Route: Haystacks

Area: Western Lake District

Date of walk: 24th August 2019

Walkers: Andrew, Gilly and James

Distance: 5.2 miles

Ascent: 1,800 feet

Weather: Sunshine and blue skies, very warm

Haystacks was the favourite fell of Alfred Wainwright and it’s one of mine too – it’s a fascinating place and there’s always something new to see. Today would make it my 18th time up here, and I could never tire of it. As this was a bank holiday weekend, and the forecast was for sun and blue skies, we made an early start and parked in the car park at Gatesgarth Farm just after 8am. We walked through the farm and crossed Peggy’s Bridge at the head of Buttermere. The climbing starts below a small triangular shaped copse, and from here we followed the easy path up to Scarth Gap

Beyond Scarth Gap the going gets much steeper and rockier, and there are are five or six scrambly sections where hands are needed. There are no dangers though, and it’s an enjoyable clamber. A final steep section brought us to the summit area, which is full of interest. We wandered around here for a while, taking in the views, which were as wonderful as ever

A direct descent from the summit is impossible and it’s necessary to walk across some complicated knobbly terrain – Haystacks is a bad place to be if lost in mist. We soon arrived at the contradiction in terms which is Innominate Tarn and lingered here for a while enjoying the lovely views, especially those towards Pillar. We continued to follow the path in the direction of Dubs Quarry before arriving at one of the two possible descent paths to Warnscale Bottom. I normally take the first one, but on such a sunny day as this we were in no hurry, so carried on to join the alternative path on the far side of Warnscale Beck. This provides an easy way down, with wonderful views ahead along Warnscale Bottom and Buttermere for most of the way

It was another wonderful visit to this special place

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