Rediscover your inner child
Add this little extra adventure onto a visit to beautiful Buttermere where the less mobile will find more accessible walks. There is parking for a couple of cars in the forest, or ample parking at Gatesgarth Farm.
The Buttermere area is one of the more popular Lake District spots, but this short scramble up the first part of Hassness Gill ( also called Hassnesshow beck on the OS map) offers a hidden natural playground.
From the lay-by, go through a gap where the beck runs through a break in the fence that is easy to pass.
The path follows the stream for a short while to the right, and then you can see the path go up steps and a stile over a wall on its way up to Robinson. The stream veers left and begins to steepen a bit and then appears to be blocked by a couple of huge boulders and a tree. Here you should retrace your steps about 20 m until you can ascend grass on the right-hand side facing the hill, join the path briefly, and then descend back to the stream bed after the obstacle.
Rediscover the joy of being a child as you play in the water and clamber over the rocks, but be careful it can be slippery
The stream bed then gets gradually steeper (but never too steep) until it reaches a fork in the beck and a little dam and reservoir in the left hand fork. There is pipeline leaving the reservoir which suggests it is still the water source for the building at Hassness, so try to resist the temptation to bathe! The reservoir is a reminder that the Lake District fells, although beautiful, are not fully a ‘natural’ or ‘wilderness’ environment but are full of evidence of the relationship between humanity and the environment. All along this section it would be easy to step out of the beck on the right and onto the path.
Both branches soon after become very steep and enclosed. It is possible to go a bit further up the left hand one to get a good look into the gills of goat crag, but don’t go too far, as in about 30m or so the beck becomes a treacherous ravine, which could result in a serious accident
Follow a sheep track right from the reservoir to the path and descend back to the road, or if you feel like more exercise, break out to the right where you can follow the steep path that rises up to Robinson with good views of the gill, and what better way to finish off than a walk to Buttermere for a homemade ice cream.
As you discover the landscape by physically clambering and scrambling in nature’s playground, do you sense a deep connection with the natural landscape? Has this landscape happened by chance or can you sense a designer’s hand?