Haystacks Wild Camp
Haystacks stands unabashed in the midst of a grand surround. I wish I had come up with that lovely description, alas it was, of course, the great Wainwright describing his favourite Lake District fell. Which was where I spent a happy night early last autumn. A highlight of an aborted Coast to Coast walk which embarrassingly and frustratingly ended due to injury after four days and nigh on fifty miles. Another attempt will take place at some point, in the meantime though, I can only recollect the best night of the three, spent on Haystacks.
To quickly surmise, day one was a washout, arriving soaked to the bone in Cleator; a night on Dent aborted and sensibly, but less excitingly, replaced by a steak dinner and a warm hotel room. The miserable conditions contained on day two. On arrival at the summit of Dent Hill did I find only fogbound conditions, and once on lower ground the heavens opened, heavily, and much like the previous night, on arrival in Ennerdale emerged into a cafe a shivering, wet, miserable walker. The waitress expressed I took for amused surprise when in response to her query of where I was heading to, did I state the High Stile Range. Thankfully, the rain abated as I reached Ennerdale Water, thankfully so as the lope around its southern side was an uncomfortable and wet one, at least underfoot.
The back and neck pain that eventually curtailed the walk was such that the plan to climb Red Pike and arrive at Haystacks the high way, was ignored in favour of a trudge along the service track beneath those beautiful hills Wainwright referred to. Pillar, Great Gable and Kirk Fell dominating the skyline also.
Prior to the path down to Black Sail YHA, and running on empty at this point, the ascent to Haystacks began. An initial climb up to Scarth Gap, then the scramble up the west side of Haystacks was at times tricky, but the beautiful views back down to Buttermere were a good excuse, if ever one was needed, to take a breather. Goodness me was the effort worth it when Innominate Tarn came into view. The miserable weather conditions at the start of the day were a distant memory on what was now a calm and mild evening. I pitched up right on the shore of the lake, with several ducks who regularly swam over to keep me company. Barely a sound was heard for the rest of the evening, spent sitting on a series of rocks and taking in the scenery of a sun setting beneath the summits of those surrounding mountains.