- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
The Haystacks Walk is a true gem of the Lake District and has a unique feel compared to most of the other walks in the area. While out on this beautifully scenic route, you will be exposed to views across the rugged terrain of surrounding mountains, Buttermere, and the nearby Honister Pass, which makes for a memorable afternoon on the trails. It is noted as one of the favourite places for Lakes pioneer Alfred Wainwright.
Haystacks is a wonderful walk that could be great for families with young children, if not for the need to use your hands on the way up. If going with kids you can do the walk in reverse and walk up to Haystacks and back the same way, which will help you to avoid the challenging bits. These sections are not extreme and we have seen a couple take their three Dachshunds up with them, lifting them up over scrambly areas, so it is really up to your experience and comfort level.
This is a wonderful walk and gives truly unique scenery in the Lakes. From the car park across from Gatesgarth Farm, cross the street and continue down the path to the right of the barn and through two gates onto a large track to the left of a hedge. Passing another gate at 275 m, you will continue straight ahead before passing yet another gate in 275 m to follow the path on an uphill climb.
At the top of a set of stone stairs, turn left and continue uphill. Starting in mid-May you will start to see occasional bluebells while you ascend; however, they reach their peak later on in the summer. Here, you will pass yet another gate and continue ahead. You’re aiming for Scarth Gap which is ahead on the miniature saddle to the right.
After passing a stream (that could result in getting your feet wet after rain), head through a stonewall and continue uphill, reaching Scarth Gap after 2.4 km (2.4 km from the start). From here, continue uphill to the left on a well-defined path. As you head uphill there are a few sections requiring the use of your hands for stability. This scrambly section can be challenging if the trail is wet, however we have seen people take small dogs up this route.
As you pass over Haystacks the views unfold, and at 3.5 km (3.5 km) you reach the stunning Innominate Tarn. As you walk downhill you get great views in all directions.
410 m later, you will cross a stream that comes out of Black Beck Tarn and the left-hand path heading back uphill. After 450 m ignore a path going off to the right and when the path splits in two 90 m later, take the right-hand path in the direction of an old stone building on other side of valley. The left-hand path also takes you back down the valley but isn’t as scenic.
After 320 m,you will need to cross a stream where poles can come in handy after lots of rain. From here on, follow the well-worn path back down to Gatesgarth farm where you started.
- This path can be extended by starting in Buttermere and heading up Red Pike, High Stile and High Crag.
- If you are driving, consider driving out of the beautiful Honister Pass road. Later in the day, when traffic is light this is a wonderful drive.
- You can get to Buttermere from Keswick on the Honister Ramber Bus.
To start the Haystacks Walk, get yourself to Buttermere and then head SE to Gatesgarth farm, where there is paid parking. Be aware, the roads to get to Buttermere are narrow and can be very steep.
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