Walk date – 8th September 2023
Distance – 7.7 miles
Weather – hot and hazy
We were going to do this walk yesterday (Thursday) but the cloud cover was very low yet again so we waited until today when the forecast seemed somewhat more optimistic. We haven’t walked around Crummock Water since January 2016 and given how very warm it has been this week the thought of slogging up a steep fellside in close and muggy weather held very little appeal, especially for me and my tendency to wilt rapidly in such conditions. Me and very warm/hot weather just don’t get on well together so on the basis that there would at least be a cooling breeze around the water off we went to Buttermere for a refreshing saunter around Crummock Water because there’s always a breeze near a body of water, right? Er, no there wasn’t and as the day grew hotter and hotter our wilting rate increased accordingly. By the time we were back in Buttermere we were a pair of damp rags with every item of clothing sticking to us like glue.
A circular walk around Crummock Water starting from Buttermere
Having parked up in the parking area alongside the former Fish Inn, now operating under the name of The Buttermere Court Hotel, and paying our excessive (in my view but then it is Buttermere) parking dues we set off on the field path route making for Scale Bridge. Above is the view we had of Mellbreak from the path to the bridge. Its not low cloud that is obscuring the views today but there is a great deal of haze around so most of today’s photos suffered as a result.
On the other side of the water is the Grasmoor group of fells, namely, from left to right, Rannerdale Knotts, Grasmoor, Whiteless Pike and Whiteless Breast, again taken from the field path to Scale Bridge.
Across Scale Bridge now where I took a look back at the view, what there is of it. Grasmoor can just about be seen with Whiteless Pike just a little more discernible. The old bridge crosses Buttermere Dubs, the stream of water flowing from Buttermere Water into Crummock Water, and was obviously originally built to accommodate horse and cart traffic.
Crummock Water comes into view and, at the far end of it, so do the Loweswater group of fells. We have a solo female walker ahead of us and we have just passed a couple who seemed just to be out for a morning stroll judging by the lack of packs and, in the female’s case, the kind of clothing more suitable for a beach holiday (especially the sandals) so they were unlikely to be going very far. He said something unintelligible to both of us as we passed so all we could do was respond with a Good Morning and a cheerful smile in the hope that that would be sufficient.
The Woodhouse Islands come into view (on the extreme right) below Rannerdale Knotts and Grasmoor as we walked the rough, uneven path through the area where several streams flow down into Crummock from the surrounding fells.
Same stream but now showing Whiteless Pike and Whiteless Breast on the left and part of the High Stile ridge on the right.
A little more of Grasmoor begins to gradually appear.
Scale Island and Mellbreak in shot as the path becomes firm and dry once again.
The solo female walker has turned up the Scale Beck path, out of shot to the left, we carry straight on and the couple we passed earlier are nowhere to be seen so perhaps the path may have been too rough for the sandals to deal with and they’ve turned back. A wise decision given how very soggy and muddy things became just a little further on. The ground conditions along much of the path along this side of Crummock are really not the best place for footwear more appropriate for a flat and level seaside promenade as they vary from rough and stony to soggy and muddy at frequent intervals.
Crossing one of the bridges over Scale Beck where Mellbreak is hiding behind the trees. On the right of the shot though is High Ling Crag.
Almost the whole of Grasmoor is now in view. The smaller hump below it, just behind Rannerdale Knotts, is Lad Hows with its very steep ridge route up to Grasmoor just about visible. We came down that path in 2016 on a similarly very warm October day and met two lads, both of them red in the face and sweating heavily, sitting on a rock, taking a break from their climb and staring gloomily upwards at how far they still had to go. The descent was tough enough for us.
On we go towards Low Ling Crag from where I had hoped to take a few shots but with some people having set up camp on it and their belongings spread out all over it I decided not to bother. Another time perhaps. The bracken is dying off nicely I’m pleased to report.
The view back to Low Ling Crag and Rannerdale Knotts. To the left is Whiteless Pike and the ridge route to Wandope.
The still waters of Crummock and Whiteside now in view over to the right.
Grasmoor reflections. There’s never a breeze when you need once is there? Hoping for a cooling walk around Crummock never materialised and the temperature was steadily rising.
Looking back through the haze towards Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks across a flat calm water. Very atmospheric.
Another look back with both High and Low Ling Crag across the middle of the shot, behind them the Red Pike/High Stile/High Crag group is nothing more than a series of grey-blue shapes.
The views become more open when the steep sides of Mellbreak begin to flatten out a little. We can see the shingle beach at the far end of the water and that’s where we’re planning to take a break. Its a little after 11.00 am now and the heat is overpowering so a break will be more than welcome by the time we get to the shingle beach.
