High Stile is our favourite summit wild camp location. With the right weather conditions, the Northeast Spur can be an ideal location for inversions, Brocken Spectres, plus great sunsets and sunrises. The ascent via the Northeast Ridge from the village of Buttermere is steep and direct, however, it rewards with splendid views across Buttermere and Crummock Water. It can be hard going if carrying a heavy pack, so give yourself plenty of time to reach the summit. I normally give myself three hours to reach the summit, and then one more hour to pitch, eat, and take photos before sunset. The last section of the ridge is an easy grade 1 scramble, however, in winter conditions microspikes are recommended as a minimum requirement. The upper cascades of Comb Beck provide a great water source, but there are no other water locations till the descent into Warnscale.
Route 3 - High Stile Summit Wild Camp - Map 1
The village of Buttermere is a great starting point for this wild camp, with the Fish Inn being the choice for a meal before our journey; the benches outside providing a great view of our route up High Stile’s Northeast Ridge.
“No mountain range in Lakeland is more dramatically impressive than this, no other more spectacularly sculptured, no other more worth climbing and exploring.” High Stile 3
Even though the ascent of the Northeast Ridge provides great views when the head is turned, because of the time of day, any photos ahead are limited due to the shade. So, please check the list of routes on this website that include High Stile, for a more detailed description of the route, and the scramble further up the ridge.
“The north-east ridge is decidedly rough, consisting of successive turrets of rock surrounded by boulders, which cannot be avoided (some are balanced precariously; handle with care). There are no insuperable barriers, however, an agile scrambler will have no difficulty in reaching the top” High Stile 8
Two small grassy mounds on the summit of Grey Crag provide room for no more than two tents, while the Northeast Spur (where I’m stood) provides shelter from any westerly winds.
To spend a night here is simply magical. You can leave all the troubles of the world behind, dream of great adventures, and watch the birth of a new day. To us, there is no better place.
The aptly named Red Pike looks absolutely stunning at sunrise.
“Syenite in the rock and subsoil of the fell produces the rich red colouring that has given Red Pike its name…” Red Pike (B) 2
Problem is with a wild camp on High Stile, is that it’s difficult to leave.
Gamlin End is tough on the knees with a heavy pack, so please take your time and zig-zag where possible.
From the col between High Crag and Seat, we take a more direct and ‘off the beaten track’ route to the shore of Buttermere.
This is a very special location for me. On my walks with a very good friend, Dave Clapham, we used to explore all the crags and rock features. We often came across some features that triggered our imaginations, and we both thought this one looked like an Angel looking out over Warnscale. Dave is sadly no longer with us, but I often sit here to remember him and our adventures.
It’s now back to the Fish Inn for a well earned pint.