view from the summit of Haystacks

The climb of Haystacks combined with a walk around Buttermere is a Lake District favourite for myself and many people.

I have done this in many weather conditions and in different seasons and it never ceases to amaze me with variety, beauty and a truly calming effect.

A gorgeous walk around one of the finest lakes, Buttermere combined with a fell top, Haystacks. Although not the highest of the land but it does have one of the best 360 viewpoints together with a truly interesting and unique summit.

buttermere with haystacks behind

I am a lover of doing circular routes rather than up then back down whence I came. The start point was to be the car park of the Buttermere Court Hotel (once known as the Fish Inn), situated in the lovely little Hamlet of Buttermere.

Social Wellness Walks

Walk Beside Buttermere

The walk set off on the path following the wooded right hand side of Buttermere before getting to the bottom of Haystacks. In the photo above you can clearly see the path heading up toward the right hand side of the unmistakable Haystacks.

I have attached at the bottom of this article a GPX file to help but the path ahead is very clear on this walk. Plus so many people love doing it you would rarely be alone in this area to be honest.

woodland path beside Buttermere, Cumbria

Of course the walk beside the lake is gorgeous, especially on a day with some sunshine like today was.

Even without the climb the lakeside circuit walk of Buttermere is undertaken at leisure by lots of visitors. The surrounding woods add a real charm and hides within it plenty of nature to explore.

Buttermere woods

The treeline breaks and just before the start of the uphill you get a great view of Fleetwith Pike that towers above Buttermere.

Fleetwith Pike and Buttermere

Fleetwith Pike is a remarkable peak itself and the way it rises up from Buttermere it can rival many a great view on this earth.

Buttermere and Fleetwith Pike

Climb Up Haystacks

The climb up Haystacks is nice and steady and the summit of Haystacks with its great craggy features gets closer and closer with each step. I really advise this walk is done in no hurry.

After reaching the end of Buttermere you will see where the path heads off to the right and starts to climb upwards.

Every step is an opportunity to look around in awe. From bottom to top.

looking up Haystacks

The pass takes you up what is called Scarth Gap Pass before you turn left at the top of it to the top of Haystacks.

The walk up is not too steep or difficult and great to get children enjoying a good walk and climb without any real dangers or difficulties.

approaching the summit of Haystacks

On The Summit

At the summit area just turn around and look back in the direction you just stepped up. You get some fantastic views.

Take a look at this iconic view below. High Crag in the middle, Buttermere and Crummock Water to the right with the village of Buttermere where you started nestled between the two lakes.

High Crag from haystacks

Way over on the left sits Ennerdale. On the horizon on a clear day you can see all the way to the Solway Firth. That is just the start of the summit views….

Here, pictured below, is the summit tarn. One of many great and interesting features up here.

Innominate Tarn on the summit of haystacks

Wainwight’s Ashes

If you know the lake District and are a fan of fell climbing then you will know of the great guidebook author Alfred Wainwright. Well this was his favourite summit! He loved being up here so much so that his ashes were scattered on Haystacks.

From that day he fell in love with the Lake District on Orrest Head, to here on Haystacks. He inspired so many.

The tarn at the rear on the picture below is Innominate Tarn, a beauty spot that is a perfect spot to take out the flask and sit, high up here, in peace with a brew.

the tarns on haystacks

Mountains in view include the stunning Great Gable taking centre stage with Scafell Pike‘s summit even pearing up right in the background.

What a spot, and of course it is easy to see why Wainwright loved this place.

haystacks summit plateau
sheep on haystacks

Sitting up here watching the world go by, not another soul seen for a while. Really helps put any madness and busy lives back into perspective.

Even some of the local winged wildlife joined me for a little rest.

little bird on haystacks summit

Alas, after crossing over the summit it was time to head back down via Warnscale.

Keep an eye out though, not only do you get a super view over Buttermere and beyond all the way down, Warnscale Beck has some hidden beautiful little waterfalls to admire en route.

Back at ground level you can look forward to wandering down the other side of the lake to where you came out, back to Buttermere and a nice pint awaits at the pub you parked at.

back at the bottom of Haystacks

Another super day as ever on Haystacks. New gorgeous memories gained again and I look forward to the next day I step foot on these paths and that summit.

Route Details and GPX

Distance – 8 miles

Time – 2 to 3 hours

Parking – At the start in Buttermere there is a Pay and Display Car Park, postcode for car park CA13 9UZ

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  1. Ana Carvajal says:

    Thas´s where I would like to be right now.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      always a great spot to be at Ana 😀

  2. John McPartland says:

    Beautiful pictures which bring back so many wonderful memories of the times I’ve spent there. I agree that a circular walk is much more enjoyable, though not always possible. The Fells have a magic to be found nowhere else in England.

  3. My favourite place!

    I’ve visited here a couple of times but never managed to get a climb up Haystacks yet due to poor weather. In fact it’s become my nemesis and I will return one day!

    I love the approach down the Honister Pass and the little church at Buttermere.

    Great blog and fab photographs. Makes me want to go back even more!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      ooohh you must make it a mission Becca.. A truly great walk. Thx for the kind words

  4. Ciao Paul!
    this is really a nice path to follow.
    We did the same walk last summer… simply wonderful! 🙂

  5. Simone Myall says:

    I love this and you have a great way of making it look so tempting. I’ve been to the Lake District but had to come back within 24 hours due to emergency.
    I am now putting this back on my list. Thanks for sharing.

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