Mon 15th July 2013
What fantastic weather for a good day in the Lakes, we’re not used to this, only two weekends previously I was hailed on whilst climbing Hedgehope for the “view from the summit” only to sit in hill fog above the cloud-base for lunch as part of the Rothbury Walking Festival. Perhaps we shouldn’t advertise it in future, just creep-up on it instead.
Patrick was duly picked-up outside of the new Shepherds Walks premises in Rothbury and half an hour later Barbara, Gail and Edwina where putting rucksacks in to the back of the people carrier at Kirkharle for the run over to Buttermere via the Military Road, A69, M6, A66 to Keswick and the gentle run down the side of Derwentwater and over the Honister Pass to park at Gatesgarth Farm below Haystacks. There we met-up with Peter and David who had only arrived a few minutes ahead of us from County Durham, lovely to see them both again. Boots on and rucksacks shouldered and we were walking for 10.30 am, the advantage of an early start and relatively quiet roads on the way over. Walking towards Peggy’s Bridge someone who shall be nameless (Peter) announced that he’d forgotten his sticks which gave everyone an early rest stop except him! One of the steepest parts of the ascent is the initial climb around the triangular conifer plantation below High Crag so we took things slowly. Morning coffee was taken on the path up to Scarth Gap with Low Wax Knotts below us and High Wax Knotts above, the gentle westerly breeze being greatly appreciated. We only really noticed it when we stopped and turned into wind. The views were already opening-up and we could now not only see Buttermere Lake but the village too and Crummock Water beyond both looking like sheets of glass.
Through the gap in the wall and on up to Scarth Gap, we ignored the steep ascent to High Crag to our immediate right (west), via numerous cairns to access the scramble up onto Haystacks for lunch at 1.00 pm precisely on our target time. There were lots of others on the top swarming over the numerous rocky summit knolls. I really enjoyed looking at the contorted andesite lava flows as we clambered-up the last few metres but decided to keep it to myself. Immediately after lunch we passed the tarn, not shown on most maps, and which really should qualify for the name of “Innominate Tarn” as it isn’t usually mentioned and consequently doesn’t have a name. Lots of photos were taken in this area as we left the summit ridge to approach Innominate Tarn proper, Wainright’s last resting place, by means of the grassy track a little further to the south. The views in all directions emphasised the scale of the landscape, Haystacks is significantly lower than most of the surrounding summits but no less of a destination for that. The views south-south-east towards Green and Great Gable and Scafell Pike and east to Helvellyn were especially good.
The relatively steep descent to cross the outlet of Blackbeck Tarn and up again on the other side was a surprise to some but the views down to Warnscale Bottom and along the glaciated valley occupied by Buttermere and Crummock Water were excellent. The breeze was a little stronger now and was being channelled up towards us by the valley topography and really appreciated in the absence of any shade. We could even see ripples on Buttermere. Crossing the top of Green Crag the Honister Quarries came into view and the people taking the “easy” route up to Haystacks from the Honister Slate Mine car park by way of the dismantled tramway. Our route lay down the old quarry path on the south side of Warnscale Beck and east of the Black Beck passing the bothy and now decrepit quarry buildings near the top of this route. The loose rocky surface made everyone aware of just how easy it would be to go base-over-apex. On reaching the footbridge over the Warnscale Beck Barbara promptly sat in the beck to cool-off whilst Gail removed her boots and cooled her feet, simple pleasures but none of us would have been surprised to see steam rising.
Back to the vehicle and a very welcome ice cream, thank you Barbara, and team photograph with Haystacks in the background before the return journey. It was a long day, quite strenuous but thoroughly enjoyable in excellent company and with atypically genuine summer weather. As Edwina said “We must do this again sometime” – seconded, thanks to everyone for making it so enjoyable.
Monday, 15 July 2013