At this point access to the water didn’t involve clambering down any banking so over we went and dunked our pack towels in the water and draped them around our necks. A few moments of cooling bliss followed.
The two giants, Whiteside and Grasmoor, from the shingle beach at the foot of Crummock Water. We found some flat topped stones on which to sit and take a break, have something to eat and observe the surrounding activity that always takes place when folks gather on a beach. When we’ve finished our break we will head towards the tree covered promontory at the end of the green field, follow the path around it and head for the next shingle beach beyond.
The subdued view back towards Rannerdale Knotts from our refreshment stop. Looks like a slight breeze is rippling the surface of the water back there. No such luck where we are, the water is still flat calm and the sun is blazing down on us. We dunk the towels again before setting off again after our break.
We followed the path over the wooded promontory and dropped down to this smaller beach area and had a few minutes chat with a local lad out walking his dog. The dog, named George, can be seen swimming over on the right of the shot. Apparently this is one of George’s favourite swimming spots and its quite difficult to get him to come out of the water. His owner knows by now that when the dog swims towards the shore he’s not really coming out. As soon as his paws hit the bottom of the water he simply turns around and swims back out again. The dog, true to his owner’s word, did just that several times while we were talking, the lad said it was a devil of a job just to get George to come out.
As we were chatting I took another shot of Whiteside and Grasmoor behind Lanthwaite Wood. The off road parking area at Lanthwaite Green is just behind the woods.
More towel dunking as we approached the outflow of Crummock Water which in turn becomes the river Cocker and wends its way along Lorton Vale towards Cockermouth and ultimately the sea.
How we longed to be in there!
From the outflow and across another shingle beach full of sunbathers, paddlers and swimmers and into the blissful cooling shade of Lanthwaite Wood which perks us up just a little, the heat is still overwhelming but the shade is more than welcome.
We reach a clearing in the woods and have a view across, L to R, to Hen Comb, Blake Fell, Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell.
More blissful shade as we carry on through the wood …..
….. but it wasn’t to last too much longer and here comes the end of it. We have just met two chaps coming into the wood both of whom said what a relief it was to have some shade at last. We, alas, have come to the end of our ration of shade and are about to hit the open path once more.
There were still the odd patches of shade here and there along the way and in the shelter of one of them I took this shot looking over towards Grasmoor towering above us.
Further on and another patch of shade allowed a shot across the shingle cove towards Red Pike and the rest of the High Stile ridge.
Our footpath walking is about to come to an end, once across the footbridge we will be turfed out onto the road as the land ahead is private and does not have a footpath across it. We have just been asked by a young woman if there was any beach further along where it was a bit quieter so we told her that there was just a little further along the path. All the available beaches just below the bracken on the right of the shot were full of folk so there was no space available for her to set up her paddleboard judging by the huge backpack she was carrying. I expect she and everyone else had parked just a little further on in the parking area at Cinderdale Common and walked the short distance to the footpath and the various beaches from there.
Mellbreak across the private fields as we walked the tarmac.
A close up view of Whiteless Pike and the ridge line to Wandope from the road.
The mighty Grasmoor in full sun as we pass the foot of Rannerdale Knotts and …..
….. make our way around Hause Point. This shot was taken from a grassy perch which presented itself so we flopped down for a few minutes to take a break. The peace was shattered by the almighty roar of a single F16 flying just over our heads, damned Yanks!
The noise dies away, all is quiet once more leaving us to contemplate this lovely view of Mellbreak across the water, and …..
….. this one looking over towards Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks, plus …..
….. this one of the High Stile ridge. We reluctantly get back on our feet again to walk the road just a short distance further before leaving it and dropping down to the lakeshore path to walk around the headland, over on the left, and back to the car.
Leaving the road and following the woodland path down to the shoreline.
A view back along Crummock Water from the shoreline. Lots of people along here just enjoying the hot weather while indulging in a variety of water activities. We indulged in a water activity too, splashing our faces with scoops of water counts as a water activity, doesn’t it?
We make our way around the headland and the camp site beside Mill Beck comes into view. The car parking area beside the hotel is opposite the camp site on the other side of the beck so we haven’t much further to go at this point and the end is in sight. We are like a pair of drooping flowers right now and much in need of a very cold drink so we dunk the towels for the last time today, drape them around our necks and plod wearily back to the car. Only the thought of a can of something very cold from the cafe in Buttermere keeps us going and the sooner we get there the sooner we can have one. By ‘eck, its been a hot walk today.