Buttermere

Buttermere is a remote part of the Lake District, set in an amphitheatre of mountains and one of the most tranquil valleys in Cumbria. Buttermere is only a short journey from Borrowdale and Keswick over Honister or Newlands pass, or accessible via Cockermouth on a flatter route, following Crummock’s lakeshore. Alternatively, you can take the “The Honister Rambler” bus service (operating from Easter to the end of October) which follows a circular route from Keswick through Borrowdale and Buttermere.

The name Buttermere means “the lake by the dairy pastures” however the farmers now tend to raise flocks of Herdwick and Swaledale sheep on the vast acres of common land. The easy route around Buttermere lake is a great opportunity to spot them. The area is incredibly photogenic, made more dramatic by the play of light and shade in the narrow U-shaped valley; the perfect playground for aspiring photographers.

 

St James Church, at the foot of Newlands pass, is famous for the memorial dedicated to Alfred Wainwright (1907 – 1991), author of the popular walking guided on the Lake District. Appropriately, it sits on the window that overlooks his favourite mountain, Haystacks.

A short walk from Buttermere is the highest waterfall in the Lake District, Scale Force. Hidden away in the tree-lined gorge up from the shores of Crummock Water, is the impressive single drop of 170ft. Along the edge of Crummock, mountains rise up, with Red Pike and High Stile to the south and Grasmoor towards the northern end.

Crummock Water has easy access to the Rannerdale valley. In early to mid-May, Rannerdale, also known as the hidden valley, turns a vibrant blue, covered in beautiful bluebells – a spectacular sight that shouldn’t be missed. It’s quite a rare in the Lake District, since they are on an open fell side, rather than amongst trees. The views are unbeatable, overlooking Crummock Water, up to Mellbreak and beyond.