Ascent of Whiteless Pike

link to map for Whiteless PikeThis walk combines an ascent of Whiteless Pike with a visit to the isolated valley of Rannerdale. Whiteless Pike looms over Buttermere village, and is a fantastic viewpoint, with particularly good views of the fells on the far side of the lakes and a good close-up view of Grasmoor. The path down Rannerdale offers equally good views of the southern face of Grasmoor, and back towards Whiteless Pike.

Ascent: 2,050ft
Length: 5.3 miles
Map: Map: The English Lakes - North Western Area (OS Explorer Map Active) (OS Explorer Map Active)
Last Walked: 26 September 2008

We start at the main car park in Buttermere village. If you are starting from the NT car park to the west, then you will find the turn used in step two just to the south of the car park, and should consider ignoring step 9, as this path is only a few feet from your starting point.

1 (NY 175 169)
We start at the entrance to the main car park in Buttermere village. Head towards the main road, passing the Bridge Hotel. Turn left onto the road, and follow as it climbs out of the central part of the village and up towards a cluster of buildings on the hillside above.
2 (NY 173 171)
Whiteless BreastThe final building on the right in this cluster used to be the village Post Office. Just past this building turn right onto a track that runs behind the buildings then curves gently around to the left and runs up the valley of Mill Beck, passing to the right of High House Crag. As we pass this crag the climb up to Whiteless Breast comes into site, running alongside a rocky spur that runs up the ridge line. Paths run to the left and right of this ridge, or along the rocks. We took the right-hand path, which climbs up steadily, and offers good views into the valley to the right.
3 (NY 179 177)
Whiteless Pike from Whiteless BreastThis path eventually brings us to an area of relatively flat ground at the head of Rannerdale. Paths leave here in every direction, with good paths to the left running towards Rannerdale Knotts and down the valley, but for the moment our route onwards is the path that zigzags up the slope directly in front of us (if in doubt at any point before reaching the summit of Whiteless Pike take the steepest path!).
4 (NY 180 182)

This path climbs up onto Whiteless Breast, and then curves around the hillside to bring us onto the saddle of land between Whiteless Breast and Whiteless Pike. The path to the summit can be clearly seen from here - first heading straight across the flatter area, and then zigzagging all the Rock step on Whiteless Pikeway to the summit. From this position one apparent obstacle comes into site - an apparently vertical area of rock that on a busy day causes a serious traffic jam as people reach it and stop. Don't worry - when one finally reaches this apparent obstacle it turns out to be a slab of rock at a shallow angle with any number of easy ways across - most of the delays are caused by people stopping to take pictures!

From this point the path climbs up to the summit in a series of easy zigzags. From below the left-hand end of one of the them does appear to be going unnervingly close to the edge of a massive drop, but this is an optical illusion (as became much clearer on the way back down).

5 (NY 180 189)

The summit of Whiteless Pike offers very good views across to Grasmoor - if you want to visit Grasmoor then the path continues across Whiteless Edge and across the plateau of Wandope to a cross-roads, where the left hand branch leads onto Grasmoor. This walk turns back at this point. After admiring the view, we retrace our steps down Whiteless Pike, past Whiteless Breast, and to the junction of paths we passed at step 3.

Whiteless Edge from Whiteless PikeView south from Whiteless Pike

6 (NY 179 177)
High RannerdaleThis time turn right and follow the path that runs down Rannerdale, running between the slopes of Whiteless Pike and Low Bank. At the top of the valley this path runs to the right of a beck, but we soon cross over to the left bank, and follow the path as it runs down the valley, with a stone wall to our right.
7 (NY 168 186)
Whiteless Pike from Dale HowEventually we reach a point where the stone wall turns sharply to the left and cuts across our route. Pass through a gate in the wall to the right. Ignore the bridge over the beck, and follow the path as it curves around to the left, running around the base of Rannerdale Knotts. Watch out for way-markers painted on rocks which mark the route of the path.
8 (NY 163 183)

This path eventually brings us to the road alongside Crummock Water. Unfortunately there isn't a continuous footpath back to Buttermere, but we will only need to use the road in short bursts.

Above Hause Point, Crummock WaterThe first burst is very short - turn left onto the road, but then almost immediately leave it to the left and follow the path that climbs across Hause Point. At the top of the climb the path splits, with one branch heading up Rannerside Knotts and the other running south-east across the hillside. Take this second branch, and follow it as it runs back down to the road close to the head of Crummock Water.

Our second spell on the road is the longest - we stay on the road for about a fifth of a mile, past the entrance to Wood House. Just past this gateway, the road turns sharply to the right and enters some woods - at this point leave the current road to the left and follow what appears to be the original route of the road.

9 (NY 172 172)
This brings us back to the road for the third time - take special care here, as the road is narrow and lined with stone walls. Fortunately we only stay on the road for 500ft, before turning right onto the first footpath we reach.
10 (169 171)
This path runs through the woods on Long How, before eventually coming down to Mill Beck. Turn right and follow the path downstream to reach a footbridge, cross the stream and then turn left and follow the path upstream back into Buttermere village.

Home - Photos - Guide - Links