Lorton to Buttermere

Monday 29 June 2015. I wasn’t sure where to walk today. The weather forecast was good and will probably get warmer as the week goes on. If it is to become warmer from tomorrow then I’ll need to be making an early start to avoid the peak heat in the middle of the day. With this in mind I decided to do a walk which didn’t need to early a start and headed off to catch the 10:30 bus from Keswick to Lorton.

There was a large queue for the bus and a guy came and sat beside me in one of the few remaining seats. As you do, I asked this fellow walker where he was going? To my surprise, his reply was “don’t I know you and aren’t you Brian Foster?”. I hadn’t recognised him but the guy sitting next to me was John Horner who I hadn’t seen for over 20 years. John and I worked together in the MoD at Harrogate in the mid-80’s before he moved to London. He was on holiday in Keswick with his wife and had intended to go walking with her today. However, she wasn’t feeling too well and at the last minute he decided to catch the bus to Buttermere to do a walk up Fleetwith Pike on his own. If I hadn’t chosen my Lorton walk today and if his wife hadn’t been unwell, then we would never have met. What an amazing set of circumstances.

On the bus ride to Lorton, John asked if I wouldn’t mind if he joined me on today’s walk? I was pleased to have his company and it gave us a chance to catch up on things and for him to bring me up to speed on mutual friends.

We got off the bus in Lorton at just after 11:00 and began the walk along quiet country lanes which took us to the open fellside and the 2,200ft climb in just over 4 miles to Ladyside Pike and on to Hopegill Head. The last part of this was a scramble over a steep rock-face which was fine as it was dry underfoot but would have been treacherous, bordering on impossible, had it been wet.

It was a relief to get most of the climbing done and we then descended 500ft or so to Coledale Hause before climbing again (400ft) across Whiteless Edge to Whiteless Pike. We now had a drop of 2,000ft in a little over 2 miles to get to Buttermere. We stopped for a rest on the way down and wondered whether we would arrive in time to catch the 16:24 bus back to Keswick. We got there just as the passengers were boarding and, as it was full, we had to stand all the way back on the 50 minute ride. We wouldn’t have been stranded in Buttermere if we had missed the 16:24 as there were 3 later buses (16:48, 17:15 & 18.15) but all of these would have gone the long way back over the Honister Pass and down Borrowdale.

The walk turned out to be 8.4 miles with a total ascent of 3,064ft and a total descent of 2,920ft. It was a great, if tiring walk and it was good to meet up with John after all these years.

Walk route

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