High Stile Wild Camp - 19/01/2016

It’s been quite some time since I got out for a good walk and Richard had mentioned about doing his first wild camp in proper Winter conditions, so I decided (very bravely) to join him. He’s also just got himself a new tent which he wanted to try out (as it looks good in the snow.) Now the last time I did a wild camp was when we did High Stile at the end of September which was my first one. Bearing in mind that I was absolutely freezing on that one, I was just slightly worried about the cold, especially with it being thick with snow on the summits. This time, though I had a 4 season sleeping bag and better clothing to take with me so I was more prepared for the conditions.

After picking Richard up we drove down to Buttermere and parked the car near the church. We donned our boots, hats and gloves and started our walk towards Buttermere. From here we started our ascent through Burtness Wood and towards the North East Ridge. This is quite a slog with heavy rucksacks on especially for Richard who was carrying the tent and all the cooking gear. On our way up we stopped off at a beck to fill our water bottles up for our cooking later.

Buttermere with Grasmoor in the distance
Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike
There is a path going up the North East Ridge but with all the snow, it was difficult to tell where it was and it was quite deep. Instead, we ended up following the heather just slightly off from where the path was, as it was safer underfoot.

Crummock Water
Light on Grasmoor
It was slow going in some parts due to not knowing where the path was. Eventually, we came to the little scrambling section at Grey Crags which I found a lot of fun in the snow. Our microspikes were definitely needed on this walk.

As we started getting nearer to the top the temperature suddenly started to drop and you could feel more of a wind chill.

We reached the top of the ridge around 4 pm so we put down our rucksacks to go and have a good look around for photo opportunities. There wasn't much of a sunset but it was still nice to be up there in these conditions. After a bit of photography, it was time to head back to pitch the tent. Once Richard started to put up the outer I could see why he wanted that tent so much. It just looked stunning in the snow. Once we got the tent pitched up it was time to get into our sleeping bags and get the stove ready for some hot food. Richard had brought some hot phal curry and rice which he'd made the night before. It was a very welcome meal on such a cold night. When it was time to go to sleep I was so grateful for my 4 season sleeping bag as it was freezing outside.

The following morning our alarms woke us up around 7 am so it was time to get ready for the sunrise. We were expecting to wake up to cloud inversions but when we opened the tent there wasn't any. I had my fingers crossed that we'd see some as I've never witnessed them before. It was still a special feeling waking up in these surroundings though and I've never felt so grateful.

Sunrise over Helvellyn
Me and Frankie at sunrise
We got wrapped up and wandered up to the summit for more photos. It was absolutely freezing as the sun hadn't come out fully yet to warm the air.

Richard doing a happy yay on the summit
Once we'd spent quite a lot of time taking photos we headed back to the tent for coffee and breakfast. All I can say is what a view we had from the tent. I can't imagine anything better.

Good morning from High Stile
While I was inside the tent eating breakfast Richard was outside, and all of a sudden he shouted "Inversions". I quickly finished eating and put my boots back on. I couldn't believe our luck. Even though a little later than expected, there were inversions over Red Pike. We even saw a spectre forming over Red Pike.

Grasmoor to the left
The Scafells in the distance
What a place to wake up
After a lot of playing around up there, it was sadly time to get back to the tent to pack everything up. Richard decided that the best way back down to Buttermere was via the scree near Red Pike. I'm not a big fan of screes normally but he reassured me that it was easier in the snow. He wasn't wrong. I found myself bum sliding most of the way down. It was so much fun, I felt like a child again.

Eventually, we reached the bottom near Bleaberry Tarn to join the main path back down to Buttermere.

We got back to the car with achy legs around 5 pm. I'm now raring for my next Winter wild camp. Which one next Richard ?? : -D

7 miles and 3600 feet of ascent


  1. Really enjoyed that Jaclyn, and the pics are looking fantastic.
    Scafell next?

    1. Thank you. Definitely Scafell next, I'm raring to go already :)