As most who know me will be aware, my favourite valley in the English Lake District is Buttermere. It is for me the most scenic of the lakeland valleys and offers everything a visitor can ask for. Amazing roads, scenery, places to eat, places to walk, places to climb... the list doesnt really end. It looks different every time I visit and I never get bored of the place. As a result, I have climbed all the peaks round there, some more than once, and one (Haystacks) more than ten times. But for some reason, I have never done Mellbreak, an imposing lump of rock on the west shore of Crummock Water.
Today we will summit 1 Wainwright:
Time & Distance Info
All image description text is "above" the image that it is referring to on my blogs.
This route when viewed in Open Topo map looks like this: (N/S Orientation correct)
(Walking Anti-clockwise from the top)
And the view of the route as seen on Google Earth. (Walking Anti-clockwise from the bottom)
Here is the elevation profile: (Height on the left axis, and mileage along the bottom)
For those of you unfamiliar... Here is a shot of Mellbreak on a wonderful summers day, as viewed from the far more popular summit of Rannerdale Knotts just across the water.
As I know the car park here is quite large, for once we dont have to leave quite so early. Steph and I pick Steve up at 7:30am and after stopping for some food we are parked up in the Lanthwaite Wood National Trust car park for 10am.
We exit the car park left and start the walk in through Loweswater and past the Kirkstile Inn.
Where I learn there is a small parking slot just over Church Bridge. Handy to know for future reference.
As Mellbreak comes into full view we pause for some images. We can see the steep ascent ahead now.
We cut through a short outer section of Flass Wood.
Then the climb up Raven Crag begins. As we look back the view is starting to open up nicely.
There are some walkers up ahead, and they add a nice scale to this image.
But on every breather stop - there is a view to make it worth the wait. Loweswater looks great from up here.
But Whiteside and Grasmoor command this area!
Looking up the Buttermere valley across Rannerdale Knotts to Fleetwith Pike beyond Buttermere.
The view ahead isnt quite as inspiring. Its hard work this!
But we can always look backwards...
Not far to go now. This is White Crag.
And Mellbreak North Top. This isnt actually the summit. Just the highest part of the northern end of Mellbreak.
The summit is at the other end.
And it is this end which has one of the greatest "reveals" in Lakeland for me. As you walk forward, the southern end of the valley comes into view. Fleetwith Pike commands center stage here.
The Buttermere Valley in all its glory. Amazing to think that I have stood on every peak visible here. Some more than once.
Naturally - This is exactly where we stop for lunch!
And when the light is as good as its going to get, I grab a nice image during a quick break in the cloud.
Thankfully, Steve grabs one of Steph and I before we start our descent.
Which of course, is a descent with a great view.
Once you breach Scale Knott, you turn left towards Crummock Water.
Pausing often to take it all in.
This image reminds me, I need to get Steph up on Grasmoor.
Grasmoor and its neighbours were the scene of my only real temperature inversion. A life experience box ticked for me and certainly a night Steve and I will never ever forget. This image from that day is looking back down towards where we are stood right now...
And it just got better and better until we watched the sunset over a full on Lake District wide temperature inversion. (To see that trip report - Click here and open it in a new window for later)
Anyway... enough reminiscing. Its amazing what memories a photograph can bring back isnt it?
When we reach Crummock waters shores, we stop for a drink and a rest.
Rannerdale Knotts sat across the water from us, seemingly standing guard over the farm below.
From there its just a 2.5 mile easy shore walk back to the northern head of Crummock Water.
Interestingly (Or Not?) This is the scene of many a great sunrise shoot for me back in the days when I only went out with my SLR and filters. What a morning that one was. I had tried and tried tens of times, racking up hundreds of miles and hours and never really got anything that I loved, but I knew one day when conditions were right, this location was a winner. Landscape photography is a game of 35% Skill, and 65% patience and perseverance.
Finally... One morning after leaving home at 4am to be here for sunrise, it all came together! I will never forget it, as it was the day before my wedding to Mandy.
The Pumphouse Bridge.
Grasmoor and the Boathouse at Sunrise:
I called this one simply... "Freedom" (It was the day before my wedding... what else could I call it?)
Aside from being a landscape photographers dream location, this is an awesome location to bring your family for a picnic, and maybe some swimming. Its rarely busy... Its a golden location with most of the joys of its neighbour, Buttermere, but none of the crowds. As we headed back to the car, we passed a family enjoying the wonders of Crummock Water. Perfect.
Thanks for reading folks. I hope you enjoyed taking a little trip with us and that it inspired you to try the route.
Remember, take your time... never rush. The fells are there to be enjoyed, not endured.
While you are out there enjoying the beautiful fells, remember the golden rules...
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints and keep only memories".
Here is some data from my Suunto Ambit 3 peak watch.
Calories etc are pretty accurate as I use the Suunto Smart heart monitor on all my hikes. GPS data is updated every 1 second so it it records every footstep, thus mileage often looks a little different to most navigation apps as they are usually set to update far less frequently and so miss a few turns here and there. All that wandering around looking at views adds up.
All images in this blog were taken with my little pocket sized Canon G7X point and shoot. Its not a patch on my Canon 5D MK3 of course but I no longer lug all that around with me hiking as its just too cumbersome. When I find a scene worthy of the 5D3's talents, I usually return one day to make the best of it.
Route Completed on July 16th, 2016 with Steph & Steve.
New Wainwrights: 1. New total: 147 of 214.
New Birketts: 2. New total 203 of 541.