29/07/2017

Haystacks walk - one of the Lake District's finest mountains and Alfred Wainwright's best, near Buttermere


Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Possibly the best walk in the Lake District?  On this walk to Haystacks you will see some of the best views in the Lake District. Here we can see Haystacks to the left with the sun setting behind Red Pike and Buttermere and Crummock water in the distance.


Haystacks walk near Buttermere overview:



Haystacks walk distance: 5 miles

Haystacks walk time: 2.5-3.5 hours with stops

Haystacks walk difficulty: Moderate/Hard. 


Whilst relatively short - and on a well-marked path - the walk does have steep inclines and declines and a few bits to scramble up as you approach Haystacks from Scartht Gap. It's highly recommended though and a must-do Lake District Walk



Map of the Haystacks walking route from Gatesgarth:



For me the best way to walk to Haystacks is in an anti-clockwise route starting at the car park at Gatesgarth Farm (£4 to park) and heading up to Scarth Gap Pass first and then onto Haystacks. You will then pass Innominate Tarn and then Blackbeck Tarn before a leisurely descent to Warnscale Bottom along an old miners track. You can of course do this route in reverse but I prefer tackling Scarth Gap first as you can enjoy great views of Butteremere and Crummock Water on the descent. Click the button below to view the interactive route:

If you don't have a Phone Map App - I really recommend downloading the one by Ordnance Survey. You can download route maps to your phone such as this one and the app will show you exactly where you are on the route even when you have no signal! It's great to know exactly where you are on the map and where to go as following routes can be tricky and I'd be lost without it (literally :-) Click the link below to find out more.




Elevation of the Haystacks route:


Here you can see the elevation of the full walking route over 5.2 miles. It's a pretty steady walk up hill for a couple of miles up to Scarth Gap and a bit of scrambling just before the 2 mile mark. After that it's relatively straightforward and you don't expend much effort from 2 miles onwards.




Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Every walker needs to have ticked off Haystacks on their hiking bucket list


Photos of this Haystacks walk to give you a great idea of the views & what to expect


The great Alfred Wainwright, the influential Lake District guidebook author had this to say about Haystacks; "for beauty, variety and interesting detail, for sheer fascination and unique individuality, the summit area of Haystacks is supreme. This is in fact the best fell-top of all". I can't argue with that, and whilst there are higher mountains in the Lakes and longer walks, I don't think any offer as much variety and better views than Haystacks, and for what its worth - it's my favourite walk in the Lakes too.

This particular Haystacks walk was done late one summers evening to maybe also see a glorious sunset on the descent (which wasn't to be!) But hopefully the photos below get across the beauty of this 5 mile or so walk and, if you haven't already, inspire you to visit Haystacks too!



Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
At the very start of this walk you can see the summit of Haystacks just left of centre -with Scarth Gap to the right

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
I've drew on this pic the rough route this walk takes up via Scarth Gap - to the summit of Haystacks - and then back down

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Crossing Warnscale Beck

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Looking towards the Buttermere

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Looking towards Goat Crag

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
We start walking uphill and gain height pretty quickly 

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
You can see Gatesgarth Farm to the left of centre here where we parked and the path that we walked from there

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Haystacks is in plain sight now

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
The path is clearly marked up towards Scarth Gap

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Onwards & upwards


Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
A good view of Fleetwith Pike to the left and Haystacks to the right at the edge of the pic

Stunning views all the way up

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Haystacks is not far off now!

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
I can't get enough of the views over Buttermere on this walk 

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Taking a rest to admire the view of Haystacks once again


Scarth Gap comes into full view - once this is tackled the worst of the climb is out the way

Steps always make walking up a hill just that little bit easier :-)

Passing another Cairn on this lovely walk 

Fleetwith Pike
Looking at Fleetwith Pike

One last push after a little rest here and we'l reach the summit :-)

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
You get some brilliant views of Buttermere and Crummock Water throughout this walk.

A little bit of a scramble up to the summit of Haystacks- but nothing too tricky



Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
What a classic Lake District view - Buttermere & Crummock Water


Not quite there yet!

Ennerdale Water just coming into view

A little body of water with no name just below the summit of Haystacks

Looking at the pyramidal peak of Red Pike

Haystacks, Buttermere, Lake District, Best View walk, Alfred Wainwright, lakes
Here's one I made earlier! This photo was taken on a previous walk and is possibly the best sunset I've ever seen and one of my best Lake District views. Sunsets are completely luck of the draw - right place right time - this time we got lucky!


Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Back to this walk and it's rather a bit too cloudy ion the horizon for a spectacular sunset. There is still great views to be had though!

Approaching the Haystacks summit cairn

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Awesome views over Buttermere and Crummock Water

Innominate Tarn
After the summit it's onto Innominate Tarn


It's quite late in the evening by now and we see a wild camper has set up spot for the night 


Hello to you!

As mentioned Haystacks was Alfred Wainwright's favourite Lake District fell and he actually asked for his ashes to be scattered at Innominate Tarn

Heading back down now as the light starts to fade

Fleetwith Pike
Fleetwith Pike illuminated nicely

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
More beautiful views on this Haystacks walk


Another wild camper this time at Backbeck Tarn

Its mainly downhill until this little section

Looking back at the path we've just came from Haystacks

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Simply  beautiful up here

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Stunning views as the sun burns out from behind the clouds. Here we can see Haystacks to the left with the sun setting behind Red Pike and Buttermere and Crummock water in the distance.

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
What a spot to take a break and enjoy a summers evening with one of the Lake Districts best views



Here we begin a descent to Warnscale Bottom and join the path that could take you to Fleetwith Pike


Nice little beck crossing!

This descent tests the old knees!

The sky starts to turn pink behind Haystacks

Dusk is drawing in now and thankfully not long left to go on this walk now

Looking back to where we have came from

On the home straight and it's a flat walk back from here to the car park at Gatesgarth Farm


So there you go, plenty of photos from my favourite Lake District walk to the summit of Haystacks one summers evening. I hope you enjoyed that and it inspires you to tackle haystacks yourself if you haven't already!

I really do recommend downloading a Phone Map App to help you find your way on this route and I'm currently using the one by Ordnance Survey which you can pick up for a few quid a month - check out the link below.



Happy Hiking!



Post by Stuart Hodgson 
'The Hiking Photographer'


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Thanks for taking an interest in my blog, all comments and questions are welcome! Best, Stuart

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