Ski Club of Manchester, Lake District Walks - The Buttermere Range - Sunday May 5th 2013

By Nigel Koenen

We met in Buttermere village at approx 10.30am 14 of us set off across the valley to the north west end of Buttermere where we turned south east to follow the bank of the lake. At the southern end of the lake we said goodbye to Jonquil who intended to do a circuit of the lake, and the 13 of us remaining [plus 2 cannines] started uphill in a southerly direction towards SCARTH GAP PASS, where we first encountered the mountain bike carriers, I am sure we all thought however hard it was for us, we certainly did not want to be lugging a bike with as well!!. As we reached the pass we turned west to gain the ridge that runs above Butteremere.

Our high points on the ridge were HIGH CRAG 744M, HIGH STILE 806M and REDPIKE 755M.

The going was tough in low cloud, rain, wind and mist, however we had frequent stops for members to catch up / rest, Dave Shepherd ,who is practising for some endurance walking was carrying a large and heavy rucksack, which nearly put my back out just lifting it out of the car boot, anyway one piece of his equipment which came in very handy, was the primus stove for making soup, which was a godsend in the tough conditions.

From Red Pike we had a long descent towards SCALE BECK and this was the scene or our temporary seperation into two sub groups. However we were saved by the combined technologies of GPS and mobile phone, coupled with some shouting and whistle blowing, we soon regrouped and carried on down to the beck.

Following the rough path down along the side of the beck we soon reached SCALE FORCE where we again met our new friends carrying their bikes, which they had been doing all day apparently apart from a 10min spell of actually riding them [the leader told me that as soon as he got his bike loaded into his car, he was driving straight back to Newcastle, to have some words with the bloke that told them, "it was a good bike route"]

We turned south east to follow rough paths near the southern end of Crummock water towards Buttermere, the slog along this path being relieved by the ongoing opportunity to make fun of the bikers who took it in good part.

Various conditions having transpired to slow us down, we had no time for tea and cakes but we made a dash back to Braithwaite just in time for quick shower / bath and a group dinner at the MIDDLE RUDDINGS Hotel.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dave Miller for all the planning and route finding - a tiring but good day.