Buttermere to Little Town
Today’s plan, formed in the pub last night and refined as I lay awake listening to the wind and rain, was to have the easiest possible walk over into the Newlands Valley, whilst still gaining some summits. So it was quite obvious to pick Robinson and Hindscarth, but I made the job a bit easier by getting the bus up to the Honister Pass to reduce the ascent slightly.
But first I had to strike camp, and waited for a gap in the rain so I could get the tent down. It was in my rucksack within 5 minutes of starting and a few minutes later I was in the Bridge Inn for breakfast, emerging when the rain had stopped to catch the bus.
The bus dropped me at the slate mine at 11:20 and whilst everyone else crossed over to the mine, I headed in the opposite direction and begun slogging my way uphill. Easy navigationally as I was following a fence, and easy underfoot to start with being on grass. The hardest challenge is deciding which side of the fence to walk on, as there are a few stiles offering the opportunity to change. I stayed on the left, purely because the quality of the path underfoot seems better. But as I encountered rocks, and the path on the other side looks nicer, I began to wonder whether I’d made the right choice.
But as I paused frequently and looked back, I saw ever improving views to Buttermere, then over Grey Knotts to Base Brown and later with better visibility Great Gable.
A man from Liverpool caught me up and we walked to the summit together as the nice grass ended and stones took over. This gave me the opportunity for some conversation, which i’d not had much of at all this trip, and also the chance of a summit photo.
We then headed west together towards Hindscarth, but after ten minutes he left me to return to his car. I carried on descending along Hindscarth Edge and then cut over towards the summit. The highest point is actually the first of the two cairns, despite the second, northern, one being bigger. I paused for lunch and looked at the view into the Newlands Valley.
Then I got going again and headed back down to Littledale Edge and the re-ascent up onto Robinson. Coming at that point after lunch where energy levels are at their lowest, this was a slow slog requiring several jelly babies to get me to the top.
But now I’d nailed today’s walk and just had the descent to do. So I headed north east to follow the ridge line down into the valley, and as I came level with the tarn below, opted for a direct descent to the safety of the good path below, rather than continuing the ridgeline over High Snab Bank. In hindsight this was probably not the best thing to do, as I missed out on the ridge walk, but then I was very much governed by descents being a matter of getting down as fast and safely as possible.
I slogged my way along the path beside Scope Beck, with the weight of my pack and tired feet slowing me down as I walked through the lanes to Little Town. But that’s not all of the walking over, as the only option for the evening meal was a walk to the pub at Swinside – a mile and a half away, and a late headtorch-lit return through the lanes afterwards.