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" Haystacks with Family and Friends "

Date & start time: Saturday 1st December 2012, am start. ( NY 195 150 )

Location of Start : Gatesgarth Farm car park, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria, Uk

Places visited : Peggy's Bridge, Scarth Gap, Haystacks, Innominate Tarn, Black Beck Tarn, Dubs, Warnscale Bottom and back to Gatesgarth.

Walk details :   5.35 mls, 1900 ft of ascent, 4 hours 50 mins.

Highest point : Haystacks  1,958ft - 597m

Walked with : Sue and Mark, Paula and Al, Tom, Abi, Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Brilliant cold and clear winter's day.

" Haystacks with Family and Friends " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


A pre-Christmas visit from our daughter Paula, her family and friends, coincides with a period of fine winter weather in the Lakes.

Where to go on such a beautiful day ?

She suggests a classic walk which finds us setting off for Haystacks from Gatesgarth.

Gatesgarth was the start point of the walk . . . We thought about leaving one here and taking the rest of the cars to Honister,

making it a linear walk, but with the potential for ice on the roads we opted to stay away from the steep road climb.

Parking for everyone down here . . . time to get kitted up.

(l to r) Paula and Al, Mark and Sue, with Tom and Abi behind.

Setting off across the meadow we look across the head of Buttermere at Rannerdale Knotts.

In the foreground, beyond the river is the less frequently photographed side of the Buttermere Pines.

Across to Peggy's Bridge . . . Fond memories evoked.

In the 1980's, before the triangle of trees were ever planted, we used to walk this way to get to Black Sail Youth Hostel.

On many of those occasions it was nearly midnight, after our drive up from South Wales, and it never once rained on those nights !

Paula and her older sister were young teenagers then . . . just a few years older than Tom is now.

Clear blue skies and wonderful colours in the sunshine.

Click here or on the photo above for a wider Loweswatercam photo

To our right . . . the bothy on the Buttermere lakeside.

Starting the climb . . . The white house is Hassness and the white mountain, Grasmoor.

The erosion and major wash out of the path a few years back has been successfully repaired.

Looking down on the bothy from on high.
Climbing in the shadow of High Crag above us.

Ahead sunshine streaming over Scarth Gap . . .

the summit of Haystacks encouraging everyone forward in anticipation.

Odd wisps of cloud cross some of the summits . . . Fleetwith is clear but Dale Head is hidden.

The wider view with Haystack's shadow set across the side of Fleetwith.

As we climb, the fuller panorama of the north western fells comes into view.

Grasmoor, Wandope, Eel Crag and Sail are all topped in snow.

Scarth Gap . . . and our first view south as we reach the coll between Haystacks and the High Stile Ridge.

First views are always delightful . . .

Great Gable and the White Napes rocks, doubly white today, with the darker side of Kirk Fell to the right.

Sunshine through the ice . . .

" Hurry up with the photo as my hands are getting cold "

Setting off on the next part of the climb . . . the pitched path up from Scarth Gap.

There are several short sections where hands are useful !
Looking back at High Crag and Gamlin Edge.

The first of the small tarns / large puddles on our ascent is completely solid.

The last-but-one rock summit before the top.

Abi and Tom against a backdrop of the snow covered north western fells.

The air quality is good today and visibility is superb as a consequence.

From this height the hills of Scotland can be seen across the Solway Firth.

Low Fell fills the bottom end of the Buttermere Valley . . . you see the white spec of a large house in Loweswater . . . it's not ours !

Summit Tarn.

Surprisingly missing from the O.S. 1:25k map.

Patterns on the ice.

I think they were natural as there were no large boulders sitting on the surface next to them.

Blending into the summit scenery . . . that's me with my back to Summit Tarn.

A zoomed view down Buttermere Valley from the summit.

Likewise a view down Ennerdale slightly around to the left.

Our crowd reach the summit . . .

. . . eyes drawn by the wonders of snow covered Great Gable.

Could that be people on the summit ?

Tom stops by the summit cairn, the ironwork being an old fence post.

Ann more sensibly keeping her hands in her pockets due to the gentle but cold breeze.

Distant fells are covered too . . . this is the Helvellyn Range as seen over Honister.

The straight line is the old Dubbs Quarry drum road.

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama  from the summit of Haystacks.


