We have been reading Alfred Wainwright pictorial guides as well as his biography. We happened across a piece of information advising that his favorite fell was Haystacks and that his ashes had been scattered on innominate tarn. Right away we decided this would be our next hike.
We parked on a local car park next to a farm and got on our way pretty quickly, the start of the route was via a path and was pretty low level. Soon into the walk we could see a bowl of peaks that stood very steep and very high, and from here we actually wondered just how steep the route is going to be.
Not too far around, we started seeing the route up, which although steep in places had an obvious route up the mountain. Following this we did find that there were a few areas where it was quite rough terrain and was a little hard going, but again anyone who walks a lot should be fine. We followed this path along the ridge where it then turns back on itself and during this section there is a few points where you need to scramble. This follows the flow of the water up the mountain and at a few points you can see where it turns into waterfalls. At this point, the sky decided to open and deliver us a healthy dose of rain, this did make the climb a bit harder as there were a few slippery sections.
Once we reached the top of this section, we found a river flowing across to the waterfalls, this needed to be crossed, we had a little struggle finding a path, recent rainfall had made this section flow quicker than we had anticipated but a good scan of the area led to an easier route over. At this point, the sky decided to drop some snow on us (great for a day that was deemed to be dry!) luckily, we had the right clothes on, so we continued on.
Following this route around towards Haystacks we followed the mountains around one a very clear path however with snow falling quite heavy at this point we pushed on with a bit more speed than we usually would. Passing Blackbeck Tarn was wonderful and the views in the snow were really great. Continuing up leads to Innominate Tarn, which is the locations of Wainwrights scattered ashes. We stood here and took in the view, that even in this day of harsh weather was a beautiful view over the valley and the surrounding mountains.
Following this the weather worsened further, heavy snow and bitter cold was blasting at our clothes and it was at this point that we reached Haystacks summit. From here however, the view was of mostly cloud and the bad weather had turned us around. We noticed on the map a fence that would eventually lead back onto the route so we moved over to this and followed it down. This is a route other people had obviously used before, but unless the weather is bad and you need something obvious to follow such as the fence, continuing straight over at haystacks will get you onto the same path.
Upon following the fence and getting back to the main route, we decided the weather wasn’t going to pick up anymore and that it was pointless trying to continue over to other peaks as the view wouldn’t be great and if nothing else it would probably be quite dangerous. Instead we settled on heading down the main path, which was stepped and followed this all the way down to the bottom and to Buttermere Lake. Once you are at the lake it's a simple path back across to the car park.
Due to the weather and lack of views at the top, this one definitely left us feeling like we hadn't completed it fully and we plan on going back and not just hitting haystacks but getting a few more wainwrights in as well. All in all the route was good though and it's a great way to see some of the beautiful Tarns on the fell.