buttermere cokermouth cumbria view of High Style

A Ridge Walk Among the Gods

A ridge walk par excellence is the route along the chain of bold fells that form the barrier between the valley of Buttermere and forest-cloaked upper Ennerdale. High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike are three magnificent beasts all linked by the same ridge path. The walk can be done in either direction with the usual start point being Buttermere. We will take the clock-wise direction and hence take the lakeside path that wends its way close to the southern shore of Buttermere.
The view up Crummock Water, with Red Pike (on the right)as the dramatic finale to the ridge.
As the mountains start to close in on Warnscale Bottom we take the busy path that climbs at an angle to the top of Scarth Gap. This was once a pack horse route for journeymen and farmers making their ways from one valley head to another. At the open area at the head of the pass as the drama that is Great Gable hoves into view we bear sharp right and make a stiff and steady climb up High Crag. On a hot summers day this can be a trial for those who have not kept themselves in trim. After two steep pulls upwards the summit ridge then becomes a far easier task. Like Helvelyn and many other Lakeland fells the north side of the mountains have been torn into by glaciers to give sheer rocky cliffs. In contrast the more south facing side is a more grassy and rounded form. In clear weather it is simplicity itself to follow the path north-west to High Stile and then Red Pike. If in doubt in misty weather keep on the more rounded south facing slopes above Ennerdale. Descent in that direction from Red Pike towards Gillerthwaite is probably the safest way down off the ridge if you are unsure of directions. The descent from Red Pike is a scree peppered path worn by many feet and demanding care and patience. At the foot of this pitch, an area known as the Saddle, I recommend turning left to follow Far Ruddy Beck down towards Crummock Water and hence via a simple lakeside path back to Buttermere. Mapping guidance.

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