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Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.


Postby trailmasher » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:46 pm

Wainwrights included on this walk: Fleetwith Pike, Haystacks

Hewitts included on this walk: Fleetwith Pike

Date walked: 26/10/2015

Time taken: 3.41

Distance: 15.36 km

Ascent: 909m

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Well today I'm out with my two monthly walking companions as yet another two days walking was organised whilst they were working offshore. There is of course the Middlesbrough Mountain - Chris - and the champion pie eater Rob who will eat anything and everything with monotonous regularity. Young Eva should have accompanied us on this trip into the hills but unfortunately she was flattened by the flu bug, ah well, next time she may be able to join us.

As he wanted to mop up some of the Western Fells on the first day Chris wanted to get up Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike whilst Rob doesn't care as long as he has rock and grass under his boots, and on the second day Skiddaw was selected, as ever since we had been up Latrigg a few weeks ago and he had seen Jenkins Hill Chris had got it in his sights. I inwardly groaned when he said that he would love to get 'up there' as I myself have been up around eight times - well nine after tomorrow - and know full well what a trudge it is and still wonder why and berate myself for doing it once again. Sadism comes to mind at this point.

Anyway the die is cast and we decide to spend another night in a hostel and this time the lucky one is Keswick, the plan being to walk in the Buttermere area on the Monday, drive over to Keswick, clock in at the hostel and then choose a handy seller of fine ales and food which on this occasion Whetherspoon's won the toss. And it is handy to the hostel.

As usual my two companions for the next two days turned up at our house early and after coffee and loading up the car off we set for Buttermere, albeit a little later than planned due to too much talking over coffee. The original plan was to start the walk at Gatescarth Farm car park but as this would have given us a walk of only around 10 kilometres we decided to park up by the church in Buttermere to give us an extra 6 kilometres and both of them a chance to walk around the mere. On arriving at the car park by the church it was seen to be cordoned off by cones and yellow tape the reason why was to be found out as we arrived back later in the afternoon so we parked higher up the road on the fairly wide stony verge.

Once again luck is with us regarding the weather as it is mild and dry with a cloudy sky but plenty of sun showing through which will compensate for the cool breeze which no doubt will be cooler and stronger as we get higher. With the weather we have with us just now and the colours of the autumn leaves it truly is a beautiful day.

Because we are quite late in getting here the hamlet is filling up fast with visitors of all ages with a stream of them going our way as we head down the tarmac road, past both the Bridge and Fish Hotels, to then take the wide lane that runs between hedges and will lead us to the southwest shore of Buttermere's lake and a walk through the length of Burtness Wood where a fair amount of tree felling has been done…
4 - Tree felling done in Burtness Wood.JPG
Tree felling done in Burtness Wood.

on a well made path which allows good views of the lake and surrounding fells through the trees.
3 - High Snockrigg across Buttermere.JPG
High Snockrigg across Buttermere.

As we leave the woods behind we arrive at Horse Close and Comb Beck cascading down its waterfalls as it drops from the heights of Burtness Comb the large rock strewn depression that sits under High Stile. There is a narrow and not much used path that runs from just south of the path up to Bleaberry Tarn - it starts off as an old moss covered rocky track - and slopes gently upwards through the wood eventually leaving it to pass along the fell side until it reaches a wall which is followed to easier ground by the beck as it gets quite steep from this point. From here it is a climb on fairly wet but firm grass covered ground until the comb is reached and from there it is a bit of a scramble to gain the summit of High Stile.

Getting back to the walk, we passed over the footbridge which is over Comb Beck and on nearing the end of the mere…
7 - Fleetwith Pike.JPG
Fleetwith Pike.

there is a path on the right hand side which starts below Low Crag and that took us up to meet the paved path that runs behind the small plantation of pine trees, upwards and onwards to Scarth Gap on a path that I described a few weeks ago when on the walk to Pillar and Steeple so will not repeat my previous notes in this report.

