~Fleetwith Pike with Haystacks~
1st April 2012
If you are looking for a shortish walk with an abundance of mountain scenery, crags, tarns and spectacular views, then this is the one for you. The steep ascent is memorable for everytime you stop to take a breath, you'll look behind you and thoroughly enjoy the expanding vista down Buttermere. Fear not the "are we nearly there yet?" moments when another false summit passes as the only minor disappointment is at the summit of Fleetwith Pike, when the main climb is over and you might, like me, wish it went on for another 1,000ft.
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Parking at Gatesgarth
It costs £3 to park all day at Gatesgarth, but don't leave it too late. It's another walk with John and Jo and the dogs, this walk being the erudite John's idea as a complete contrast to yesterday's Northern Fells adventure.
We started the walk at 09:35hrs at roughly the same time as a family of four (pictured), but they kept stopping to take photos (!), so we pulled ahead of them. Can you remember the days when a 24 or 36 exposure film would last for most of your holiday?
Gatesgarth and Buttermere
The white house down there has a Mountain Rescue Team collection tin on the wall. They also have three crazy terriers who yap like mad as you walk along the road. Hence nobody gets near the tin and loose change is denied a chance to bolster the funds.
High Crag (l) and High Stile
Many times the bumpy ridge of Fleetwith Pike fools the walker into believing the top is close at hand. It's like "pass the parcel", you just don't know if the next one is going to be the last one and the reward all yours.
Fleetwith Pike Summit 2126ft asl
After leaving Fleetwith Pike we took a beeline for Dubs Quarry and the clear path to Blackbeck Tarn.
We chose to take lunch close to Blackbeck Tarn, Great Gable holds on to a little summit cloud.
Buttermere and Crummock Water
Route to Haystacks
And so to Haystacks, a kind of pilgrimage for all fans of Wainwright. But more appropriately, a treat for all those fellwalkers who have done the hard miles around the "back o' Skidda" and some of those wild places just west of Shap.
Pillar looms large beyond the curiously named tarn.
txt time on haystx
Jo and John on Haystacks Summit, 1960ft asl (approx). We chose not to descend to Scarth Gap, in the direction of High Crag and instead made our way back to Innominate Tarn (other side) and would follow the path down Warnscale.
High Crag from Haystacks
I rate the steep ascent up Fairfield's west flank from Grisedale Tarn as one of Lakeland's toughest ascents, but the gradient up Gamlin End on High Crag also encourages mild swear words.
How come dad is carrying all the stuff? I counted five water bottles on show plus a fully packed rucksac. Come on ladies....
Our route to Warnscale skirts along the base of the rocky knoll of Green Crag.
We took the path down the right-hand side of the beck, there being an alternative on the left side.
Descent to Warnscale Bottom
On the way down here, there is an unusual ridge of rocks to our right with a little depression on the other side. Worth another look on another day, we all know what a protalus rampart is, but this didn't look at all like the one on Dead Crags, Bakestall.
And so the last twenty minutes walk back to the car at Gatesgarth. The debate focussed on the likelihood of the ice cream van being in situ at the car park......
Walkers: John Paterson , Jo Hall and Me. Plus Polly, Harry and Bethan.
Time taken: 6hrs over a distance of about 7.5 miles. Does that seem slow? Why rush?
Route: Gatesgarth, Fleetwith Edge to Fleetwith Pike, Dubs Quarry, Blackbeck Tarn, Haystacks, Warnscale, Warnscale Bottom, Gatesgarth.
Weather and Conditions: Sunny, with occasional cloud, on the cool side.
Greetings Count: People all around on this one. A group of fellwalker tourists on Haystacks asked us if we were "regulars", they wanted to know which was Innominate Tarn. I blame Julia Bradbury.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Hurray! Darren's Ice Cream Van was in attendance. John did the honours and we all had tasty ice cream.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2012 ©