Posts tagged 'Buttermere'

A couple of days at Buttermere – Part 2 – Rained off

Posted by on October 31st 2010 in Car stuff, Great Escapes, Shiny new kit, YHA

It rained nearly all night and the Saturday morning was looking grim. The only folk determined to go out and hit the fell-tops were members of a group of charity walkers who we'd been talking with the previous evening and who were attempting a one-day ten-peak fund-raising epic from Gatesgarth Farm to Stool End. By the time we were up and about they were long gone. We chatted with one of their support crew who said that they'd left loads of excess supplies in the kitchen for us, so we dipped in and chose a few items and left the rest for those that came after. I've just visited their JustGiving page and it says that they had to abandon their challenge due to bad weather, in a sad way that justifies our decision to keep our kids off the fells that day.


A final look at the hostel


After another fine breakfast we packed the cars and headed up to Newlands Hause just in case anybody had a change of heart and fancied a quick jaunt up High Snockrigg, but there were no takers so we took a few pics and headed into Keswick for a mooch around:


Moss Force




We opted for an hour or so at The Bond Museum - this turned out to be much better than we'd expected. Click the following pic to open more pics in the lightbox:


Gotta get me one of these

After that we did a bit of gift-shopping, had a tea-break and browsed the wares on display at the market, but the draw of the clackysticks on offer at The Outdoor Warehouse in Windermere was too strong. We left Keswick and, after stopping for a picnic lunch at a spot overlooking Thirlmere, we hauled into the shop's car-park and headed in to do the deed. From then on we were homeward bound.

A couple of days at Buttermere – Part 1 – Varied terrain

Posted by on October 29th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA

This was another trip away with our first-year-apprentice hostelling friends. Since our first outing together in the spring they'd been to Ilam Hall and they wanted to go to the LD with us again, they're either keen, mad or both! Either way, it was a bargain weekend - we used more Tesco Clubcard tokens to pay for the accommodation, at the current 4:1 voucher/token exchange rate it kept costs down considerably.

The Thursday morning journey up the standard A5/M6 route was a pleasant surprise - no hold-ups anywhere! We made the customary stop at Ings to raid the Little Chef, pulled into Windermere for a bit of shopping and then pushed on to Buttermere YHA via Keswick and Borrowdale just to introduce the others to the delights of the drive over Honister Hause.

Having had negative experiences with room-sizes at Windermere during the spring, I'd specifically asked for decent-sized rooms at Buttermere and we weren't disappointed - we had plenty of space for the kids to tip their kit onto the floor in a haphazard fashion, as they do.

After getting sorted we headed off to The Fish for a hearty meal and a few beers before turning in for the night.

Friday dawned grey and damp but the outlook was fairly good even though the predicted snow wasn't going to become a reality:


Looking towards Buttermere


The kids at the hostel


Looking over Buttermere village towards Hen Comb and Mellbreak


We had planned a fairly low and short walk with plenty of bail-out options in case the weather turned and we had to get the kids off the fells in a hurry, so after the usual 3-course hostel breakfast we drove off to Scale Hill, where life must be really boring for 16.666% of the boy-racer squirrel population...


Discrimination against rodents


... and from there we headed to Loweswater and the start of the walk. We found a good parking place beside Church Bridge and got kitted-up for an ascent of Hen Comb:


Prepping at Church Bridge


The north end of Mellbreak


Fallen tree in Park Beck


Park Beck and Church Bridge


The section from Church Bridge to the ford was more interesting than the crossing of the ford itself - nobody fell in, probably because I had my camera ready:




Stone gatepost with O.S. benchmark and other symbols


Loweswater Fell


Looking back after crossing Mosedale Beck


After gaining a bit of height the slope eased and the walking was easy for a while on a grassy track parallel to the ridge. There were things to see both near and far:


The Vale of Lorton


Pointing towards the improbably-famous Mosedale Holly Tree


Colourful mosses, grasses and toadstools


After gaining the ridge proper after the first sheepfold we had a snack-break at the gap in the fence. Next was the short pull up on to Little Dodd...


