A walk to Haystacks, one of the Lake District's finest mountains

Haystacks, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,
Heading towards Haystacks, one of the Lake Districts best summits


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 - a classic Lake District walk and the favourite summit of influential guidebook author, Alfred Wainwright


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Distance: 5 miles

Time: 2.5-3.5 hours with stops 

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


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Map of the walking route:



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

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,


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,
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,

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

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

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

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, buttermere, lakes, lake district, walk, best view, Wainwright, map, route, cumbria,

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


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


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,

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



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


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,


Not quite there yet!

Ennerdale Water just coming into view

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


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 se a wild camper has set up spot for the night 

Hello!

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


Fleetwith Pike
Fleetwith Pike illuminated nicely

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


Another wild camper this time at Backbeck Tarn



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

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!



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


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


So there you go, some 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!

Blog Post by Stuart Hodgson, 'The Hiking Photographer'


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