Start – Gatesgarth Car Park NY194149, Distance – 7.5km, Ascent – 730m, Time – 3hrs 30mins plus stops.
A short but sweet flirt up the compelling main ridge of Fleetwith Pike followed by a quick visit to Alfred Wainwright’s favouritist Lakeland fell, Haystacks. The route is simple to follow and easy enough after the initial steep pull. In fact, I always prefer a steep initial climb as you gain height quickly when you have the most energy, plus it’s easier on the joints than a steep descent. Anyway, Fleetwith Pike offers fantastic views down the Buttermere valley and I’m informed that Haystacks offers equally excellent views. Not that we experienced them, sadly, as the cloud dropped on us pretty quickly after we started off the top of Fleetwith Pike. Next time then.

Starting the steep climb up the Fleetwith Pike ridge from the car park at Gatesgarth. So begins another exciting day out for the special needs walking group

An unobstructed view down the length of Buttermere, with Crummock Water in the distance

The view from the top of Fleetwith Pike down the Buttermere Valley

Blackbeck Tarn with the Gables wreathed in cloud behind. Looks like the cloud is heading our way…

After a reasonable start and clear air on Fleetwith Pike, the cloud descended on us just as we got to Haystacks, so we never did get to find out why Wainwright loved it so much. This is a view back to that hallowed peak from the descent

Looking across to Fleetwith Pike from the descent of Scarth Gap Pass. Typically, the cloud had cleared Haystacks by now.