Heading on up Little Dodd


... from where the younger members of the party claimed that they could see a huge squirrel. It took us a while to figure it out:


The giant squirrel


The view of Mellbreak was impressive too:


Mellbreak from Little Dodd


Just beyond the final fence and just below the final pull to the top of Hen Comb we pitched the 4-man bothy for the kids and had a proper lunchbreak. Some of the party had done enough ascending and wanted a rest before going back down, so the mums went off to the summit while the others stayed low for a while:


Toadstool and moss




Geoff dons his "I'm in charge" Buff


Inca/Buff/Goth girl


After a while the mums came back and I went up to the top with Geoff and Ella. The views from such a low top were surprisingly good:


Geoff surveying the scene


Whiteside, Hopegill Head, Grasmoor and Whiteless Pike above Mellbreak


The fells around Buttermere




Ella adorning the summit outcrops


After regrouping and breaking camp our navigator opted to lose height sooner rather than later, so we headed down off-piste towards the old mine workings on the eastern flank. There was a lot of bracken to be negotiated, mainly pathless apart from the odd sheep-track, and getting closer to the improbably-famous tree was little compensation. Of course as we got lower the bracken got taller, until the youngest of our group was unable to see either over or though it:


Bracken-clad slopes


Meanders in Mosedale Beck


More pathless bracken


The Pathfinder Corps


Eventually we got down to the beck and while the others had a breather the blokes went off to look for a suitable crossing-place. Finding no easy stepping-stones we decided to make our own, and spent ten minutes rearranging and adding to the riverbed. While performing this feat of civil-engineering, we discovered that the tussock-grass alongside the beck is a favourite place for weasels. Sadly I have no pics of any of this, as I'd stashed the camera in the pack in order to keep it dry in the event of an inadvertent dunking.

After we'd completed the structure we got the party across, the only incident was one dunked foot, nothing of any consequence compared to the next bit...

Our navigator, the one who had decided that off-piste was OK, had assumed that the ground on the far side would be the same as that on the nearside, i.e. firm and dry. Nope, not a bit of it. It was chest-high tussock-grass with knee-deep bog-holes in between. Geoff had to carry his youngest, and a couple of times they jointly face-planted the marshy ground as Geoff persisted in finding the deepest bog-holes. Of course, we all found it hilarious and did little to help him. Eventually we got to the fence alongside the Mosedale track and breathed a sigh of relief - it had taken us 20 minutes to cover less than 200 yards. Geoff added to his tally of woes by breaking a fencepost as he tried to lever his marsh-ridden frame over the metal railing, so we all laughed again!

Back on terra-firma we made good progress down the Mosedale track:


Looking down the Mosedale track


Looking up the Mosedale track


The summit-end of Hen Comb


The walk back to the cars was a leisurely affair and we spotted much that we'd missed on the walk-in:


Fungus 1


Hen Comb ridge


Fungus 2 - so far, this weird one has defied all of my attempts at identification


Whiteside and Grasmoor


We were soon back at the cars and making our way back to the hostel where, after getting cleaned up and changed, we had a fine 3-course evening hostel meal (I can recommend the ribs as a starter).

Afterwards we declined a walk to the pub as the heavens had opened, so we stayed in, chatted over hot drinks in the lounge and then had an early night.

Walk stats:

  • Distance: 4.35 miles
  • Ascent: 1381 ft
  • Wainwrights: 1

To be continued...

Back from Buttermere

Posted by on October 24th 2010 in Great Escapes, YHA
Tags: ,

We're back from our short stay at Buttermere YHA.

As you can see, the weather wasn't as good as it was two years ago, but we all had a good time anyway.

The Met Office and MWIS both predicted harsh weather on the tops but it didn't happen where we went.

I suppose I'll have to post a report soon.

Couldn’t have timed it better

Posted by on October 15th 2010 in Great Escapes, Weather

We're off to Buttermere sometime next week for a couple of days of walking.

The Met Office is predicting snow.

The MWIS prediction is similar.


Our Weekend at Buttermere – Part 2

Posted by on October 16th 2008 in Great Escapes, YHA

Click on any of the pics to open up a bigger version in a lightbox thingy, you'll need to wait until the page has finished loading.

