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Buttermere's Ruddy Beck Track

Date & start time: Monday 25th October 2010, midday start.

Location of Start : The National Trust car park, Buttermere, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 173 173 )

Places visited : Buttermere, Scale Bridge, Ling Comb, Dodd, Bleaberry Tarn and back to Buttermere.

Walk details : 3.75 mls, 1800 ft of ascent, 2 hrs 45 mins including a biscuit stop.

Highest point : Buttermere Red Pike's outlier, Dodd, 2090 ft - 641 m.

Walked with : Myself and Bethan.( Ann and Harry were off for another of his 'hot swims' again )

Weather : Beautifully sunny but cool, turning cloudier towards the end.

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]

The Ruddy Beck Track at EveryTrail



A path I've been meaning to try for years now,

but each time I've passed I never seem to find the start of it.

Armed with a decent map, reading glasses and sufficient time I try for the route,

... and have several surprises along the way.

I managed the last place in the car park at Buttermere before heading off into the village.

I think this was the busiest I've ever seen it . . . and it was even fuller when I returned 2 and 3/4 hours later.

Crag House Farm on the way to the Bridge.

Dodd is the high ground in the centre of the photo but it merges in with Red Pike and Lingcomb Edge behind.

The Bridge Hotel . . . almost Alpine in design with those nice balconies.

Turning towards the Fish, the other hotel and pub in the village.

The Croft Cafe has new competition this year from Syke Farm but there's plenty of business available today for everyone.

Nice enough to sit out and enjoy a snack or early lunch.

A temporary car park has opened to cope with the influx of half term holiday visitors . . . and it's full !

Leaving the sounds of the village behind, I cross the meadows towards Scale Bridge.

This is Mellbreak . . . the thin blue line above the wall is all that can be seen of Crummock Water from this angle.

Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere Dubbs . . .
. . . the river between Buttermere and Crummock Water.

Scale Bridge.

Every time I look at one of these bridges now I always end up thinking what it may have looked like in the November floods last year.

High Snockrigg . . . the fell immediately behind the village that leads on to Robinson Fell behind.

I've passes Near Ruddy Beck and reached the bridge over Far Ruddy Beck.

Somewhere between the two is supposed to be a path up the fell but its start point is far from obvious.

No matter . . . I set off up one of the several small sheep tracks up through the bracken

and start to gain height as I enter the woods above the Buttermere to Scale Force path.

The route, or should I say my route

zig-zagged up in between the well spaced trees,

sometimes following an obvious path, sometimes not.


I drifted up and passed a rather nice waterfall on Far Ruddy Beck

which is not mentioned on the map at all.


My attention was drawn to three people

and a group of camouflaged tents in the wood . . .


~ Surprise number one ~

The three people included Mike Park of Cockermouth MRT who had climbed up to investigate a report of an abandoned campsite in the woods.

There seemed to be two tents and a large bivvy shelter in good state of repair but not recently used. Mike had been checking in case anyone had come to grief locally. The tents seemed well constructed but virtually abandoned. If anyone knows anything about it, Mike would be grateful for information, not that they are causing a problem but just to assure the team that there's nothing to worry about regarding the camp.

Please let me know and I'll pass any information on.

Still . . . with a view like this and a waterfall for a morning shower it must be a nice place on a fine day.

Proceeding on up, the mountains start to rise above the tree tops again.

The green fields of Buttermere Village

Leaving the trees I seem to have found a good path that leads up to the wall.

Mistress of all she surveys . . .

oh . . . and this bit too . . . Lingcomb Edge.

For those wishing to follow my route and are equipped with O.S. Explorer map, don't take the green coloured path up through the woods too literally as it doesn't exist on the ground. However, once through the wall my route followed the black dotted line on the map almost exactly.

- - - o o o - - -

Earlier Mike had also talked of a wartime wreck below Lingcomb Edge which was a Wellington Bomber on a training run in 1943.

Following his rough directions I proceeded off-piste towards the steep base of Red Pike and the Edge. I didn't have to walk far.

What looked like a crash crater was in fact a recent landslide.

I had discovered the source of Ruddy Gill ( a stream flowed out of the hollow) but no crash debris.

However, a little further down . . . surprise number two . . .

Small but definite remains of aircraft parts . . .
. . . lying deep in the heather and grass below Red Pike.

Apparently the six crew who died were carried down by local men on farm gate stretchers sometime in 1943

and most of the remains of the aircraft have been cleared away. These are always sad places, even sixty seven years later.

- - - o o o - - -

Climbing up to The Saddle.

Looking over the brink from the lower cairn on the summit of The Dodd.

Far below is the village of Buttermere as the clouds throw moving shadows on the north western fells.

The view from the top today . . .

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama.

A drink and a biscuit for me and a few extra dog treats for Bethan and it's time to be off.

A brief walk back to The Saddle . . .

. . . and then turn left and down for Bleaberry Tarn

A classic high upland tarn in the cirque, corrie or combe, depending on your nationality.

Follow the yellow brick road . . .
. . . down to the water's edge.

From the hause down to here and virtually the rest of the way down to Buttermere, the path has been pitched with stone.

A massive undertaking but one that has paid dividends. It eases the walk up, reduces erosion but I must admit is rather hard underfoot on the descent.

Passing through a sparse line of Scots Pines as Bethan and I descend towards Old Burtness Woods and Buttermere.

Crummock through the pines.

One of the few fellow walkers I actually passed today

despite the huge number of cars parked in the village below.

Am I allowed one more photo of Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike and the Pines ?

Hassness House bathed in sunshine.
Into the woods as the day starts to cloud over slightly.

Bethan takes the opportunity of a cooling dip after completing the long descent.

Fleetwith Pike across the lake.

A regular feature of a visit to this part of the lake is the National Trust recruitment vehicle.

I say good afternoon and pass without stopping to buy . . . no point having two memberships is there.

- - - o o o - - -

Stop Press . . . subsequent to my publishing this page I received the following pictures and information.


Dear Roger

I've been looking at your photos of the remains of the Wellington Bomber
below Red Pike. They're wonderful!

My parents owned and ran the Bridge Hotel in Buttermere from 1953 - 1972.
(Rodney & Rosemary Twitchin). In about 1956/7 my brother and a friend went
for a walk with Mum up to Red Pike and visited the crash site, they came
back down with a part of the engine, not a bad feat for two boys of about 8
or so! We still have it.

and subsequently .......

I have finally, after major interruptions, got the photo of the engine part
and a copy of my 'photo shopped' version of how I think it fitted.
The rotary engine photo that I found which claims to be from a Wellington
Bomber is a slightly different version from the part that we have.
I suspect that it was from a newer model.

The Bomber that crashed was possibly an
older one that had been relegated to training missions - thus the difference
in the engine. Hope it is of some interest.

Regards Zoe Thomson



Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a trekking pole for the steep ascent and descent.

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