Lake District: Fleetwith Pike, Black Star and Haystacks
13 March 2011
"Route not advised", the sign says - that's the way I've just come, over the
Honister Pass from Borrowdale. There was no similar notice on the other side,
and with temperatures above freezing even at altitude there were no unusual
hazards this morning - probably the sign is like that for months. Through the
trees past Gatesgarth Cottage is Fleetwith Pike, my first objective of the day.
While Wainwright recommends the route straight up Fleetwith Edge, I'd seen that
over New Year from nearby High Crag, and had thought it looked a bit steep, and
had chosen instead to take the old mine road from Warnscale Bottom.
Heading into Warnscale Bottom, ahead (left of picture) is Haystacks and then
Scarth Gap; the fells to the right of Scarth Gap I visited over New Year.
Buttermere lake can just be seen to their right.
Warnscale Bottom. The mine road can be seen ascending across the face of the
hill on the left of the photo, eventually approaching Warnscale Beck (centre)
before disappearing "round the corner" back towards the left.
Ascending a rather rough part of the road, looking down on the beck with High
High Crag and the higher (but further away) High Stile, rising above Buttermere
Ascending the mine road
Warnscale Bottom and Buttermere from the mine road
Having turned the corner, I ascend alongside Warnscale Beck
Emerging into the hanging valley which leads to the vast bowl of Dubs Bottom
below the snowy Grey Knotts
The ridge of Haystacks
Approaching Dubs Quarry. Here I turned sharp left immediately before the slate
heaps and soon gained a prominent path which took me to the summit of Fleetwith
On the summit, looking to Haystacks, with Pillar disappearing into the cloud
Buttermere and Crummock Water (and a glimpse of Loweswater).
Across Dubs Bottom of Grey Knotts and Brandreth; Great Gable disappears into the
A vertiginous look down into Gatesgarthdale, where I drove a little earlier.
From the subsidary summit of Black Star, looking back to the high point of
Across Honister Pass and Borrowdale to the Helvellyn range
Descending through Dubs Quarry
Sheep at home in the quarry wastes
On Haystacks, Blackbeck Tarn, with Kirk fell on the right and Great Gable into
the cloud on the left.
Innominate Tarn. Wainwright's ashes were scattered near the shore of this tarn
on his favourite summit area.
Looking back over Innominate Tarn to the fells around the head of Ennerdale
Ahead to High Crag
Fleetwith Pike from Haystacks, showing part of my route of ascent along the mine
road, appearing below centre and then turning alongside the beck and reaching
Looking down to Scarth Gap, the key objective on the route to the car.
After a descent which was a little awkward in places, Scarth Gap is safely
reached, and the route onwards to the lakeshore is now relatively easy.
Another look at Fleetwike Pike, Warnscale Bottom and part of the route of ascent
Heading down from Scarth Gap.
A very pleasant walk with some dramatic mountain scenery.
Total distance 11.4 km and 902 metres of ascent in 5 hours 10 mins