Haystacks is a hill in England's Lake District,
situated at the south-eastern end of the Buttermere Valley. Although not
of any great elevation (597 m, 1,958 ft), Haystacks has become one of
the most popular fells in the area.
This fame is partly due to
the writings of Alfred Wainwright, who championed its attractions and
chose it as the place where he wanted his ashes scattered. Its summit is
full of interest and contains a number of attractive rock formations and
The Western Fells occupy a triangular sector of the Lake
District, bordered by the River Cocker to the north east and Wasdale to
the south east. Westwards the hills diminish toward the coastal plain of
At the central hub of the high country are Great
Gable and its satellites, while two principal ridges fan out on either
flank of Ennerdale, the western fells in effect being a great horseshoe
around this long wild valley.
Although lower than its neighbours,
Haystacks provides the connection between the Great Gable group and the
northern branch of the horseshoe.
Immediately to the south east
are Brandreth, Green Gable and Great Gable, forming the head of
Ennerdale. North west are the well known trio of Buttermere fells, High
Crag, High Stile and Red Pike.
The Buttermere - Ennerdale
watershed descending from Brandreth is initially indistinct, running
north west across a broad plateau. After half a mile it reaches the
rocky protuberance of Great Round How (1,817 ft) and then its character
changes completely. The watershed narrows to fine ridge, steep enough on
the Ennerdale side and rimmed by crags throughout above the head of
The beauty of the scene is completed by a succession
of rocky tops and nestling tarns, until the high point is reached at the
western end. A sharp descent over rock now follows, leading to Scarth
Gap (1,460 ft), a walkers pass between the two valleys. Beyond the ridge
rises again to High Crag, a steep climb on scree.
face of Haystacks is topped by crags which giving a soaring curved
profile from the settlement of Gatesgarth at their base.
left in this view is Green Crag, while the highest section, unnamed on
Ordnance Survey maps is called Big Stack by Wainwright.
Warnscale Beck, one of the feeder streams of Buttermere, runs down
beneath Green Crag from its source near Great Round How. There are the
remains of extensive quarries on the upper slopes of Warnscale,
including Dubs, once served by a tramway from the summit of Honister
Pass. Across Warnscale is Fleetwith Pike, a satellite of Grey Knotts.
The summit of Haystacks has a number of tarns. The highest is just
below the top, generally referred to as the summit tarn but officially
Halfway along the ridge is Innominate Tarn, a popular
beauty spot with an indented rocky shore and a line of tiny islets.
At the eastern end is Blackbeck Tarn, a long slender pool which
overflows through a cleft in the crags.
The summit sits on a
short rocky spine, set at right angles to the ridge. Both ends of the
ridge have cairns, that at the northern end being the accepted summit. A
lower parallel ridge lies just to the east.
The view is
excellent, the high points being Gable Crag on Great Gable and the
western panorama of Ennerdale Water and High Crag. Crummock Water and
Buttermere are also well seen.
The foreground picture revolves
around Innominate Tarn, lying in full view to the east.
is most often climbed from Buttermere, either via the Scarth Gap Pass to
the west, or Warnscale in the east. These can be combined to give a fine
A longer variation of the Warnscale route via Dubs
Quarry is also possible.
Dubs can also be reached from the summit
of Honister via the Drum House, significantly reducing the ascent
Scarth Gap can be reached from Ennerdale to the south,
particularly if staying at Black Sail Youth Hostel.
outings take in Haystacks indirectly from Brandreth or High Crag.
routes near Haystacks