I've been planning this route to help Denise to catch up with my Wainwright total and also satisfy a doubt I've harboured for a while which was "had I actually been on Fleetwith Pike?" a friend of mine assured me that he and I did it years ago on a big route above Buttermere starting on Red Pike via Scale Force then onto High Stile, High Crag, Hay Stacks and finishing on Fleetwith Pike, the reason for the doubt was I just don't remember coming off Fleetwith Pike the logical way which is straight off the front of it, what I do remember is feeling knackered whlist walking alongside Buttermere longing for a pint in the pub, this walk would put my little doubt to rest.
The weather was forecast to be fine with plenty of sunshine and the wind would be negligable just right for this walk that promised some great views of the bigger mountains around us.
One advantage of seeking out N.T car parks is the one that we planned to use at the Honister quarry and slate mine gave us a 330m starting height, our first target was Grey Knotts which is still quite a climb from the mine then Brandreth onto Haystacks finishing off on Fleetwith Pike ending with a steady walk back to Honister Hause.
The weather was spot on when we set off for Grey Knotts, we started by taking the good path alongside the fence directly behind the mine. This is a steady plod and height is gained fairly quickly. The views across to Dale Head gives a sense of scale of the mining activity.
We were on the summit sooner than anticipated, about 50 mins after setting off, there are two cairns sat on two different knotts of similar height so we visited them both to be sure then set off for Brandreth.
Second summit views
We followed the fence for most of the way, where it changes direction there's a gate, from here the path continues ahead to Brandreth's summit.
From the summit there are nice views of the Scafells, Great Gable, Kirkfell, Pillar and the Buttermere mountains, there was a bit of mist rising that added to the atmosphere.
From Brandreth we set off in the direction of Blackbeck Tarn taking advantage of the soft grassy hillside and the fence. At the tarn there's a small path around the east side leading to the main path coming from Hay Stacks.
On the way to the summit of Hay Stacks we stopped by Innominate Tarn and remembered A W, it's easy to see why he liked the place so much, it's very tranquil.
On the summit the views are superb, a nice place to be and would be worth spending time on during the summer, today it was a bit cool so we decided to keep moving.
Hay Stacks summit and views.
From the summit we retraced back to Blackbeck Tarn and headed for Dubs Quarry. The plan was to take the path that runs across the hillside from near the quarry to the summit of Fleetwith Pike, it's marked on the map but could we heckers like find it, according to the gps we were on it but there was no trace of it on the ground, we found it as we got closer to the summit then promptly lost it again only to become a lot clearer again as we neared the summit.
The view from the summit really is one of the best in the Lakes, well worth the effort getting there, we considered ourselves lucky to have such nice conditions today.
Fleetwith Pike summit.
Final one of my favourite
From the summit we followed the well trodden path back to the mines, to the left of us was the very steep drop down to the road which seemed almost sheer.
Arriving back at the carpark and the visitor centre it was like another world, it was very busy, the weather had bought a lot of people out, it was buzzing, it's nice to think that about a couple of hundred meters away you can lose all that and enter a world of peace and quiet with hardly a soul about.
Travel and Coronavirus
Please check current coronavirus restrictions before travelling within or to Scotland.
Click for details
This board helps you to share your walking route experiences in England and Wales... or overseas.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.