Date & Time: Thursday 12th April 2007. 10 am start.
Location of Start : Gatesgarth car park, Buttermere, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 195 150 )
Places visited : Peggy's Bridge, Scarth Gap, Haystacks, Innominate Tarn, Blackbeck Tarn, Dubs Quarry Bothy, Warnscale Bottom, Gatesgarth, finishing at the Church and Bridge Hotel, Buttermere.
Walk details : 4.5 mls, 1825 ft of ascent, a gentle all day meander ending late afternoon.
Walked with : Gavin, Ann and the dogs.
Weather : The middle of a fine, dry and sunny period of high pressure, rather hazy.
The plaque in Buttermere Church - 2007 is the centenary of Wainwright's birth.
Gavin Bell wanted to visit Buttermere and in particular Haystacks in order to write an article about Alfred Wainwright.
We had been asked by Peter Linney of the Wainwright Society to be his guides for the day
It would be a pleasure.
We had arranged to meet him at Gatesgarth Farm, so we had a short drive up the valley on this lovely morning.
Haystacks and the Buttermere Pines
It was such a beautiful morning that the slight breeze hardly disturbed the reflections.
We reached Scarth Gap and then continued up Haystacks itself,
but we pause for a breather overlooking the beautiful, if rather hazy, Buttermere Valley.
Across Scarth Gap is Pillar Fell, but Pillar Rock doesn't stand out as well as usual due to the poor visibility.
The summit tarn of Haystacks and at the far end, the the top cairn is our first objective of the day.
While we sat at the cairn, this small crowd grew till we counted over fifty people on the top of the fell, the most we had ever seen here. I had been asking a few people on the way up why they chose this mountain today, and three out of four said it was as a result of the recent television publicity about Wainwright.
Looking beyond the summit, we had a fine view of Innominate Tarn and the fells which surround Haystacks.
To the left, Grey Knotts and Brandreth, with Green and Great Gable in the centre, and Kirk Fell to the right.
Scafell Pike, the highest point in England, can just be seen through the gap.
We decided to walk the opposite side of the tarn from the main path, and all of a sudden the peacefulness of the place became apparent.
Innominate Tarn is the final resting place of Alfred Wainwright's ashes, which were scattered here after his death sixteen years ago. In his book, Memoirs of a Fellwanderer, he wrote :
"And if you, dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boots as you are crossing Haystacks in years to come,
please treat it with respect. It might be me."
We stopped for lunch and took the time to savour the atmosphere.
Ann and myself overlooking Innominate Tarn.
After lunch we dropped down to the side of the tarn, and spotted someone having a swim . . .
Rather than re-join the main path we diverted to the right and walked a quieter part of the fell in amongst the heather,
the innumerable little tarns, and the crags that characterize this particular undulating fell top. It was a real delight.
The Gables over a small mountain pool.
To our right, Pillar stands out above one of Haystacks more major crags.
The path to Black Beck Tarn passes under a steep cliff just below,
but we discover the most superb mountain pool with a view of Fleetwith Pike beyond, that those below will never see.
Our detour brought us back down to Blackbeck Tarn and to the main pathway again.
Here we stopped a short while again, to enjoy both the tarn and the view down the valley. ( Photo by Gavin of course.)
Still we must be on our way, and we continue on to Warnscale Beck, where we climb the slight rise to the bothy.
This is an old mine building, now maintained as a mountain bothy for those that wish,
or are forced by circumstance, to spend a night on the fells.
The old iron rails carry a trickle of fresh water from deep inside the slate tip.
Gavin fills his bottle with a fresh and cool supply of "Buttermere Champagne".
Our route follows the old miners track back down towards Gatesgarth. It's a long, rough, stoney path but well graded.
Then it's just a short walk out, along the delightfully named Warnscale Bottom, back to the car.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . The last Buttermere Ice Cream in the shop at the end of a hot afternoon.
Previous walk - 10th April 2007 Catstycam - Polly's 214th Wainwright Fell
A previous time up here - 26th Feb 2005 A Wainwright / OFC walk to Haystacks