Arriving at Scarth Gap 1½hrs after leaving Buttermere we dropped the bags and had food and drink - well Rob's been having that since we set off - whilst having conversations with a couple of families who had decided on the same course of action. One family was on their way to Buttermere after a night at Black Sail Hostel, and the other looking at Haystacks with some trepidation and wondering if it was the right thing to do. We left them to it as we set off on the good stony path that would take us to the first sort of level area where the views are great but will get better as we ascend up Wainwright's favourite mountain.
11 - Haystacks from Scarth Gap.JPG
Haystacks from Scarth Gap.

12 - Fleetwith Pike from Scarth Gap.JPG
Fleetwith Pike from Scarth Gap.

On we climbed along the good stony path which is interspaced by sections of paved lengths and scrambling over some quite steep rocky sections but thankfully for those of a nervous disposition there are quite a few places where one can retain composure if needing to do so.
14 - The long rock slab on Haystacks.JPG
The long rock slab on Haystacks.

All in all the entire climb is easy enough but care should be taken on some of the rocky sections especially so if the weather is wet.
16 - High Crag - Seat and Scarth Gap from Haystacks.JPG
High Crag-Seat and Scarth Gap from Haystacks.

As we climbed over the last lip and onto the level area we are met by the small unnamed tarn that adorns the southwest side and which sits just beneath the slightly higher ridge of rocks that carries the small south cairn on its back.
19 - Unnamed tarn on Haystacks summit with Seat and High Crag behind.JPG
Unnamed tarn on Haystacks summit with Seat and High Crag behind.

22 - Another unnamed tarn on Hastacks with Pillar in the background.JPG
Another unnamed tarn on Haystacks with Pillar in the background.

Photos were taken as we passed over the first ridge before dropping down into the depression and then climbing up the short rocky face to arrive at the true summit cairns of which there are one at either end of the rocky ridge.
23 - The twin summits of Haystacks.JPG
The twin summits of Haystacks.

Both Chris and Rob are amazed at what they see as they didn't expect the top to be as it is, big and rough with plenty of places to go exploring, don't go too far north lads or you'll descend very quickly into Warnscale Bottom. A family group that was climbing up from the east side path asked if there was a way down the other side to which I replied in the affirmative and explaining what the path conditions were like.

As anyone who has been on Haystacks knows the views are magnificent with the full range of the Buttermere Fells, the Newlands Round - almost - across to Pillar and Great Gable, Kirk Fell, and lots behind and in between of which are too numerous to mention in this report. If you haven't been up it you'll see what I am talking about when you finally get around to it.

Mountain spotting and photos taken we set off from the top to take the easy path south leading us to Wainwright's watery grave, Innominate Tarn where his ashes were scattered by his wife Betty. As it is in a fairly sheltered position and there are quite a few areas that make comfortable sitting there always seem to be a few people lingering about here but I can say that it is nice place to stop for a break.
27 - Descending from Haystacks towards Innominate Tarn.JPG
Descending from Haystacks towards Innominate Tarn.

29 - Innominate Tarn.JPG
Innominate Tarn.

Soon after leaving this tarn another much larger one is reached and this goes by the name of Blackbeck Tarn.
35 - Blackbeck Tarn.JPG
Blackbeck Tarn.

As we descend down towards Green Crag from where good views are to be found over Warnscale Bottom …
33 - Warnscale Bottom and Buttermere from under Green Crag.JPG
Warnscale Bottom and Buttermere from under Green Crag.

and Fleetwith Pike we are passed by a stream of people who are on their way to Haystacks as they steadily climb along this much easier route to the summit rather than the one from Scarth Gap. As we get just past Green Crag we are met by a young couple who are looking slightly confused so I had a good idea what was coming next. The first question was "where is Fleetwith Pike?" and the second one "which is the quickest way back to Gatescarth Farm?" The first question I answered was that they could follow us to Fleetwith if that is where they wanted to go, the second that if they followed us then I would point out a path which would take them down the old quarryman's path which passes by the old stone hut which is now used as a bothy and would then lead them into Warnscale Bottom and the old mine road which runs around the bottom of Fleetwith Pike and terminates at the main Honister Pass road. They decided on the quick way off but I noticed that once again as has happened four times over the last month when being asked for directions that they were using a mobile phone to guide them around the hills. I do wonder why intelligent people continue to use this kind of navigation instrument despite all of the advice around warning against it. A map and compass are cheap enough to purchase. Apart from that and as they had just come from Haystacks all they had to do was walk in the opposite direction to the flow of people going up to Haystacks and they would have soon arrived at the old mine road leading back down to Gatescarth. Sorry about the rant.

