Rannderdale Knotts

Length 5 Kilometres | Highest point 355 metres

Rannerdale Knotts 355m, 1164ft, GR 167182


If the Norman army had used a guidebook when it tried to quell the Norse settlers of West Cumberland, it would not have been falsely diverted into the waiting ambush in Rannerdale. In April, Rannerdale’s blue hue leads credence to the legend that the local profusion of bluebells springs from a soil well fertilised by Norman blood. (The Battle of Rannerdale is told by Nicholas Size in ‘The Secret Valley’). Beauty comes in small packages they say, and this fell with its modest height delightfully presents a self-contained hill, unlike some of its more lofty competitors.

Buttermere valley from Rannerdale Knotts
Buttermere valley from Rannerdale Knotts

Start in Rannerdale (GR 163183), where there is parking for several cars. A direct ascent is possible, but the charms of Low Bank are best discovered more gently: ‘Go slowly, my friend, so that you may see how much there is in me, and not I how little there is in you’. So, proceed NE along a level track, through a gate into Fletcher’s Field, and then gently rising as you pass below Dale How to the junction of Squat Beck and Rannerdale Beck in High Rannerdale. Pass through a gate on the right. Climb gradually up to the col, resisting the temptation to short cut sharply right onto Low Bank. From the col between Low Bank and Whiteless Pike enjoy the view of Buttermere before turning your back on it to follow the rising, undulating ridge of Low Bank. The summit is at the far end, not at the intermediate cairn (3.5km, 250m, 1hr 15min).

Bluebells and blossom in Rannerdale
Bluebells and blossom in Rannerdale

Bluebells and blossom in Rannerdale
Bluebells and blossom in Rannerdale

From the craggy top, to which the name Rannerdale Knotts is correctly applied, a panorama of three lakes is revealed. Descend from a prominent notch in the rock down a groove heading NW, before swinging left (poor path) towards Crummock Water. After some steep ground gain the old road, and any of several tracks leading back to the modern road (4.5km, 1hr 45min).

Melbreak from Rannerdale Knotts
Melbreak from Rannerdale Knotts