Our fellow walkers are looking for a spot for lunch.
Soup and a sandwich with Dad.

A view of Innominate Tarn as I drop down to join them

Ann has to wait for her lunch . . . it is in my pack under the camera bag . . . she's got the dog biscuits.

It's called division of labour !

Suitably refreshed we head off towards Innominate Tarn.

The view of  Green Gable and Great Gable from the smaller top tarn.

Low down the view again but this time from Innominate Tarn.

Through the gap we can clearly see the snow on Broad Crag, part of the Scafell Range.

A stone captured mid flight as Abi tests the thickness of the ice.

It makes a delightful 'twang' as it skims across the frozen surface.

We cross around the opposite side of the tarn for a change . . . the light is better on the reeds and islands too.

Raise, Helvellyn's Whiteside and Browncove Crags through the gap.

Al and Abi choose to take the direct path down the opposite side of the tarn.

Looking back at the summit as everyone leaves the tarn.

There are a fair number of people up here considering the weather . . . but they all avoid being in the photo.

Abi looking down on Buttermere as we make our way along towards Green Crag.

Care to be taken as there is a frozen glaze on the stones of the pitched path down towards Blackbeck Tarn.

Icicles hang from the rocks . . . and it is always worth going over for a look.

The outflow is running but the surface of Blackbeck Tarn is frozen over.

The path now undulates along past Green Crag and Little Round How.

As we undulate with it, our view of the snow covered peaks comes and goes.

Broad Crag between the gap has now changed to snow covered Scafell Pike on the left and Scafell with its mighty crags to the right. 

The darker and smaller summit above Beck Head is Lingmell of course.

Into the sun . . . the erratic boulder above Blackbeck Tarn hits the skyline.

More memories here as in 1986 we travelled up from home to join others in scattering the ashes of Brian Wilkinson

around the small crag on which it sits.  Brian was a long time friend and warden of Black Sail Youth Hostel in the eighties.

Sometimes the path was not the best place to walk . . . unless you've got built in crampons.

Little Round How reached and we can look across at Dubs Quarry and the hut almost hidden in the surrounding slate tip.

The crossing of Dubs Beck . . . slippery when wet . . . that's most days then !

Spot the bothy . . . built out of the mountain that surrounds it.

Even high mountain streams can quality for having a 'Bottom'.

This is Dubs Bottom . . . Moses Trod, the path to Wasdale, crosses the fells high above the upland river basin.

Rather than take the main path back down to Gatesgarth, we re-crossed the beck and headed across to the second bothy.

The logic ?    . . .    well the stone track is pretty rough at the best of times, today it would be really icy too.

We'll take advantage of the path with more grass on the other side of the beck.

The second bothy, also trying to hide amongst the scree.
Our crossing point to it was a short distance above the waterfall.

Of the two, this bothy has a much better view.

Inside . . . the picture window letting in just sufficient light to see.

Abi taking advantage of one of several sits mats that have been left for the use of visitors.

This is one of over a hundred similar bothies throughout the remoter parts of Britain.

They are free to stay in . . . bring everything you need . . . check out The Mountain Bothy Association site here before you stay.

The afternoon is getting on . . . and so must we.

We set off down the grass, the rocky path on the other side of the beck can be seen across the way.

Zooming in on Hassness and Buttermere Village while there's still enough light for the big lens.

The valley is in shadow now and what heat there was has gone out of the day.

The last of the sunshine illuminates the snow on Grasmoor and turns it a slightly pink shade of white.

The path down safely negotiated in the light and it is only the flat walk back along the track till we reach the cars.

We were in good time . . . there was no need for torches as our eyes were getting accustomed to the twilight.

- - - o o o - - -

A quick wash and brush up and we were out enjoying ourselves again.

Dinner at the Kirkstile . . . another excellent meal.

Sue, Paula, Abi, Al and myself . . . apologies for no picture of Mark, Tom or Ann.

[ Ann was taking the photo]

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D SLR digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a booking for eight at the Kirkstile afterwards.

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Previous walk - 28th November 2012 Local and Sale Fell

A previous time up here - 6th Dec 2008 Winter Wonderland on Haystacks

Next walk - 2nd December 2012 Frosty Crummock Walk

Fancy a stay at Black Sail Hostel - Click here for the YHA Black Sail web site