The young couple are now on their way down to Warnscale Bottom and we are continuing on our way to Fleetwith Pike as we pass below Great Round How, Little Round How,
35b - Great Round How-Little Round How with Brandreth and Grey Knotts behind.JPG
Great Round How-Little Round How with Brandreth and Grey Knotts behind.

and then crossed Warnscale Beck and the short climb up to the Honister Bothy which sits just above the old Dismantled Tramway path. The bothy is where we stopped for lunch.
36 - The Honister Bothy and old slate quarries.JPG
The Honister bothy and old slate quarries.

It's a while since I've been here and I am pleased to see that it has been refurbished and is now akin to four star accommodation complete with three beds plus the usual candles, firewood, visitors book, etc, and despite there being no power someone has a great sense of humour and furnished it with a vacuum cleaner complete with plug. Of course my two companions had to have a go on the beds. Strange that, as I have a job getting them into one whilst the pubs are open.
40 - The Honister Bothy.JPG
The Honister bothy.

Break over and warm beds left behind we set off straight ahead from the bothy and went between the two walls of slate containing part of the old tramway and on exiting the wall enclosed path we then turned north for a short distance passing one of the working slate quarries which today was quiet and unmanned using a grassy path which initially ran through grass but as we got higher the landscape became more heather than grass with outcrops of rock poking through it. The path continued roughly northeast for a while until we reached an old quarry where we then turned northwest over a short section of wet ground until as we started climbing again it was once again dry underfoot. This is a good path which is easy to see, meanders as it slowly climbs but with short descents in places until the final easy climb up to the summit through the aforementioned heather and surrounding rocky ground to arrive easily at the summit cairn.
43 - Fleetwith Pike summit in sight.JPG
Fleetwith Pike summit in sight.

There are actually two cairns, one of the normal variety and the other more of a short column masquerading as the one on High Spy but this one being in the most commanding position right at the forefront of the summit.
47 - The view over Buttermere from Fleetwith Pike.JPG
The view over Buttermere from Fleetwith Pike.

Although it's quite hazy there is a magnificent panorama in all directions the view to the south only being partly blocked by Haystacks and the High Stile range of hills. We can see the full length of Buttermere and most of Crummock Water which is partly blocked from view by that delectable little fell of Rannerdale Knotts. Mellbreak and Hen Comb are on the distant left whilst on the opposite side there is Grasmoor and its neighbours; above Buttermere we have the Newlands Round hills of Dale Head, Hindscarth, and Robinson. Behind us we have Grey Knotts, Brandreth, Green Gable, Great Gable, and Kirk Fell. What a view. Down in Warnscale Bottom we can see many people making their way back along the old mine road, presumably to the car park at Gatescarth Farm.

After more than a few minutes taking all of this in we started the descent down the steep and stony path first passing over Fleetwith Gully with more than enough rocks to contend with and as we progress steadily down we pass over some quite steep rocky sections with a lot of easier ones in between being over grass and heather…
49 - Descending Fleetwith Edge.JPG
Descending Fleetwith Edge.

50 - Descending Fleetwith Edge.JPG
Descending Fleetwith Edge.

51 - Looking back up Fleetwith Edge.JPG
Looking back up Fleetwith Edge.

52 - Descending Fleetwith Pike.JPG
Descending Fleetwith Pike.

the lower we get the easier it becomes as we walk along Fleetwith Edge to reach the final drop off around Low Raven Crag from where Fanny Mercer accidentally fell to her death whilst on a picnic with her family in 1887. A white cross erected in her memory is situated on the front of the crag and can easily be reached via a narrow path leading off to the left when rounding the base of the crag. It's nice to see that the cross is kept in good condition and always looks clean and bright.
53 - Fanny Mercers cross under Low Raven Crag.JPG
Fanny Mercer's cross under Low Raven Crag.

