If I thought I would be allowed to sit on my laurels after the completion of the final Wainwright fell, I should have known better. Wednesday dawned bright, so we decided to drive seven miles to the small village of Buttermere and park in the *National Trust car park. We set off early to make the most of the dry weather and the plan (I thought) was a gentle meander around the lake and also Crummock Water.
After parking (pay and display or free for NT members), I fell into the trap that had been neatly laid for me. I glanced up at Rannerdale Knotts which we have climbed at least three times (a moderate climb which makes an ideal day out when entertaining visitors to the Lake District). Mr JH then drew my attention to the fell next to it – Whiteless Pike. He confidently declared that it wouldn’t take ‘any time at all to be up the top of there well before lunch’.
It did indeed look innocuous and tempting. Of course at that stage, I hadn’t factored in the breeze that was ominously picking up.
As the weather was by far the nicest we had experienced all week, I thought it actually might be fun to ramble without the encumbrance of full waterproof gear.
After the paths to Rannerdale Knotts and Whiteless Pike divided, the climb became a little steeper. The wind was by now getting stronger but the terrain was safe without any particularly interesting features. Things got a bit more complex as we approached the top. The path took us near a rocky edge which would have been fine on a calm day. However, visibility was clear so we found a slightly steeper route away from the edge up the rock face to the summit. I was at the limit of my comfort zone during the ten minutes it took us to complete this part of the climb. The top was flat and the summit cairn was scattered far and wide. It looked a little better after Mr JH’s tender ministrations. There was no shelter so we didn’t linger long.
As we made our way back, the wind picked up again. We retraced our steps, negotiating the same steep route as on ascent.
Once back at ground level, the sky cleared and the wind dropped to no more than a pleasant breeze. We then spend a relaxing afternoon sauntering around the two lakes, which after the last ice-age, were one. Erosion of the fells and movement from the becks (rivers) caused debris to fall into the lake and subsequently divide it.
*The National Trust car park tends to be over-subscribed. There is a pay and display car park near one of the hotels with public toilets nearby. Buttermere is an extremely popular location for tourists so the steep Newlands Valley road tends also to be lined with parked cars.
Join me next time when I discover the delights of two very pretty and extremely gentle fells on which to end our week in Lakeland.