One of the Lake District’s more modest fells, Haystacks is nevertheless one of its most well-loved. Is status as such is probably due in part to the Lakes’ most famous rambler, Alfred Wainwright, who counted Haystacks as his favourite walk in the Lakes. And since the word of an authority such as Wainwright is one that we can count on as fairly reliable, you can be sure Haystacks is worth a climb.
While it might still be a tad nippy for some of us to go exploring hill and dale, the first signs of spring are upon us, and we can all tentatively start daydreaming about summer days, when all you need are a few sandwiches in a rucksack, some sturdy boots and a sunny day to see just where your legs will take you. Haystacks is definitely a walk to save for such a day. And if you do go exploring to its summit and find there the beautiful, remote Innominate Tarn, you might take a few moments to reflect on Wainwright’s thoughts about the place:
“All I ask for, at the end, is a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn, on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly 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: someone 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.”
Alfred Wainwright – from “Memoirs of a Fellwalker” (1993)
(please click pictures for credits)