Having reached the main Honister Pass road we followed it for a short distance before reaching the path which would now allow us to walk down the opposite side of the mere to that which we did this morning. The walk is simple enough taking us through the short elevated length of Crag Wood to then come across the Hassness tunnel which was cut by employees of George Benson a 19th century Manchester mill owner who at that time owned the Hassness Estate. The tunnel was made so that he could walk around the lake without straying too far from the shore. It is said that he got his employees to do the work just to keep them busy in slack times and also used some of the out of work Honister Slate Mine miners. From the tunnel it is then a good walk back to reach the fields of Wilkinsyke Farm of which we passed through the farmyard, past the holiday cottages, the ice cream parlour, and back to the car park where we now saw the reason for the car park being blocked off this morning. There are two large vehicles, TV filming units complete with enormous lighting units set up but not yet on. As we passed the film crew that was hanging about the vehicles we asked what they were filming. They were quite friendly and told us that it was a new series that will be shown next year and goes by the title of 'The A Word' and starring Christopher Ecclestone. The story is about a couple who have an autistic son and the trials and tribulations surrounding the family who live in the Lake District. The filming tonight seemed to be centred at the front of the church and the vicinity around it.

After getting changed we decided to enjoy the company of the beer pumps at the Fish Hotel for the odd glass before getting off to Keswick. On leaving said hostelry we had to wait for a few minutes as filming was taking place under the lights as it was quite gloomy by now. Only a few minutes pass by before we are given the all clear to continue on our way out of this lovely little mountain surrounded valley and before too long we were signing in at the Youth Hostel. This done it was a quick shower and off to Wetherspoon's for well earned food and drink.

After a phone call we were later on joined by Daniel - of the Steeple walk - and his missus as they were staying in Grasmere just down the road and a fine evening was had by all.

A good days walking and two new Wainwright's for Chris and Rob done in good weather, and although it was sunny it was accompanied by a brisk and cold breeze at height which required the wearing of hat and gloves during some periods of the walk. The paths were good and dry apart from the odd patch on Fleetwith Pike on the lower areas of the climb to the summit.

Tomorrow we tackle Skiddaw via Jenkins Hill. Whoopee!
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trailmasher
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby thefallwalker » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:32 am

brilliant report as is the norm bud! thoroughly entertaining
The bothy was superb, and something you wouldn't expect to see.
I can't believe you left out Rob's faster than planned descent from Fleetwith Pike on his backside :lol:
a great day & night out looking forward to tomorrows episode and the nice easy amble up Skiddaw ha ha!
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:29 pm

Two lovely fells on a nice day, a splendid way to spend the day. I share your distain for the Jenkin hill Skiddaw path, a truly tedious trudge either up or down :(
As for using mobile phones to navigate in the hills I'm not sure it's the phones to blame. I suspect it's the lack of experience in the hills and the inability to translate what's on the phone screen to the ground beneath their feet. Can't see a paper map being any different. I do actually use my phone for quick convenient position fixes as it's loaded with OS maps. I'm not alone in doing this, noted long distance walker Chris Townsend confessed to using his smart phone while in the hills on a regular basis. People have got to get the hill bug somehow, as long as they aren't heading off into wild pathless terrain and stick to popular fells I don't see and issue. 10 years ago I'd never been up a hill in my life, believe me my first few were nervous affairs and if something had gone wrong I'd have been clueless :lol:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby ChrisW » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:59 pm

Great post as always TM with some lovely shots captured along the way but I feel there was a missed opportunity there for someone to grab that vacuum cleaner and do a Freddie Mercury rendition of 'I want to break free' which would have made for some hilarious pics :lol: :lol:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:43 pm

thefallwalker wrote:brilliant report as is the norm bud! thoroughly entertaining
The bothy was superb, and something you wouldn't expect to see.
I can't believe you left out Rob's faster than planned descent from Fleetwith Pike on his backside :lol:
a great day & night out looking forward to tomorrows episode and the nice easy amble up Skiddaw ha ha!


