Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere
Route Summary: A tough but rewarding route among the high North Western fells
A tough but rewarding route among the high North Western fells
|17.12 km||1301 m||6 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Buttermere valley
Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
Grasmoor and Rannerdale Knotts Walk from Buttermere Details
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.