Buttermere - Scarth Gap Pass (Wax Knott) - High Crag - High Stile - Red Pike - Bleaberry Tarn - Buttermere

Distance 7 miles
Ascent 1000 metres
Altitude (max/min) 800 metres / 100 metres
This is one of those routes that is well worth doing, at least once in you lifetime, unfortunately it could also significantly reduce that lifetime. Whilst, this is a relatively short route, it is rather severe. If you aren't very fit or you aren't used to severe respiratory discomfort or if you have any heart or lung problems DO NOT attempt this route.

From Buttermere head towards the lake, at the bottom of Sourmilk Gill you will find yourself on the wrong path, the bridleway is not along the lakeshore but up in Burtness Wood, after crossing the bridge and going through the gate go straight ahead up the stone staircase until you reach the bridleway. Turn left and continue through Burtness Wood coming out of the wood below Burtness Combe and the waterfalls, well worth a stop and a picture. Continue along the lake until you reach Peggy's Bridge, here you will turn right up Scarth Gap. This is a long slog, you can have a rest part way up at Wax Knott to take in the view.

If you are suffering already then bail out now, you could continue on the route over Scarth Gap Pass in to Ennerdale and back via Floutern Tarn, this is a much gentler route.

From Wax Knott the route gets a bit steep for the next 400 metres, that's vertical metres. If you look up from Wax Knott you can see Gamlin End, that's essentialy where you are going. You need to head for the depression just below Gamlin End where you can have a rest, then you head up Gamlin End on to High Crag. The bridleway from Wax Knott to Gamlin End is not waymarked and is poorly defined on the ground, so make the best effort you can to stay on the bridleway, then just follow the route up Gamlin End. If you are still conscious once you have reached High Crag, then it's relatively all plain sailing from here. It's a simple matter of riding along the ridge from High Crag to High Stile then on to Red Pike, don't forget to take in the scenery and enjoy the views, you won't be doing this route very often so enjoy it.

Enjoy the views of Red Pike, it might be the last thing you ever do. On the ascent you may have been wishing for the lightest bike ever, but you need something a little bit more robust for the descent, body armour wouldn't go amiss. From Red Pike I recommend that you have a good look at where you are heading before you try and ride it. The paved path between Red Pike, Bleaberry Tarn and Burtness Wood is not on the bridleway so you shouldn't use it, check your map. Stick to the bridleway and all you tumbles will be, softer. In Burtness Wood the bridleway has been paved, you have no choice but to use it. Be careful.

This route is worth it for bragging rights alone, but don't forget the camera as few people will believe you.

Buttermere Routes