Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4-5.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
9.7 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
821 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk

The Fleetwith Pike Circular is a challenging but ultra-scenic walking route in the Lake District that will see you climb up a steep mountainside trail to reach the summit of Fleetwith Pike. While out on this trail, you will have a sweeping view across the mountainous landscape, including the deep blue waters of Buttermere to the northwest. This route is perfect for those walkers that are looking for a bit of a challenge and don’t mind a bit of basic route finding.

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Route Description for Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk

Walking the Fleetwith Pike Circular is a rough and rugged adventure that will see you climb up the steep hillside for some amazing views of the Lake District. Remember to wear proper walking boots, as you will need the best footing along the uneven, rocky, and steep terrain that can be found along this route. Additionally, this trail is fairly exposed to the elements and weather patterns can change quickly. Wear plenty of layers and come prepared for windy and wet weather conditions.

Although the terrain here may be steep and rugged, the views along this trail are anything but. As you stand atop the summit viewpoints of Fleetwith Pike and Black Star, you will have some spectacular views of the Honister Pass, Buttermere, and the surrounding mountain terrain. After making the descent towards the Haystacks, you will realize why it was Wainwright’s favourite fell due to the amazing scenery that can be found here. There are definitely some physical elements to this walking route, but they are well-worth braving for the rewarding Lake District views.

Setting out from the layby in Gatesgarth, head east along the road for a short distance and take the path on the right, making an immediate left to begin the steep ascent to the summit of Fleetwith Pike. Continue straight along the trail for the next 1.0 mi, traversing the rough and rugged terrain of the fell until you reach the viewpoint at the summit. Once there, take a moment to catch your breath while enjoying the amazing views that sweep across the Lake District.

Once you’ve had a bit of rest, take the path on the left and continue along the trail to the east for 0.4 mi, until you reach the summit of Black Star. While enjoying the scenic views across Honister Pass, keep left along the trail for the next 0.43mi as you descend the mountainside, being careful to avoid any marked off mining areas.

Reaching a junction in the trail, turn right to head west on a track that cuts across the slopes of the peak. After 0.1 mi, take the path on the right and keep straight to eventually pass by the Hopper Slate Quarry. From here, turn left to descend slightly along the hillside for 0.4 mi to reach the stone shelter of Dubs Hut. If you are planning on spending the night at the shelter - and it is unoccupied - feel free to set up camp for the night. If not, continue southwest along the trail for the next 0.5 mi.

At the junction, take the path on the right and keep right for the next 0.49mi, crossing over Black Beck and passing by the calm waters of Black Beck Tarn and Innominate Tarn on your left to arrive at another fork in the trail. Head right here to make a gradual climb up to the summit of Wainwright’s favourite fell, Haystacks.

Enjoy the views looking up at the imposing Fleetwith Pike across the valley before continuing along the trail to the west. Head left at the first junction and keep straight for the next 0.5 mi to arrive at the Scarth Gap. Make a left here, followed by a right at the next junction to begin your descent of the hillside while enjoying some scenic views of Buttermere.

After 1.0 mi of downhill walking, turn right at the junction and follow the trail east to pass through a boggy area and cross over Warnscale Beck. From here, it is a short 0.3 mi walk into Gatesgarth, at which point you can turn to the right to return to your vehicle having completed the Fleetwith Pike Circular.

Trail Highlights

Fleetwith Pike

An imposing fell with a height of 648 m, Fleetwith Pike can be found in the Lake District in one of Wainwright’s favourite walking areas. A dominant feature of the landscape, the hill towers above the Honister Pass and looks particularly striking when viewed from the edge of Buttermere to the northwest.

Buttermere

Located in the northwestern part of the Lake District, Buttermere is a scenic lake that also gives its name to a nearby village. Origins of the unique name are unclear, although the most likely meaning is “the lake by the dairy pastures.” Regardless of its etymology, the landscape surrounding Buttermere offers picturesque scenery and access to a number of outdoor activities.

Insider Hints for Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk

  • Overnight stays along the trail are possible by means of Dubs Hut and Warnscale Bothy. These shelters are not reservable, so it is best to plan ahead in the event that they are already in use.
  • Make sure to wear proper walking boots for this rugged journey along steep terrain.
  • Upper portions of this walk are fairly exposed to the elements. Be sure to wear plenty of layers and plan according to the conditionals along the trail.

Getting to the Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk Trailhead

To get to the trailhead for the Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk from Keswick, make your way to the southeast along Borrowdale Road/B5289 for 10.6 mi, where you will find a layby on the right side of the road. Alternatively, the Gatesgarth car park can be found 450 ft further along the road.

Route Information

  • When to do

    March-October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Dubs Hut

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Fleetwith Pike Circular Walk Elevation Graph

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