Thanks Chris but thought that I would leave him alone this time around :lol:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:53 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Two lovely fells on a nice day, a splendid way to spend the day. I share your distain for the Jenkin hill Skiddaw path, a truly tedious trudge either up or down :(
As for using mobile phones to navigate in the hills I'm not sure it's the phones to blame. I suspect it's the lack of experience in the hills and the inability to translate what's on the phone screen to the ground beneath their feet. Can't see a paper map being any different. I do actually use my phone for quick convenient position fixes as it's loaded with OS maps. I'm not alone in doing this, noted long distance walker Chris Townsend confessed to using his smart phone while in the hills on a regular basis. People have got to get the hill bug somehow, as long as they aren't heading off into wild pathless terrain and stick to popular fells I don't see and issue. 10 years ago I'd never been up a hill in my life, believe me my first few were nervous affairs and if something had gone wrong I'd have been clueless :lol:


Thanks for your comments Anthony :D and maybe I'm being a bit hard on this subject :( but a paper map is a lot bigger than a mobile phone screen allowing one to see the bigger picture and sus out where you are even if only approximately. Like you I also was nervous of the hills until I started connecting the different areas and routes together, and you're right, people have to start somewhere. Thanks again for your comments :clap:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby trailmasher » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:59 pm

ChrisW wrote:Great post as always TM with some lovely shots captured along the way but I feel there was a missed opportunity there for someone to grab that vacuum cleaner and do a Freddie Mercury rendition of 'I want to break free' which would have made for some hilarious pics :lol: :lol:


Thanks Chris :clap: the bag was full and no spares about :lol: besides, I couldn't get 'em off the damn beds :lol:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby dav2930 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:36 am

Lovely walk that and a nice touch starting from Buttermere rather than Gatesgarth. The photo of the slab on Haystacks had me thinking you'd found some off-piste bit of scrambling until I remembered it being on the main path! Your pic makes it look a lot steeper than it really is! :lol:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby trailmasher » Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:15 pm

dav2930 wrote:Lovely walk that and a nice touch starting from Buttermere rather than Gatesgarth. The photo of the slab on Haystacks had me thinking you'd found some off-piste bit of scrambling until I remembered it being on the main path! Your pic makes it look a lot steeper than it really is! :lol:


Thanks dav :D and starting at Buttermere gives time for the legs to loosen up before the bit of a climb up to the Gap. Re the slab. It's all about perspective but made my two companions look fearless of heights :lol: but as you say it is easy enough to get up the left hand side. According to AW it was a hell of a slab to get up :? and tales of it put the wife off going up it for years :roll:
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Re: Around the top of Warnscale Bottom.

Postby Lone ranger » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:43 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Two lovely fells on a nice day, a splendid way to spend the day. I share your distain for the Jenkin hill Skiddaw path, a truly tedious trudge either up or down :(
As for using mobile phones to navigate in the hills I'm not sure it's the phones to blame. I suspect it's the lack of experience in the hills and the inability to translate what's on the phone screen to the ground beneath their feet. Can't see a paper map being any different. I do actually use my phone for quick convenient position fixes as it's loaded with OS maps. I'm not alone in doing this, noted long distance walker Chris Townsend confessed to using his smart phone while in the hills on a regular basis. People have got to get the hill bug somehow, as long as they aren't heading off into wild pathless terrain and stick to popular fells I don't see and issue. 10 years ago I'd never been up a hill in my life, believe me my first few were nervous affairs and if something had gone wrong I'd have been clueless :lol:


As a newbie to the fells and walking I would be very cautious about using a mobile phone to navigate my way around. using a mobile phone as a sat nav in the car causes me many problems with glitches and time lapses, luckily I have a great guide when out walking who knows these fells like the back of his hand. Although he does know the fells so well he always has a GPS to hand to make sure he stays on the right path.
I personally think it is dangerous for people to use a mobile phone for guidance while out walking, its easy to carry spare batteries for a GPS, not many charging points for mobiles though :lol: always worth remembering that people use this site as guidance, newbies like myself who read reports to gain useful and necessary information about equipment, suitability of routes, hazards etc.
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