High Stile

Published 1 March 2020

High Stile, seen from Red Pike
It’s High Stile

If you’re in Buttermere, you can’t escape a group of fells looking down on the village and the lake. Fells that stand there, calling for you. And I was in Buttermere. And they did call me. So I went to visit five of them. After starting with with Great Borne and Starling Dodd, I had carried on to Red Pike. And now my fourth fell would be the middle of the ‘Buttermere Three’.

No sooner had left the summit of Red Pike and I found a spot where the strong winds couldn’t reach. The gusts that had been hitting me like mad, stopped. And I mean, completely stopped. Whatever it was about that location, I didn’t know. I could see nothing in particular why the wind wouldn’t affect that place. But it did. And it was extremely well sheltered.

I said as much to another walker, going in the opposite direction.

“Just wait until you get down there,” he replied knowingly, pointing at the path to High Stile. But even when I got there, I realised if he’d thought it was bad there, he was in for a shock when he got to Red Pike. And I just hoped he was going nowhere near Starling Dodd, cos if he did…

The path to High Stile was easy to follow. All I had to do was follow some old rusting fenceposts. In terms of a navigational challenge, rated about 1 – Mega Easy.

A walker scrabbles over the rocks to get to the top of High Stile
A walker scrabbles over the rocks to get to the top of High Stile

High Stile saw a change in proceedings. After a morning walking on grassy paths, things now began to get a bit rocky. The top of High Stile looked like a giant had scooped up a load of gravel, and thrown it all over the hill top. To get to the highest point of High Stile thus required me to pick my way over them,

The top was rather full. At least until a large group left en-masses minutes after I arrived. With them gone, there was only two other people with me.

They were a couple, one of whom was busy setting up, then swiftly dismantling some sort of aerial. By the time I got close enough to ask what they were up to, he’d packed it all and they were half way gone. And then that was that.

A large summit cairn
The summit of High Stile

The crowds had been with me at Red Pike. But here on High Stile, the highest point of my day’s walk, I was now alone again.

I picked a sheltered spot to sit down at, wondering quite how I’d ended up completely alone on this popular fell. I can’t say I cared though. There’s something wonderful about sitting on at a summit with no one around. To be able to enjoy the spectacle of Lakeland laid out in front of you, and to know that right now – at this very instant – you are the only one seeing that view. It’s brilliant. And I wouldn’t have changed the situation for the world.

Next time: High Crag

Ennerdale and some clouds, seen from High Stile
Whispy clouds and a view of Ennerdale Water await you at High Stile

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