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Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

By Dave Chick   

on April 1, 2020    No ratings yet.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

Further Details

Route Summary:

A tough but rewarding route among the high North Western fells

This walk includes the 5 Wainwrights of Grasmoor, Wandope, Hopegill Head, Whiteless Pike, Rannerdale Knotts

This walk includes the 5 Hewitts of Whiteless Pike, Grasmoor, Wandope, Hopegill Head, Whiteside East Top (Whiteside) (Gasgale Crags)

This walk includes the 5 Nuttalls of Grasmoor, Wandope, Hopegill Head, Whiteside East Top (Whiteside) (Gasgale Crags), Whiteless Pike

Route Start Location: Buttermere valley

17.12 km 1301 m 6 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


There are no facilities on this route. Buttermere village is a short drive to the south-east where you’ll find a couple of pubs including the Bridge Hotel and The Fish Inn as well as tearooms.


No specific hazards

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking :

There are four small car parks that can be used for this walk, all able to park 10 or so cars. They can be found along the B5298 between Lanthwaite Farm (north) and Rannerdale (south)

Public Transport:

Honister Rambler service 77 from Keswick to Buttermere (Seasonal – April to October)

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

This is a superb walk but is fairly taxing on the legs with 1,200m of elevation gain. That said, it is often overlooked by visitors to Buttermere so it tends to be quieter than the other big routes in the area, such as the High Stile ridge. The climb to Rannderdale Knotts is a stiff warm-up but the modest fell is a tremendous viewpoint before you get to tackle the lofty heights of Grasmoor. The rocky, undulating ridge linking Hopegill Head and the western summit of Whiteside is regarded as one of the best in the entire National Park. There are several points along the Buttermere valley where you can park and start this circuit.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Route Description

1 – The route description starts from the beginning of the first climb to Rannerdale Knotts so, depending on where you parked, make your way to this location. It can be found at grid reference NY 16291 18323 just south of the most southerly car park listed below (Rannerdale Knotts) where a set of pitched stone steps are picked out by a fingerpost.

2 – The climb to Rannerdale Knotts is steep, following an eroded path. Keep left as the path rounds the bottom of a rock outcrop then turn left and climb towards a patch of scree. The path climbs across the scree to the foot of a broad gully (approx NY 16463 18255). Climb the gully then follow the path as it winds through various outcrops of rocks to the summit.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

2 – From the summit of Rannderdale Knotts, follow the spine of the fell as it descends gradually along Low Bank towards Buttermere. You will reach a confusion of several paths at the head of Rannerdale (NY 17923 17746). Where two paths branch off to the left, take the second one which starts the climb to Whiteless Pike (the left-most path descends into Rannerdale Valley). There should be little difficulty following the path for 1.4km to the summit of Whiteless Pike with the path steepening just below the summit.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

3 – Ahead is the fine Whiteless Edge but more climbing. Climb the ridge (a detour to Wandope is an optional extra) until you reach a crossroads of paths in a broad, grass saddle at NY 18611 20169. Turn left to make the long climb to the summit of Grasmoor which stands 1.1km due west along a well-trodden path.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

4 – From Grasmoor’s summit, head east but bear left slightly to reach the rim of Dove Crags. A path skirts the crags then descends the grassy northeast ridge of Grasmoor. You will reach the main path in the valley. Turn left onto it and follow it to Coledale Hause. If you are feeling fatigued at this point, you can escape to Buttermere by descending a path alongside Gasgale Gill. Otherwise, prepare for one final climb.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

5 – A path climbs in a northerly direction from Coledale Hause to Sand Hill with a final short climb to the rim of Hobcarton Crag, one of the most impressive valley headwalls anywhere in the Lake District. Turn left and follow the ridge to the small peaked summit of Hopegill Head. Take care around the edges of the crags.

Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere

6 – The ridge to Whiteside stretches out to the west and will come as a welcome relief from the exertions of the day. The undulating ridge is nothing short of sensational, with outstanding views in all directions. There are a handful of small, marked summits along the ridge, culminating at the ‘Wainwright’ summit at the far end.

7 – A steep descent begins at the western summit of Whiteside. The path heads in a south-westerly direction towards Liza Beck, eventually reaching a footbridge over the stream (NY 16172 21035). Cross the footbridge. You can bear right after the bridge to head towards the road or, bear left to follow a path which traverses the lower slopes of Grasmoor. Either can be used to follow the valley south, the choice depends on where you parked or if you prefer to walk along the road or not.

Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.
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