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This modest mountain occupies an important position at the head of the Buttermere valley and is surrounded by a diverse and interesting range of peaks. To the south is the towering crags of the Pillar range whilst to the north is the slightly friendlier, but no less grand, hills of the Newlands range and for good measure it stands shoulder to shoulder with Great Gable and High Stile. With such a close-in and extensive panorama you will not be surprised to find out, once you have stood amongst the intimate rocks of its crest, Haystacks was one of Alfred Wainwright's favorite peaks.
The height gain of this walk is not huge, so it's perfectly possible to add a bit more distance to the walk to get it up to get it up to a fuller day, and what better way to do this than a walk through the woods of Birkness and around the shores of the attractive and gentle shores of Buttermere.
3 - 4 hours
1. From Buttermere village follow the bridleway South West past the hotels and easily round the farm lane to a bridge at the outlet of Buttermere. At this point there is some confusion as several tracks and paths meet; you should follow around the corner of the lake and pick up the bridleway that heads South East climbing gently through the woods (not the steep bridleway that climbs steeply South up to Bleaberry Tarn).
2. Once past the South East end of the lake you will reach a junction. Turn right and follow the bridleway that climbs first West then South and climbs to Scarth Gap.
3. At the col at Scarth Gap leave the bridleway and pickup the path that climbs East to the summit of Haystacks.
4. From Haystacks continue along the path heading East South - East first to Innominate Tarn then to Blackbeck Tarn.
5. Crossing the outlet of Blackbeck Tarn the path turns East - North East and works its way round the rough fellside to the head of Warnscale Beck. Cross Warnscale Beck and join the bridleway on the other side.
6. This bridleway is an old packhorse route that connects the quarries at Dubs with the Buttermere valley. Turn left onto the bridleway and follow it as it descends steadily into Warnscale Bottom. You get a close up view of the impressive North Face of Haystacks from here.
7. From Warnscale Bottom join the B5289 valley road and follow it North West for 900m to the start of the Hassness permissive path on the left. Leave the road and follow the permissive path round the lake to a junction with a bridleway at the northern end of the lake. Turn right onto the bridleway and follow it to a junction with another bridleway. Turn left and head North back into Buttermere village.