This month's MDB outing is dedicated not just to my Dad but also to another great outdoor loving man, Alfred Wainwright or as he was simply known to his friends and fans AW. Much has been documented about AW and I won't pretend to be a great authority but there is a wealth of information and biographies written about him. All I can add is to encourage you to go and find out about AW and his incredible gift to any walker wishing to enjoy the Lakeland Fells. AW produced, by hand, seven Pictorial Guide Books to the Lakeland Fells and later a guide to The Outlying Fells. He also wrote and illustrated the famous long distance Coast to Coast and Pennine Way guides and he covered the Yorkshire Dales Limestone Country and the Cumbrian Howgill Fells. AW also created a number of Sketchbooks, including one which covered Bowland, the area my Dad lived. In this book AW visited and illustrated the church, St Bartholomew's Chipping, my Dad attended regularly, proudly performed the role of Sidesman and ultimately his funeral was held there.
I felt it was time I paid homage to AW in MDB so what better place to head to but Haystacks, one of his favourite Fells and his final resting place. I thought it was appropriate to visit another church, St James' in the beautiful village of Buttermere, there I visited the well known AW window, and lift my eyes to Haystacks I did!
Having got back in my motor and tootled a short way up the B5289 to Gatesgarth Farm I re-parked, paid £4.00 for the day, brewed and booted up and off I went. My first stop was on Peggy's Bridge, where I took in the view towards Buttermere....
And the view of the day's quarry, Haystacks to the right, Warnscale in the middle and a little slice of Fleetwith Pike to the left.
The path up starts by the side of a small wooded area. High Crag can be seen above the trees. Take a sharp left around the trees and your ascent truly starts here.
The weather on the day was predominately gusty, with intermittent sharp showers. The recent high precipitation has swollen the becks and in turn some fantastic waterfalls.
Fleetwith Pike during an episode of rain.
The rocky path up through Low Wax Knott and High Wax Knott.
The route continues steadily up Scarth Gap Pass.
At the top of Scarth Gap Pass I was advised by a couple that they had thought better of it owing to the wet and gusty high winds, but me being me carried on and hoped for the best, so glad I did!
The final part of the ascent to Haystacks Summit was punctuated with rocky scrambles and interesting Geological features.
The fine Angling waters of Buttermere and Crummock were becoming more and more visible the higher I climbed.
On the plateau prior to my final climb to the summit I was treated to a glimpse of Ennerdale Water to the left, with Seat in the foreground, High Crag behind with its steep south face Gamlin End.
Looking down into the Ennerdale Valley from Haystacks Summit. The River Liza runs through fragments of woodland and Looking Stead stands behind.
The final climb to the Summit.
The Summit Tarn.
The Summit standing at 597m (1,958ft) is my highest Wainwright yet.... Time to rest MDB, soak in the views and hunker down against the gusts.
The next port of call was an important one.... I made my way over to Innominate Tarn, AW's final resting place, to share a few moments with him in MDB.
It was the only appropriate place to sit read AW's words on The Summit.
Once I had paid my respects to the great man I left for Blackbeck Tarn along another section of rocky path.
The view out towards Buttermere along Black Beck.
Another treat for me was to visit Warnscale Head Bothy, my first ever!
I have been dreaming of visiting this lovely little Lakeland slate quarry workers dwelling for ages. I was so happy to finally be there.
Wow.... What a view!!!
I love how it blends effortlessly into the slate scree Landscape.
Having spent some time there I started my descent via Warnscale
The dramatic sound of the Warnscale Waterfall became the soundtrack to my descent.
At Warnscale Bottom I crossed over a footbridge, a good place to flip my map (OL 4) before continuing to make my way around the base of Fleetwith Pike back to Gatesgarth Farm.
In the absence of trees, Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) provides the Autumnal colour on the fells. This highly toxic, very hardy plant is widespread over the Lakeland Fells and without it the fells would remain green and not the beautiful bronze they are at this time of year.
As you round the end of Fleetwith Pike you will notice a White Cross high up on a ledge. I have read that It is dedicated to Fanny Mercer who worked as a maid at a house on the shores of Crummock Water, who died by tripping over her ice axe (Alpenstock) and accidentally falling from the fell in 1887. Her death is commemorated by this cross and a collection box for the Mountain Rescue.... So please take a some spare change with you and donate to this valuable service.
This was simply a brilliant walk, my fourth Wainwright and I shall be back very soon. I am glad that the views weren't too brilliant today, it gives me more to look forward to next time. AW said it was a surprising place to linger and explore and a great spot to get a persistent worry out of your mind, how right he was.... He should have added addictive too!
Map: Bing and Ordnance Survey
Till next time.... Tight laces! MDB xx
NB Thank you so much Claire for your wonderful hospitality and Phil as always, for your wise words and guidance.