Hay Stacks return through Warnscale Bottom.

Start. Gatesgarth Farm.

Route. Gatesgarth Farm - Peggy's Bridge - Low Wax Knott - Scarth Gap Pass - Scarth Gap - Hay Stacks - Innominate Tarn - Blackbeck Tarn - Green Crag - Little Round How - Dubs Bottom - Warnscale Bottom - Gatesgarth Farm.

Notes. After my escapades of yesterday my legs felt like lead, just placing one foot in front of the other took effort, I needed to walk the Lectic acid from them. Hay Stacks at the head of the Buttermere valley possibly the most popular fell in the Lake District was my choice, I'd be walking with the pilgrims. Wainwright aficionados, for this is the fell Alfred Wainwright so eulogised over in his Pictoral Guides, the old chaps ashes are scattered up there, Santiago de Compostela it is not but if you're a fell walker this is the place to come, at least once in your life.

Gatesgarth Farm is the place to start, if you can park, I rolled into the car park at the crack of dawn, to find it almost full. Once bagged and booted I followed the path traversing the valley, crossing Peggy's Bridge before the climbing started. Steep at first next to a small copse then easier going as the path cut across the fell side. This is Scarth Gap Pass an old pack horse route, it guided me over Low Wax Knott depositing me at a path junction on Scarth Gap, left was the steep ascent that would launch me onto Hay Stacks.

The climb was steep, hands on, a lot more scrambling than I remembered, it got me to the summit quickly, but the summit was not for me, nor was Innominate Tarn, the place most pilgrims aim for, no my favourite spot on this fell of many hidden gems is Blackbeck Tarn, my intended brew stop. Once at Blackbeck Tarn I sat and just soaked up the atmosphere, oblivious to walkers passing me by on the main trod. Brew over, sufficiently rested I stepped back onto the main trod, the path skirted the summit of Green Crag before descending passed Little Round How, once at Dubs Bottom I forded the beck turned left and started the long descent to Warnscale Bottom. With an old washed out quarry track under foot the descent needed care, a twisted ankle this far into the days outing I didn't want. Safely in the valley bottom it was an easy straight forward walk back to Gatesgarth Farm.

view route map.


Towering above Warnscale Bottom, Hay Stacks.

Buttermere with Mellbreak rising in the distance.

From the ascent to Scarth Gap, views over Buttermere to Robinson Crag with Grasmoor under cloud far left.

Guarded by a vast bowl of mountains, Warnscale Bottom, to the left the steep slopes of Fleetwith Pike, dark against a bright sky Green Crag with Hay Stacks far right.

Ascending to Scarth Gap looking to Hay Stacks.

Across Warnscale Bottom, Fleetwith Pike.

Wonderful views from Low Wax Knott, taking in mighty Grasmoor, High Snockrigg and Robinson kissed by cloud.

Viewed from Scarth Gap the Gamlin End face of High Crag.

From the summit of Hay Stacks staggering views down the Buttermere valley.

"All I ask for, at the end, is a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn, on Hay Stacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time, and be carried, someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone. And if you, dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Hay Stacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It might be me."

~ Alfred Wainwright - from "Memoirs of a Fellwalker" (1990)

Descending from Innominate Tarn looking to the cliffs of Green Crag with Grey Knotts top right.

Hay Stacks can be a magical place, on more than one occasion you'll be gifted with unexpected views like this one over Buttermere.

Blackbeck Tarn looking to Seavy Knott with Great Gable under cloud.

Great Gable kissed by cloud lit by sunlight.

Near Dubs Bottom and another stunning view the length of the Buttermere valley.

A slice of the picturesque, the dramatic cliffs of High Crag and High Stile.

Towards Hay Stacks and High Stile from Dubs Bottom.

As views from my descent route, Green Crag and Hay Stacks.

The scene over Warnscale Bottom, looking to Green Crag and the saw tooth profile of Hay Stacks.

My route back to Gatesgarth Farm, easy under foot after the descent from Dubs Bottom.

Towering above Buttermere, High Crag and High Stile.

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