This is one of the easiest ways to reach a high class Lake District summit. Starting from Honister Pass cuts off a great deal of climbing (the ascent figure here is somewhat misleading, as the path rises and falls as it cuts across from that pass to the fell). On its way our route takes us pass the quarry at Honister, and gives us some dramatic views down into Buttermere, before reaching one of the best summits in the district, a fascinating landscape of rocky outcroppings and tarns.
Length: 4.5 miles
Map: The English Lakes - North Western Area (OS Explorer Map Active)
Last Walked: Spring 2011
We start from the National Trust car park at the head of Honister Pass.
1: NY 225 135
Leave the car park through the gate that leads to Honister Quarry. Head through the quarry buildings towards the quarry's own car park, then onto the track that leads up towards the current workings. After a short distance turn left onto the signposted footpath that climbs rather steeply up the side of the fell. This long straight path was once part of the original quarry workings, and it takes us across a patch of comparatively level ground between Grey Knotts
and Fleetwith Pike, before eventually joining a quarry track, just before reaching an area of old quarry workings.
2: NY 208 134
At the far side of these quarry workings, turn left and follow an indistinct path that drops down to a beck. After crossing the beck the path becomes much clearer, and climbs up over an area of higher ground.
3: NY 206 132
This area has a number of different paths, but the way onwards is fairly clear - keep heading in as near as possible a straight line, with one dog-leg on top of this minor ridge. The path them drops down to pass in front of Blackbeck Tarn
, before climbing up onto Haystacks
4: NY 193 131
Take your time to explore Haystacks' large summit, visiting Innominate Tarn
and the true summit. To return retrace your steps, taking care not to head off to the left after Blackbeck Tarn - this would bring you down into Buttermere. At the quarry workings we passed at the end of step 1 there is a choice of routes - we can either continue on along the path we used originally, or stick to the quarry track and follow it around the edge of the modern workings (this is still a right of way). This is the route I used, and passes some interesting areas, before dropping down rather suddenly on a zig-zag track back to the top of Honister Pass.