Sunday - Honister/Haystacks/ Buttermere
Monday - Rosthwaite/Honister
Forecast good for Sunday and poor Monday therefore do the grand finale Haystacks finish in good weather on Sunday and fill in Rosthwaite to Honister on Monday after staying overnight in the Glaramara Hotel in Seatoller.
There was an added complication for me to this schedule. On Monday we needed to walk from Rosthwaite and ascend steeply to Honister Pass summit a distance of about three miles in time for me to drive back home for the meeting of my book club back in Arnside at 2:00 pm.
To maximise time available on Monday morning at 7:30 am we took both cars to Honister summit leaving one and returning to the Glaramara Hotel for 7:50 so we could do the cereal part of breakfast prior to the official 8:00 am breakfast starting time. We then drove to Rosthwaite left the car and walked in strong wind and rain for most of the way to Honister. There was an excellent fix-the-fells- path come staircase to gain height quickly taking us onto the old unsurfaced road and a gentle ascent from there on to Honister summit. In the wet conditions I only took one photo: the Glaramara hotel as we passed back behind it on the way to the Honister footpath. A quick drive back to Rosthwaite and I was back home for 12:15 in time for a hot bath and a snack before my meeting.
On Sunday we had planned to rendezvous at our Buttermere finishing point at 9:00 am. I arrived first and was taken aback as I arrived from Newlands to find cars parked parked precariously all the way back for about quarter of a mile from the junction with the main Buttermere road. The car park down past the Fish Hotel was also full, but BC is a member of the National Trust and we used their car park a few hundred yards further up the road out of Buttermere. We never found out why there were so many cars parked so early but it may have been due to a fell race.
When we arrived at Honister although we were aware it was Remembrance Sunday we had forgotten about the annual service held on Great Gable by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. There were around two hundred cars parked on the huge slate mines car park and we had some difficulty in finding a spot - free parking had been declared for the day.
We walked up the slate mine road before joining the path that lead us to Haystacks. I looked across the Honister road to Yew Crag with some sadness. I climbed with Tony for six or seven years before he died from illness in 2003 - Tony always lead and I followed, usually up to HVS (Hard Very Severe) standard. Tony was very competent and so safe - I followed in my less than elegant fashion and always managed except for the one occasion on that Yew Crag across the valley on a climb called Cleopatra where I couldn't even get off the ground after Tony had lead the first pitch. Finally we had to give up and Tony had to abseil off leaving a sling behind which he was not too happy about - ah well.
We had cloudless blue sky and almost no wind giving us a magnificent day to finish what has been an excellent walk throughout. Innominate Tarn where Wainwright's ashes were scattered was at its best...
"All I ask for at the end is a last resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn on Haystacks where the water gently laps the gravely shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place. I shall go to it, for the last time and be carried, somone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone.
And if you dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It might be me..."
I have been up and down the Haystacks to Scarth Gap scramble before treating it I guess with pleasant anticipation and then enjoyment. Today as I saw the steep start dropping off vertically it was more with trepidation and I found it pretty challenging and bringing into focus that such sections previously done without a care now need to be given serious consideration.
We opted to walk back up the more pleasant elevated path on the western side of Buttermere lake - Nick Burton's route goes on the eastern side near the road.
We had hoped to round off the day by paying homage to the Wainwright memorial window in the little church at Buttermere but as we arrived outside the door we hear a cornet solo being played for the remembrance service that was being held.
The Glaramara Hotel in Seatoller gave us a most friendly welcome. We had a long chat with the proprietor - this is an excellent hotel, with a particularly comfortable ambience.
These last two days had provided a superb finish to what is an excellently devised route keeping alive the exploits of Alfred Wainwright for which I seem to gain ever more respect contrasting with a kind of dismissal back in the days of my youth when rock climbing took precedence over walking.
|This and below - cars parked at Honister Pass for ascent to Great Gable and the Fell and Rock Club Remembrance Day service held annually there|
|Our route went up the old slate working road above the cars|
|Yew Crag, scene of my failed attempt with Tony on the climb Cleopatra. The crag is central to left of top of scree|
|Looking back down Honister Pass. The main road is well below the quarry road in the centre.|
|Looking back at the Honister slate quarry workings and all the parked cars|
|Mountain bothies Association bothy on the way to Haystacks, and below|
|Buttermere and Crummack Water|
|Blackbeck Tarn - and below|
|Sunlight on Pillar|
|Innominate Tarn where Wainwright's ashes were scattered.|
|Buttermere and Crummack Water.|
This is the start of the scramble descent going down the rocks in the foreground
|At the bottom of the scramble down to Scarth Gap - others going up|
|The scramble down to Scarth Gap|
|Fleetwith Pike from the southern end of Buttermere|
|Fleetwith Pike again|
|Glaramara Hotel where we stayed. Glaramara is peeping up at horizon with snow|