19th June 2013 by Daniel Wildey Photography
You may have noticed that Ambleside gets a bit busy in summer! And why not, with such easy access to some stunning fells and valleys. Now and again you feel the urge to get away from it all and venture into some of the less frequented hills. The area around Haystacks is one of the most beautiful spots in England, and considering how quick you can get there, it’s surprising how wild and remote it can feel.
A drive up to Honister pass leaves you with an easy hour or two to get to the summit of Wainwright’s favourite fell. Once you crest the first rise above the Honister visitor centre you leave the last signs of civilisation behind, and could be miles into the wilderness. There are a lot less people around too.
From there you drop down into a picture-perfect amphitheatre with the remains of slate mining, tufts of purple heather and lots of sheep. The real treat comes after rounding a rocky outcrop to be struck by the dizzying view down Buttermere. Luckily the view doesn’t diminish as you continue around the head of the valley on sometimes exposed ground, crossing a stream just before it plummets down to join the lake.
The three cairns on top are all worth visiting, as each gives a spectacular variation on the view, whether it’s Buttermere, the newly revealed Ennerdale stretching seemingly to the sea, or the enormous bulk of Great Gable beyond Innominate Tarn.
With so much variety, such unequalled views, and such quick access, I fully agree with Wainwright. Haystacks is a lesser-known jewel of the Lakes.
Photo and Words Credit - Daniel Wildey Photography