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Lake District Walk
Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere Circular

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Western Fells

Wainwrights - Fleetwith Pike

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 8.5 miles / 13.8 km

Ascent - 2550 feet / 773 metres

Time - 6 hours 50 minutes

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference NY173169
Lat 54.540582 // Long -3.279769
Postcode CA13 9UZ (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere Circular
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This Lake District walk is full of interest including beautiful Buttermere and the surrounding fells. The route also includes an ascent of Fleetwith Pike with its grandstand view across Buttermere and a 360-degree panorama including many of the high summits of the Lake District Western and North-Western Fells including Alfred Wainwright's favourite Haystacks.

The start is the pay and display car park in Buttermere village (grid ref. NY173169). Exit the car park and return to the main road through the village (B5289). Turn right and then after a few metres turn right again into a lane between buildings. At the first footpath junction (grid ref. NY177167) turn right and follow the path on the shores of Buttermere. As you make progress along the lakeshore your first view Fleetwith Pike appears ahead. The path eventually leads to the B5289 once more.

Turn right along the road, walk past the building at Gatescarth and take the track on the right after 150 metres. Almost immediately, turn left on a narrow path. From here, Fleetwith Pike is a daunting prospect yet its ascent is interesting and quickly achieved despite an ascent of over 500 metres. The climb starts immediately after leaving the road and soon passes a memorial cross. The path is steep in places but there are many excuses to pause to look back towards Buttermere and the surrounding fells. From the summit (grid ref. NY205141) the view down the length of Buttermere is superb.

From the cairn follow a narrow path initially descending south soon heading south east. There are several paths and the best option is to follow the most used. Continue the descent to reach a broad quarry track (grid ref. NY212135). Turn right and then after passing the Dubs Hut on your right, descend left. Nearing the bottom of the slope, veer off to the right across wet ground, cross Warnscale Beck and follow the path leading downhill. Cross the footbridge over Warnscale Beck, and continue ahead to join a clear track (grid ref. NY198138). Turn left down the track and continue to road at Gatescarth.

Turn left along the road. Take the path signed to "Buttermere and Ennerdale" on the left. Follow the broad path across pastures and over Peggy's Bridge. At the next footpath junction, turn right to follow the shoreline path along Buttermere. Where the path divides you can take either path but bear in mind the right-hand fork follows a line closer to Buttermere. At the end of the lake, turn right crossing Sourmilk Gill and Buttermere Dubs. At the end of the hedge on your left, turn left through a gate and follow the broad track back into Buttermere village. It is worth pausing on this final stretch of the walk to look back at Fleetwith Pike with a feeling of satisfaction that you have completed the circuit.

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