Rannerdale Knotts

Rannerdale Knotts

Route: Rannerdale Knotts

Area: Western Lake District 

Date of walk: 18th December 2021

Walkers: Andrew and James

Distance: 3.0 miles

Ascent: 1,100 feet

Weather: Mist in the valley, but sunny with a cloud inversion higher up

In view of a negative weather forecast we hadn’t planned a walk today. However a glance through the window suggested that the forecast was wrong. Mist in the valley persuaded James and I to drive over to Crummock Water in search of photo opportunities. At valley level the mist was too thick, but it was clear that if we could get to higher ground there would be the possibility of a cloud inversion. We parked in the small National Trust car park at Hause Point (no fee) and climbed up the path leading to Rannerdale Knotts. At this stage we hadn’t decided to climb the fell, but within 5 minutes or so we were above the clouds and enjoying wonderful views, as well as the phenomenon of a brocken spectre

At this point we decided to climb to the top of the fell and take advantage of the wonderful conditions. Rannerdale Knotts is one of the smallest lakeland fells, standing at the modest height of 1,160 feet. What Rannerdale Knotts lacks in height it more than makes up for in its rugged mountainous character and the beauty of its surroundings. It’s a short but quite steep climb, made easier these days by the addition of a rock staircase. We were soon on the north top enjoying views of a sea of clouds along Lorton Vale and the Buttermere Valley

After admiring the views we carried on along the knobbly summit ridge known as Low Bank. At the end of the ridge there’s a choice of return routes: either back along Rannerdale, or along the Crummock Water side. We opted for the latter today, as the valley route has restricted views. Such a choice would be unthinkable in May, when the famous Rannerdale bluebells are in flower. The sight – and scent – of huge swathes of these flowers growing on open fellside is unmissable

We descended towards Buttermere down the easy grassy slopes to pass over High House Crag. This brought us to the edge of Buttermere village. Back down to valley level the mist was thick and there were no views. We decided to take the quickest way back, which was along the Buttermere road. The road can be avoided by following a path above it, but we saw no point in this in view of the mist. It had been a red letter day, one of the best 

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