Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.


Date & start time: Saturday 6th December 2008. 11.30 start.

Location of Event : Gatesgarth Farm car park, Buttermere Valley, Cumbria, Uk ( NY 195 150 )

Places visited : Peggy's Bridge, Scarth Gap, Haystacks, Innominate Tarn, Black Beck Tarn, Dubs, Warnscale Bottom and back to Gatesgarth.

Walk details : 4.75 ml, 1800 ft of ascent, 4 hours 45 mins.

Highest point : Haystacks 1,958ft ( 597m)

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Wonderful.

The start at Gatesgarth car park . . . Pay and Display . . . because it's worth it !


This is more like it ! A winter high pressure, clear blue sky, a heavy overnight frost and snow on the high fells.

Today was a perfect winter walking day so we chose a classic walk up Haystacks.

Grasmoor from Hawes Point as we made our way up the Buttermere Valley.

Not the earliest of starts but we still had plenty of time for a good walk and time to stop for a few photos on the way.

The reflections on Crummock today were magical, even though the photographic contrast was difficult.

The Buttermere Pines.

The snow which fell earlier in the week had frozen overnight and prospects were good for a picturesque walk.

Looking back at Mellbreak from the same place.

High Snockrigg reflections before we get under way again.

Our route was not specifically planned as we had thought about walking from Honister over towards Gable, but even down at this level the valley roads were extremely slippery (they very rarely grit the roads here) so Honister Pass was out of the question. Gatesgarth it was then.

This was the view which kept drawing our eyes northward as we crossed the valley to Peggy's Bridge.

Haystacks and a frosty field for the sheep.
Recent storm damage has washed out the path ahead.

We chose to follow the lakeside path a short way to avoid this damaged section of the route. It also gave us opportunity to view the recently completed path restoration project. The notice asked for time to allow nature to restore the damage, perhaps a season or two should do it. Then the path will blend into the landscape and be protected from the weather and the heavy use by round-the-lake walkers.

It's looking better already . . . the big diggers have gone.
A view across to the lakeside (private) bothy.

Across the lake, Hasness House and the snow covered Grasmoor.

Doubling back towards the Scarth Gap path we get this more unusual view of the Buttermere Pines,

the bothy and up past Fleetwith Pike towards Dale Head.

Steady climbing now.
One for the girls !

If you look carefully there's a green helicopter flying past !

Up to the snow line and walking demands a little more concentration now as the melted and re-frozen snow has turned icy !

Past Wainwright's boulders, with the snow covered north western fells in the background.

Walking was becoming difficult now as the path was extremely slippery.

We dig into the rucksack and find our instep crampons.


These great little devices simply strap over your boots.

They have a set of spikes which restore grip on icy paths . . . wonderful !

That's easier . . . Ann is under way again . . . and has a chance to enjoy the surroundings again.

. . . and what superb surrounding they are today !

This is Gamlin Edge and the climb to the High Crag / High Stile Ridge.

Reaching Scarth Gap and we are greeted with our first views of Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

The rippled surfaces of the ice sparkles in the sunshine.
Bethan, with the Great Napes of Gable behind.
The Haystacks path utilises several rocky shelf sections . . .
. . . as it climbs high above Ennerdale Valley.

Our route up is laid out behind us as we pause and look back.

High Crag is to the left, Grasmoor to the right and Low Fell and our cottage are down there beyond the second lake.

Scotland is clear in the far distance too.

Majestic Pillar Fell behind

as Ann reaches the small pool two thirds of the way up the ascent.

The frozen Summit Tarn with Kirk Fell behind.

Looking the opposite way towards Robinson and Sail Fell.

Words are not sufficient to describe this superb view of Gable from Haystacks.

Master of the hounds.

There were not many people out today given it was a Saturday with such a fine forecast.

However there were a handful of people plus this group who stopped just below the summit to enjoy the view of Helvellyn.

Ann chooses the other summit cairn as a place to stop and enjoy today's snowy panorama.

Cold, clear air . . . looking down the Buttermere Valley.

Lunch enjoyed, it was time to be off as the sun was already starting to drop lower in the sky.

This was the prospect ahead as we make our way down towards Innominate Tarn.

Both of the major summit tarns are completely frozen over.

Dog turns Bison !
Harry waits for us to catch up
Bethan admiring the view too.

When is a dog not a dog . . . when it's a Bison ! . . . Hold your cursor over Bethan's picture to see the transformation.

While Ann stayed on the main path, I cut across the other side of Innominate Tarn to catch this view across to Helvellyn.

Even today the outfall did have a small trickle of clear running water leaving the tarn.

The three islands however were frozen over.

Ann meanwhile enjoyed the views from the opposite side . . .

. . . including this dramatic one into the westerly sunshine.

We meet up again at the snow covered area

at the far side of the lake.


Tucked quietly away adjacent to the tarn is a small but very adequate plaque to the memory of the late Alfred Wainwright, artist and guide book writer, who's ashes are scattered at the tarn.

Lets hope he was able, during his time, to enjoy the views we have today.

Moving on we reach Blackbeck Tarn, also resplendent with a full covering of ice.

Looking over the top in these snowy conditions it took a few moments to identify the distant crags.

Through the gap the smallest fell is surprisingly Lingmell.

Scafell's crags can be seen to the right, with the climb to the Pike rising to the left behind Great Gable's crags.

Just occasionally we came across the sheep enjoying the view too.

These three stop to view Grasmoor, Knott Rigg, Ard Crags and Sail before moving on.

These chose the sunny vantage point of Green Crag.

It's amazing how these Herdwick sheep can find enough to eat up here on the high fells.

The last part of this high level path takes us past the steep rock cliff of Little Round How and across to Dubs Quarry.

The quarry bothy, illuminated by a late afternoon sun, can be see amongst the workings.

With the afternoon sunset at 3.50 pm, it was time to be making our way down.

This is the natural amphitheatre of Dubs Bottom, losing its colour as the sun begins to set.

We make our way across and join the Miner's Track down to the valley.

Haystacks is now silhouetted against the setting sun.

Halfway down and the final rays of the setting sun illuminate the snows of Grasmoor turning them a remarkable pink colour.

The end of a fabulous day on the fells.

- - - o o o - - -



Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . the satisfaction you get from a great day on the hills.

Go to Top

© RmH.2008 # Email me direct # My Guest book (front page)

Previous walk - 5th Dec 2008 Grey and White Hen Comb

A previous time up here - New Year's Day 2007 Haystacks, more wintery than wonderland