Buttermere - Scarth Gap Pass - Black Sail Pass - Wasdale Head - Sty Head Pass - Seathwaite - Seatoller - Honister Pass - Gatesgarth - Buttermere

Distance 19 miles
Ascent 1500 metres
Altitude (max/min) 550 metres / 75 metres
A longer route with FOUR Passes.

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, and consider future adventures up to High Crag and beyond (look at your map, this is not fro the faint hearted). Off we go again up to the top of Scarth Gap, it is worth descending a little towards Ennerdale for the better views, from here you can see the route ahead - descend to the Black Sail Hut then up and over Black Sail Pass and in to Wasdale. Descend the Pass, ride up past the Hut until you reach the Rizer Liza, cross the river and head up Black Sail Pass, this is a hard steep slog but well worth the effort, enjoy the views at the top of the pass looking in to both Ennerdale and Mosedale, you won't have much time to appreciate the scenery on the descent towards Wasdale Head.

You can have a rest in Wasdale Head.

From Wasdale Head you need to head up to Burnthwaite, then up Lingmell Beck between Great Gable and Lingmell to Sty Head Pass. To reach Burnthwaite take the bridleway from Wasdale Head Common (the big free car park), past St.Olaf's (the smallest church in England). At Burnthwaite turn right and head towards Sty Head Pass, cross Gable Beck then have a look at your map and your options. You have a choice of 3 bridleways; for an ascent I would take the rightmost route it is most rideable. The left hand bridleway is now the main pedestrian route whilst the middle bridleway is the main historical route, whichever route you pick they are all hard. From Sty Head Pass you can go to Langdale, but that's a longer adventure, instead you descend past Styhead Tarn, down Styhead Gill to Stockly Bridge and Seathwaite where you meet tarmac for the rest of the route. Roll down the road to Seatoller to loosen up your legs for the final climb of the day, Honister Pass. Turn left at Seatoller and up you go, it's only 1 in 4, on tarmac, what's the problem; there's also a big flat section in the middle of it from where excellent views can be had across the fells to Helvelyn in the distance. From the top of Honister Pass it is downhill all the way to Gatesgarth. If you want to get off-road again at Gatesgarth you can, turn left before the bridge and follow the track up to Peggy's Bridge (you've been here before - the bottom of Scarth Gap Pass), then turn right for Buttermere.

The long road run-in from Honister Pass to Buttermere is ideal for loosening your legs ready for another days adventures.

Buttermere Routes