Looking up to Grasmoor from the side of Buttermere and Crummock Water you will notice a ridge sweeping up from the vicinity of Cinderdale. A small top on the ridge, which is the only respite from the climb, is called Lad Hows. On much older maps it was called Lad House.
Your lasting impression of the ridge will be of its steepness. There's no getting away from it, it does climb steeply but what a view to look back over when you take a breather. The beautiful pastoral landscape of Buttermere and Crummock Water, backed by Red Pike and the High Stile ridge. Beyond, Great Borne and the other Ennerdale fells are gradually revealed. Whilst we would really like to walk down this ridge for the view, with its steepness and a small section of loose scree it is best appreciated as an ascent route. The descent is reserved for the ridge over Whiteless Pike whilst having put in so much energy to get high our walk also visits the nearby Crag Hill and Wandope.
The walk starts at the small parking area below Rannerdale Knotts on the road between Lorton and Buttermere.
This walk takes you to the top of the following hills: Whiteless Pike, Wandope, Thirdgill Head Man, Rannerdale Knotts, Lad Hows, Grasmoor, and Crag Hill; and includes 5 Wainwrights, 7 Birketts, 4 Hewitts, 4 Nuttalls, 1 Marilyn, and 2 HuMPs.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Continue through the parking area, heading away from the road. With Rannerdale Knotts towering above to your right, ahead is Grasmoor. Lad Hows can be seen with the ridge sweeping up behind it. Outside of summer, when the bracken is not dominating everything, you'll be able to see the paths climbing to the ridge line left of Lad Hows.
Keep right to swing into Rannerdale. Reaching the footbridge turn left across it and left again onto the track. In late May and June, just before the bracken takes over, this area is famous for bluebells.
Continue along the track, and go through the gate out of the walled enclosure. In only a few metres look to your right for a grass path leaving the track. Take it, and bear left and then right joining to form a wider path climbing all the time. Aim for the intersection of the ridge on the lower skyline and Cinderdale Beck. The paths generally converge on that area.
Gaining the ridgeline turn right to follow the path. Bracken gradually makes way for bilberry and heather. The summit of Lad Hows is just a rounded top of grass and heather.
Turn left and with the rest of the ridge ahead start climbing again. Initially a narrow path brushes through heather, but with height comes rock. Encountering the zigzag path through loose scree just go with it. It doesn't last too long. Above is a more pleasant grass path again, soon coming out onto the edge of the Grasmoor plateau.
Bear left to the summit windshelter.
Retrace your steps, heading east on the wide path along the edge of the plateau, and continue past the cairn near the top of the Lad Hows ridge. Keep heading roughly east and drop down to the junction of paths on the col between Grasmoor and Crag Hill ahead. Here you'll find a reliable source of water for thirsty dogs. Keep ahead, following the wide path up to the rather dilapidated trig point on Crag Hill.
Be aware that beyond the trig the ground initially falls gradually, but then tumbles over cliffs. It's a long way down into Coledale.
The view outwards is down the length of Coledale to the vale of Keswick, backed by Skiddaw and Blencathra. Looking down to the left is Force Crag mine.
From the trig point on Crag Hill start retracing your steps back towards the cross roads, but before reaching it bear left off the path to pick up a narrow path along the top of Scar Crag and Addacombe Hole. Head round to the cairn at the summit of Wandope.
From the cairn on Wandope turn right, slightly south of west, onto a path across the grass above the head of Third Gill to the cairn at the top of Whiteless Edge - it is important to get this right so take a compass bearing if in doubt or poor conditions.
At the cairn bear left onto the very obvious path down Whiteless Edge to Saddle Gate - as its name suggests it is a saddle or col, and climb up the other side to Whiteless Pike. After the airy edge the summit of Whiteless Pike is a disappointing, indeterminate grassy area that doesn't quite live up to its grand setting.
Continue over the summit of Whiteless Pike. The path bears left, south, to meander gently and drop down to the head of Rannerdale and Squat Beck.
Reaching Squat Beck, with the start of the long ridge of Rannerdale Knotts ahead, turn right to continue descending now gently into the pretty and relatively hidden valley of Rannerdale. Follow the path as it crosses the beck, and later alongside the wall.
Go through the gate just before the footbridge, but don't cross. Bear left to follow the path back to the Rannerdale car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Rannerdale Knotts||1.8km (1.1 miles) away|
|Bleaberry Tarn above Buttermere||1.8km (1.1 miles) away|
|Bleaberry Tarn, Red Pike, and Dodd||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|The Buttermere Edge||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|A Journey from Buttermere to Keswick||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|Around Buttermere||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|The Grasmoor Six Wainwright Fells||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Knott Rigg and Ard Crags||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Moss Force on Newlands Hause||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Mellbreak and Scale Force||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Hen Comb from Loweswater village||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Lanthwaite Wood and Crummock Water||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Gavel Fell and Blake Fell from Maggie's Bridge, Loweswater||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Haystacks||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|Fleetwith Pike via Fleetwith Edge||4.6km (2.9 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011