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" Haystacks with Jen and Co "
Date & start time: Saturday 4th May 2013, 11.40 am start. ( NY 197 149 )
Location of Start : Roadside above Gatesgarth, Buttermere Valley , Cumbria, Uk
Places visited : Peggy's Bridge, Scarth Gap, Haystacks, Innominate Tarn, Dubbs, Fleetwith Pike and back.
Walk details : 5.6 miles, 2430 ft of ascent, 5 hours 30 mins including lunch.
Highest point : Fleetwith Pike 2,126ft - 648m
Walked with : Louise, Jen, our Jen, Tracy, Kate, Andy, Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Overcast but cleared to blue skies. Very windy at times and more cloudy at the end of the walk.
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Our daughter wanted a weekend back home in the Lakes . . . and can she bring her friends ? . . . all five of them !
The forecast was reasonable if not brilliant and many of them were in the Lakes for the first time.
After a very sociable breakfast, a picturesque and classic walk at the head of the valley would be great for today.
Welcome to Louise, Jen, our Jen, Tracy, Kate, Ann (resident of the valley!) and Andy.
Parking at Gatesgarth was full . . . so the roadside area just a little further up became the overflow car park.
We walked back to Gatesgarth Cottage and the farm to start our walk.
The barn opposite goes by the name of 'Private Parking'.
Through the farm yard and across the valley, heading for Peggy's Bridge.
The weather has improved dramatically since breakfast time though the High Stile Ridge is still in cloud.
Haystacks across the meadows, young black Herdwick lambs enjoying the sunshine
and their Mums enjoying the fresh green grass now the weather has improved.
The Highlanders are out . . . but are very docile and no problem at all as we pass by.
Looking back across the valley as Tracy and Ann start the climb.
The path climbs rapidly up the side of the woods and then above the top of them.
As we climb the valley is spread out below us, including that white bothy by the lakeside.
The water gathers on the ground at Low Wax Knott and the dogs take the chance to cool down.
Looking back at the steep part of the ascent to Scarth Gap.
While pausing to enjoy the view I get chatting to Doug who is over from Tennessee.
He's spending a few weeks working down at Whitehaven in one of the large American owned factories.
He's used to walking but of a more horizontal nature.
Looking back we can see loads of folk out enjoying the fine holiday Saturday.
The path behind is positively busy . . . let's hope the crowd do not spoil the walk . . . still there's plenty of room for all.
Scarth Gap and the large cairn marks the turning point from the path to Black Sail Hostel.
From here the path climbs steeply up again towards the Summit of Haystacks.
A full group photo taken very kindly by Doug.
Across the valley Pillar Rock catches the sun which is shining over the summit of Pillar Fell.
Nearing the summit and I move across to the edge to capture the view down Buttermere Valley.
Zooming in on the lower end of the valley . . . See the big white house down there under Low Fell . . . it's not ours !
The summit tarn on Haystacks . . . that is ours today . . . and surprisingly there's no-one in sight.
Doug and Ann traverse the final rock ridge to the summit.
. . . where the rest of our crowd is waiting.
A view down Ennerdale "for the folks back home" and then we parted company.
Doug followed the main path, we delayed at the summit thinking about somewhere for lunch.
Ahead the optical illusion that shows the small upper tarn to be at a lower level than the larger Innominate Tarn (with the islands)
In fact it is fifty feet higher and much smaller . . . who says the camera never lies.
We found that lunch spot next to Innominate Tarn, taking the advantage of the rocks to give us a dry seat.
The view from our lunch spot overlooking the tarn.
In the distance the view through the gap included White Side and Helvellyn summit.
The big picture.
Leaving Innominate Tarn we ventured off-piste, around the back of the rocks
and discovered more of the rugged nature of the fell that most folk miss by sticking to the main path.
The same patch of snow ten days ago, right hand photo,looked a little like a witch on a broomstick . . . viewed from our house through the big lens.
Skirting around the back of the crags meant that we approached Black Beck Tarn from a different angle.
The main path is hidden behind the rocks to the left and we join it at the foot of the lake.
Again a wider perspective of Black Beck Tarn . . . this time with Fleetwith Pike, Grey Knotts and Brandreth behind.
A lovely view down the valley from the point where Black Beck starts its headlong rush over the edge.
The path now takes us over to Dubbs Beck and the open quarries on the back of Honister Fell.
At the end of the 'Dram Road' is the Dubbs Quarry Hut . . . now available for use as a mountain bothy.
We've time in hand after showing everyone the hut to head up to the summit of Fleetwith Pike.
If time had been short or the weather not as nice, there is a track directly down to the valley from here.
Onward and Upward
I get Harry and Bethan to pause as the others continue on with the climb up through the heather.
Occasionally a stray ewe may be missed by the farmer when he gathered the flock for lambing or possibly it was a first year sheep
that he didn't realise was pregnant. Either way, the late pregnancy has meant the little one avoided the worst of the cold Spring weather.
Great Gable as seen from the Fleetwith Pike ascent.
The cloud has finally lifted sufficiently to clear the summit,
but it is gathering again and we have lost the direct sunlight that was so delightfully warm.
We took a bee-line for the ridge of Fleetwith Pike in order to enjoy the views down into the valley.
It was rather windy up here on the exposed edge !
Keep your head down Bethan !
We headed over to the summit cairn.
In fact there are two summit cairns, this shapely one visible from the village
and the broader pile of stones set back on the summit itself.
Zooming in on Buttermere Village . . . plenty of cars in the car parks it seems.
Well it is May bank holiday weekend.
Looking over Rannerdale Knotts to Loweswater and on towards the Solway and Scotland.
More photos on the last summit of the day.
Perhaps as they are not all regulars on Loweswatercam we ought to introduce everyone . . . .
Meet our third and youngest daughter Jenna.
That just about sums up the party . . . I managed to catch everyone as we stopped for Rhubarb Muffins before the final descent.
Harry's there too and Bethan won't be too far away . . . especially as there may be food on offer !
On our way once more . . . as we contemplate the steep descent ahead.
This is a lovely climb up the front of the fell, but we prefer it as a descent route so that you can enjoy the view all the way down.
Andy and Tracy negotiating one of the steeper sections.
Half way down . . . and the farm is getting closer.
Views of our skyline walk . . . Haystacks from Fleetwith.
There are less vehicles parked down here on the road than there were earlier.
- - - o o o - - -
Time to drive back home for a quick wash and brush up . . . .
. . . before we all adjourn to The Kirkstile Inn for a fine evening meal.
Great food and no washing up . . . full marks.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D SLR digital cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a pre-booked table for eight at The Kirkstile
Previous walk - 20th April 2013 - St Bees Coast ~ South
A previous time up here - 26th August 2007 Haystacks with Paula and Al
Next event - 11th to 16th May 2013 - Our Swansea and West Wales holiday