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 Crag beyond.

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 Pike.

On the summit, looking to Haystacks, with Pillar disappearing into the cloud beyond.

Buttermere and Crummock Water (and a glimpse of Loweswater).

Across Dubs Bottom of Grey Knotts and Brandreth; Great Gable disappears into the cloud.

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 Fleetwith Pike

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 the quarry.

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

Lake District holiday, March 2011



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson