From Braithwaite to Buttermere
NINE Wainwright walk: Barrow, Outerside, Causey Pike, Scar Crags, Sail, Eel Crag, Wandope, Grasmoor, Whiteless Pike.
Time: 6 hours (plus time for the return bus journey to Braithwaite/Portinscale)
Parking: some free parking is available for early arrivals (and you need to be!) on the side of the road above Braithwaite leading to the Whinlatter pass.
|Looking up Coledale from Outerside|
The long, straight valley of Coledale runs through the centre of the North Western fells, ending at the village of Braithwaite, just off the main A66 road to the west of Keswick. It is surrounded by some fine fells that are often walked in a circular 'Coledale Round' route that links summits on both sides of the valley.
However, my route takes advantage of the summer bus timetable to provide a hike that links Braithwaite with Buttermere, taking you not only to many of the Coledale Fells, but also to some fine peaks further west, not least Eel Crag and Grasmoor. It's a route that can provides a walker with a real sense of achievement, linking the summits of nine different 'Wainwrights'. However, it still leaves you plenty of time to enjoy the views, knowing that a bus can bring you safely back to Braithwaite at the end of the day.
|Strava estimates a total walking distance of 16km|
1) It's best to arrive in Braithwaite early, both to find a roadside parking place and to leave plenty of time for your return bus journey. If you need some caffeine, grab a coffee at the village shop, then head up the farm road to Braithwaite Lodge Farm.
|Walking up to Braithwaite Lodge|
2) A clear path heads through gates behind the farm onto the open fellside. Bear left for a short distance and then turn right to walk up a wide grassy path through the bracken, ascending the ridge of Barrow, the fell rising behind the farm.
|Causey Pike, across the valley ahead of you|
|Bassenthwaite Lake, beyond Braithwaite|
4) From the top of Barrow, you can see a conical fell to the west, seemingly out of place compared to its neighbouring high fells, which are all positioned further to the sides of Coledale. This fell is Outerside.
|Looking west along the ridge to Scar Crags and beyond|
|Looking north-east towards Skiddaw and Blencathra|
|Head west along the ridge path towards Scar Crags|
12) As you walk up Scar Crags, the steep southern face is impressive. Sadly, the actual summit (2205'), an elongated grassy ridge, is less so, however.
|On top of Sail, with Grisedale Pike in the distance|
|Looking along the valley of the Sail Beck, below Wandope|
|The onward path to the top of Eel Crag|
15) On the way along the crest, the path climbs over a couple of rocky rises, offering good views back down over Sail.
|Looking along Coledale from Eel Crag|
17) Rather than heading straight down the western slope towards Grasmoor, it's more interesting to head south-west from the top of Eel Crag to pick up the thin path skirting along the rim of the hanging valley of 'Addacomb Hole'.
|Follow the thin path around the rim of 'Addacomb Hole'|
|Looking back at the steep southern slopes of Eel Crag and Sail|
|Looking down into the Rannerdale Valley|