Sunday morning was dry and even brighter than Saturday. I was up and about well before breakfast, outside with the camera taking some pics in the low rays of the early sunlight:

After another satisfying breakfast we packed our gear, cleared the dorm and said our farewells to the hostel staff. We would have only a half-day to walk the fells, so I opted to take our party up onto one of my favourite places, High Snockrigg, to see the impressive views into the Buttermere Valley. We parked up at Newlands Hause, where there is a fine view down Keskadale and the Newlands Valley towards Keswick:

The Hause was strangely quiet except for the sound of Moss Force:

The view to the north of the Hause included Knott Rigg and Ard Crags:

The track up the fellside is steep but eventually reaches the relative flatness of Buttermere Moss, where the view starts to open out a bit more:

A short while later we reached the top, and we sat there for a while surveying the scenery before us. I rattled off a few shots with the 18-55mm kit lens:

before changing to the 70-300mm for a few more:

Chris and Anna stayed at the summit for a while longer:

while the others went off to worry some sheep:

Soon it was time to head back down the long and winding road to the car:

On the way back down, Anna said that she could see a big man on the hillside over the valley. It took us some time to figure out what she meant:

Back at the car we packed away the gear and made ready for our reluctant return home. Just after setting off, I managed to delay proceedings for a few minutes more while nabbing the last shot of the weekend:

The drive back was interrupted by a couple of shopping sessions at Windermere and a bucket of KFC at one of the M6 service-stations, but was otherwise uneventful.

So, to sum up, it was another great weekend. One fellwalking novice introduced to the hills, two reintroduced after a half-year lay-off, two more Wainwrights ticked off the to-do list and a favourite place revisited for the umpteenth time - all that and good weather to boot. Brilliant stuff!

Our Weekend at Buttermere – Part 1

Posted by on October 15th 2008 in Great Escapes, YHA

Click on any of the pics to open up a bigger version in a lightbox thingy, you'll need to wait until the page has finished loading.

Just for once the Friday dash up the M6 wasn't as dull as usual - there were decisions to be made. The usual plan is to leave at J36, head into Keswick then drive through Borrowdale to reach Buttermere via Honister Pass. The weather had been fine until we reached J30, then the heavens opened as per the forecast. Flooding of the road to Keswick was a probability, so I changed the plan - drive right up to J40, then reach Keswick by taking the A66.

After half an hour of battling through spray and dodging artics, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and decided to leave at J36 and to risk any floods, it seemed safer than losing control on the motorway, or being downed by any of the madcap motorway drivers who care only for themselves. A quick call to Buttermere YHA was neccessary to tell them that we would be late, and we were advised that we should approach via the Newlands Valley, as Borrowdale was flooded.

We arrived at about 22:45, after six hours on the road, to find the hostel car-park full. I dropped the others at the hostel then had to park up by the church and carry the gear from there. Brilliant - I was utterly soaked before the weekend had begun. Eventually we were booked in and could get some rest. We slept well that night.

Saturday morning dawned dry and bright with some scattered cloud - there was a wonderful play of light in the valley. After a hearty 3-course breakfast we kitted up and headed to the car, where I couldn't resist taking a couple of pics in the early sunshine:

We were soon on the road, driving along the side of Crummock Water. The kids wanted a photo-stop, so I pulled up at the base of Rannerdale Knotts and got a few pics myself as well:

A bit further along the road I noticed this view in the RVM, it just had to be snapped:

We stopped again at the turning for Thackthwaite:

where we got a closer view of the Loweswater Fells and of an old favourite, Mellbreak:

From there we could see a flat-topped tree and the flooding alongside the River Cocker:

We parked up just beyond Thackthwaite, hoisted our packs and set off up the footpath to the drove-road. Anna set a cracking pace up the grassy slope:

... while the other two girls lagged behind:

... and we stood in the middle, waiting and taking pics, like this one of Broadmoor Hill:

At the start of the drove-road the view opens out towards the Vale of Lorton:

This is the view back down the drove-road, looking towards Buttermere:

Eventually we reached the top of Fellbarrow, where we had lunch, posed for a group photo and enjoyed the views:

... like this one towards Low Fell and the middle of the Lake district:

We headed south and soon reached Low Fell:

which has great views out over Crummock Water :

After a brew we set off towards Watching Crag and the route back to the car:

On the drive back to the hostel, we took heed of the warning-signs:

Back at the hostel it was business as usual - no car-parking space. We had to leave the car on the other side of the village and walk the rest of the way - no great hardship for me, but the kids complained (as you would expect). After watching a glorious sunset we had an excellent evening meal at the hostel before rounding off a fine day with a few drinks at that fine establishment, The Fish.

To be continued...