Lorton to Buttermere

Route: St Cuthbert’s Church Lorton to St James’ Church Buttermere

Area: Western Lake District

Date of walk: 19th April 2018

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 7.2 miles

Ascent: 1,200 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny, clouding over near the end

Yesterday’s walk reminded us that linear walks are somehow more satisfying than circular ones, involving a journey to a destination. The planning is a little more complicated though, and consideration needs to be given as to how to get back to the start. For today’s walk we left one car at Buttermere and drove in the other to the start point – St Cuthbert’s Church on the edge of High Lorton. A ‘pilgrimage’ to its sister church, St James’ in Buttermere would make for a very pleasing walk

It was a glorious morning as we parked at St Cuthbert’s and followed a path across the fields into High Lorton. Just beyond the village hall we crossed the bridge over Whit Beck and after following the lane for a short distance turned off along a footpath to Scales. We continued climbing up an untidy path by a farm before finally turning south in the direction of Buttermere. The path continues at mid-level along Lorton Vale, giving glorious views across the surrounding countryside and to the lakeland fells ahead (the walk should be started from Lorton rather than Buttermere in order to keep the most dramatic scenery ahead). The views from High Swinside in particular are sublime and sum up all that is best about sweet Lorton Vale

We carried on along the elevated path and eventually reached Lanthwaite Green and the foot of Crummock Water, but continued along the higher level path in order to stay above the road. On reaching Rannerdale we dithered for a while, not being able to decide between continuing up Rannerdale, or walking around the foot of Rannerdale Knotts, which involves less climbing. In the end we opted for the latter, mindful of the wonderful views ahead once the short climb over the big toe of Rannerdale Knotts has been accomplished. We passed by two walkers here, the only other people we’d encounter on the journey until our arrival in Buttermere

We descended to Wood House and followed the road into Buttermere (the road section can be avoided by taking a slightly longer route through Great Wood). We then visited St James’ Church to admire the Wainwright memorial plaque and the view through the window to Haystacks, Wainwright’s favourite fell – a fitting end to a superb walk

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