach triple digits and with 2 more in our sights it was to be a momentous day for bagging, well at least for me. Hindscarth is to the left of the above image that was next on the list, a little hop skip and a jump and we were there. Actually it was more blood sweat and tears, but nothing fun is ever easy. It took only 25-30 minutes to make our way from Dale Head to Hindscarth where the views where largely the same. However it marked number 100, my Wainwright century.

Leaving Hindscarth behind, my walking partner probably wondering how much further we really had to walk in one day we made our way to Robinson, dropping a fair way between Hindscarth before starting our ascent on a deceptively steep Robinson. The thighs where really not ready for this. Taking an “appreciation break” (as my Dad says) I took a photo of our days achievement.

looking-back-toward-hindscarth-and-dale-head

The peak to the left is Hindscarth, to the right of the plateau is Dale Head, the drop dips to Honister pass and to the very right of the image is Fleetwith Pike.

Finally with Robinson under our belt, we started down towards Buttermere Moss. A boggy patch of land, that provided weary legs another unexpected challenge. Wading through boggy grass, making decisions quickly on the direction we should take to make the best route with the least wet feet.

We made it through the bog to the final descent, we could even see the car, the relief felt when you finally see the car cannot be explained haha.

looking-towards-crummock-water

The day had changed to a cloudy and subdued day, much cooler than at the beginning of the day, but still fantastic.

I think my walking buddy for the day enjoyed his baptism by fire introduction to the Lakes, hopefully I haven’t put him off!

Thanks for reading.