Adventure & Travel Blog Lake District Lovers

Warnscale Bothy, Buttermere

  • Parking:  Gatesgarth Farm car park CA13 9XA
  • Length: Approx. 5 miles
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Time: 4 hrs

Warnscale Head Bothy

Tucked into the valley overlooking Buttermere and wedged between the distinctive peaks of Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike, Warnscale Bothy is a basic mountain shelter with the most spectacular view. It’s small picture window framing the spellbinding scene of Buttermere, Crummock Water and the surrounding fells has captured the hearts of photographers and fell walkers.

view of buttermere from warnscale bothy window
Warnscale Bothy window view

Warnscale Bothy Walk

Although the walk up to the bothy isn’t too difficult for anyone with reasonable fitness and mobility, finding the bothy itself can be a bit of a task as it’s camouflaged among a heap of slate and jagged rocks. But with a little perseverance, you can find this hidden treasure and enjoy a few other surprises en route.

If you do decide to go in search of the bothy, please adhere to the Mountain Bothies Association code and make sure you respect other walkers, the bothy and its surroundings.

How to Get to Warnscale Head Bothy

  1. From Gatesgarth Farm car park turn left onto Honister Pass and walk approximately 150 metres along the road before taking a right onto the footpath near the sign for Honister House. The well-defined footpath winds around the bottom of Fleetwith Pike and past Buttermere where the most beautiful views start to open up.
high crag high stile and buttermere
High Crag, High Stile and Buttermere

2. Continue along the path as it veers round to the left, where views of Haystacks open up. You’ll find the start of the walk very gentle and with not much incline to begin with.

3. A bit further along, you’ll see a small wooden bridge on your right. Here you can take a detour down to the beck, which I highly recommend for Lake District walks in the summer.  Skip to number 5 now if you prefer to continue straight to the bothy.

Buttermere Infinity Pool

4. (Detour) Cross over the wooden bridge and turn left to walk alongside Warnscale Beck. As you continue to walk up by the water you’ll come to a series of fairy pools and waterfalls. This is one of my favourite secret swimming spots in the Lake District, although I’d consider them plunge pools.

Buttermere infinity pool will take your breath away with its incredible location and views. Keep climbing further up the beck to reach more fairy pools and waterfalls. From here you can either continue uphill until the footpath comes back into sight (although this is quite challenging as it’s very steep and rocky) or you can return to the bridge and get back onto the original path you started on.

buttermere infinity pool
Buttermere infinity pool

5. Ignore the bridge on your right and carry on up the path alongside Fleetwith Pike, keeping Warnscale Beck on your right. The path soon starts to climb and there are loose rocks in some places so be careful of your footing.

6. Ahead of you now you’ll have a great view of Haystacks, waterfalls and a deep gorge that plummets between the fells. Continue on the path as it winds around to the left and up above the beck. You’ll eventually see a ford in the beck where you can cross the water via large stones, but be careful not to slip.

haystacks fell

7. As you ascend from the ford on the other side of Warnscale Beck, follow the path that winds over the hill and soon the bothy comes into sight. It is difficult to spot at first so you might have to keep your eyes peeled as it’s concealed by a slate heap.

8. Take some time to soak up the stunning views right across Buttermere, Crummock Water and the fells before heading back the way you came.

warnscale bothy view of buttermere
Warnscale Bothy view of Buttermere and Crummock Water

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