Lake District Walks
Fleetwith Pike & Haystacks
Date: 5th August 2005
Distance: 5.3 miles
Ascent: 2484 feet
Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Start Grid Ref: NY194150
A memorable climb up Fleetwith Pike followed by an equally superb descent off Haystacks. Quite simply one of the best walks I've ever done.
Route Summary: Gatesgarth Farm - Fleetwith Edge - Fleetwith Pike - Black Star - Dubs Quarry - Haystacks - Scarth Gap - Peggy's Bridge - Gatesgarth Farm
2. Looking across Gatesgarthdale Beck to Hindscarth Edge
3. The Buttermere Valley from Fleetwith Edge
4. The top of Fleetwith Pike looking to High Stile
5. Lisa above Gatesgarthdale
6. Black Star - the summit of Honister Crag
7. The dismantled tramway leading to Honister Hause
8. Innominate Tarn
9. Great Gable
10. The cairn on the south top of Haystacks
11. Enjoying the view of Buttermere
12. High Crag from Scarth Gap
13. Fleetwith Pike
Walk Detail: The morning started beautifully and on the way over to Buttermere we stopped to take some photos on the eastern shore of Derwent Water and then again as we descended the Honister Pass.
From Gatesgarth Farm the ascent of Fleetwith Pike begins almost immediately and within a very short time you already have great views of Buttermere. The path zigzags up quite delightfully and is regularly broken up by the odd scramble. All the while you are treated to a stunning backdrop. This really has to be one of my favourite ascents of any mountain or fell.
At the summit the views opened out to the south as well but at that moment the tops of the higher fells were still obscured by cloud. After taking an apple break we headed off to Black Star the highest point on Honister Crag and along the way we braved the occasional look down the almost sheer sides down into Honister Pass.
Black Star itself is a rocky mound and is memorable mainly for the fine view back down the ridge to Fleetwith Pike as well as down into the pass itself.
From Black Star we headed south to Honister Quarry before joining the path which had once been a tramline and which headed straight as an arrow westward to Dubs Quarry. From Dubs Quarry we crossed over a number of small becks and past the impressive rocky outcrops of Great and Little Round How and Green Crag. Just after Green Crag we came across Blackbeck Tarn with two fishermen trying their luck in the waters. Black Beck itself leaves the tarn to make an impressive exit into the valley below through a steep gully.
With increasing anticipation we began our climb of Haystacks and Innominate Tarn, supposedly the the final resting place of Wainwright's ashes. By approaching it the way we did Innominate Tarn makes its appearance quite dramatically. This truly was a beautiful spot and Great Gable, by now bereft of cloud, provided a dramatic backdrop. We lingered a while in this special place and ate our lunch there before continuing our climb to the top.
There were a couple ‘summit’ cairns on Haystacks which I had to visit. The views were uniformly good and I was delighted to see my first glimpse of Ennerdale Water from the western side of the summit. The climb down to Scarth Gap was a real pleasure and necessitated some more scrambling. It was somewhere at this point that I remarked to Lisa that if there was a heaven I wished it were like this.
As we continued down the sky continued to clear of cloud and we got increasingly good views of the Grasmoor range. As is becoming usual for me I descended slowly to protect my knee but also to drink in the surroundings.
By the time we reached Gatesgarth it was to find a much busier scene than in the morning when we were first to park up in the morning. I bought us both an ice cream which we enjoyed before heading back via Buttermere and Crummock Water stopping along the way a couple of times for photos of this beautiful countryside. Quite possibly the best walk I’ve yet done.