Haystacks is a relatively diminutive fell that’s really big on interest and views.
Distance 7.1 km
Much has been written about Haystacks, a relatively lowly fell in terms of stature but one that is big on features and interest. The moment you clap eyes on its rough, knobbly outline is the moment you will fall in love with it. This love will be carried on throughout a traverse of its varied and interesting top, full of impressive scenery and fabulous views; this is a short walk packed to the rafters with delight. Famously this fell was both the favourite and nal resting place of Lakes guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright. The route starts at the foot of the northwestern side of Honister Pass and almost immediately heads into the hidden Warnscale Bottom. Indeed, the crags and gullies of Haystacks tower above during this section, giving a taste of adventures ahead. The old path is beautifully graded and climbs past the familiar-to-many Warnscale Bothy, the perfect place for a rest and a great photo opportunity. Once above the bothy, and on the summit plateau, the path is strikingly obvious; but for the more adventurous there are many delights and side routes to explore. Even the short walk around the tarns offers a worthy detour, and if the weather is good enough there are many places to sit in contemplation of the grand scenery. Beyond the summit is a steep descent to reach Scarth Gap; from there, the descent to Buttermere is once more a beautiful gradient, with every step delivering a spellbinding view.
Distance 7.2km (4½ miles)
Total ascent 562m
Time 3 hours
Start/Finish car park at Gatesgarth (NY195150)
Nearest town Keswick
Terrain typical Lakes terrain with grassy and rocky sections
Accommodation The Bridge Hotel, Buttermere (017687) 70252 www.bridgehotel.com; YHA Buttermere 0845 371 9508 www.yha.org.uk/hostel/buttermere; Cragg House Farm (camping barn and holiday cottage) (017687) 70204 www.buttermerecottage.co.uk
Public transport Stagecoach bus 77/77A serves Buttermere from Keswick hourly www.stagecoachbus.com
Best pub The Fish Inn, Buttermere (017687) 70253
NY195150 From the car park at Gatesgarth, head south-east along the road towards Honister Pass. At the wall corner immediately after Gatesgarth Cottage turn right and head along the track; the going is easy along this level section and the scenery all around is superb.
NY199138 Bear right at the small cairn across the grass. Two paths can be seen; the more distinct one is an old quarry road, but the one we will follow heads towards the waterfalls. Cross the footbridge and climb straight ahead, fording a small stream and climbing directly towards the waterfalls in front of you. This is a great path that zigzags across differing surfaces but is nicely graded throughout. Cross a small stream on a level section, then follow the line of cairns up to Warnscale Bothy, a perfect ‘room with a view’. Continue to climb from the bothy, following the line of cairns to reach a junction of paths.
NY206132 Directly opposite the path junction is the prominent Great Round How. Turn right along the path, which is now clear throughout to the summit of Haystacks. The route is interesting and is criss-crossed by various paths, should you wish to explore the area. The main path first descends to cross the head of Blackbeck Tarn before climbing to Innominate Tarn, the place where Alfred Wainwright’s ashes were scattered. This is a lovely tarn, a place to linger on a good day with a great view to Pillar across Ennerdale. Continue on the path to reach the summit of Haystacks.
NY193132 The ridge across the summit of Haystacks has a cairn at each end with a tarn below it, the northernmost one being regarded as the summit. Continue westwards across the summit to descend steeply to Scarth Gap. Some handholds are required on this section.
NY189133 Scarth Gap is a junction of paths, and is marked with a large cairn. Take the path descending gently northwards towards Buttermere. From the path, much of the route walked can be seen, with a good view into Warnscale. Continue through a gate, then down to and alongside a small conifer plantation. At the fence corner, cut back diagonally right to reach the lakeshore path then go through the gate to cross the track back to Gatesgarth… and the ice creams!
Updated: October 10, 2016
NY 19531 14947
30U 484158 6041785
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Highest point m
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