Dale Head

Buttermere Walk

Dale Head, Hindscarth and Robinson

The long ridge on the northern side of Buttermere Valley gives a wonderful high-level walk, which encompasses an amazing array of mountain scenery. On the Buttermere side the light reflected off the lakes adds a sparkling dimension to the surrounding mountains, whilst to the north a ring of towering crags give the Newlands Valley an almost gothic feel. This walk follows the crest of the ridge and gives three summits for the price of one as three main summits are linked by only minor dips. This means that once you have put the effort into climbing the first peak, simple ridge top walking can then bag the remaining two. You can link the start and finish of the walk by valley walking but this involves a fair bit on the road. A much better option is to make use of the seasonal ‘Honister Ramble’ bus service that operates from Easter to the end of October and use it to head from Buttermere to the start at the top of Honister Pass.

Dale Head Big


Strenuousness 3

Navigation 3

Technicality 3


Distance 9.3km/5.8 miles

Total ascent 700m

Time 4-5 hours

Start GR NY225135

Finish GR NY175169

Terrain Steep fell side, domed summit, narrow mountain ridges, shallow cols, grassy shoulders and narrow fell road.


OS Landranger 90 (1:50 000)

OS Explorer OL4 (1:25 000)

Harveys’ Superwalker XT25 Lake District West (1:25 000)

British Mountain Maps Lake District (1:40 000).

  1. NY225136 Opposite Honister Slate Mine take the path that climbs steeply north up the broad ridge direct to the summit of Dale Head. This is the main climb of the day and although it’s a bit of a slog, ever improving views of both Borrowdale and Buttermere give plenty of excuses to stop and catch your breath!
  2. NY223153 Dale Head’s summit is devoid of features apart from a rather lonely cairn, it does however provide an absolute cracker of a view down into the secretive and little visited upper reaches of the Newlands Valley. From Dale Head turn west and follow the easy path down to Hindscarth Edge. The edge provides airy but easy walking to a path junction.
  3. NY214158 Hindscarth is a bit out on a limb off the main ridge but visiting it involves little height loss and is well worth the effort. Turn right and follow the path to its summit. Return the same way, but swing southwest to cut the corner once the main ridge is regained.
  4. NY213159 Once the main ridge path is reached turn right and follow it west across Littledale Edge, then north to the summit of Robinson.
  5. NY201168 Descend southwest from Robinson across the broad shoulder of Buttermere Moss to gain the final summit of High Snockrigg.
  6. NY186169 From High Snockrigg's cairn head north to regain the main path, then turn left onto it and follow it as it winds its way steeply west to join the Newlands Pass road. Turn left onto the road and follow it down to Buttermere.