Haystacks is a fairly low mountain in the Buttermere Valley. It was arguably Alfred Wainwright's all time favourite peak as it is the place (Innominate Tarn) he wanted his ashes scattered when he died in 1991 - and for this reason the fell has enormous popularity. The fell sits below an array of much higher peaks including Great Gable, Pillar and High Stile and its summit contains many small tarns and rocky peaks making it a pretty and very interesting place to be.
According to Wikipedia the name Haystacks derives from the appearance of the summit cliffs. According to Wainwright, the name comes from the Icelandic stack meaning 'a columnar rock' and the correct translation of this should be High Rocks.
The two most common routes of ascent are to the east via Warnscale Bottom and to the west via Scarth Gap. Both routes offer amazing views and are interesting way to the top. For a longer walk the fell can be linked in with nearby Fleetwith Pike to the north east, or High Crag, High Stile and Red Pike to the west.
Haystacks is just on the south side of the Buttermere Valley. Buttermere is signposted from the A66 1 miles west of Keswick (the route passes over Newlands Hause and down into the village). An alternate route is to go south from Keswick along the B5289 which passes through Borrowdale and then heads over Honister Pass and descends down to Buttermere.
Keswick is along the A66 about 17 miles west of Penrith. From the east of the country take the A66 Trans-Pennine route to Penrith and continue past it to Keswick. From the North or South the M6 is the best road as it takes you through Penrith where the A66 west is signposted from.
Route 1 - Purple Route
This simply shows the ridge route that descends down from High Stile, over High Crag and Seat and to Scarth Gap. The ascent to Haystacks is on a good path although a little rocky in places requiring some very easy scrambling. (Not even grade 1 by UK standard and well within the capabilities of people walking in the area).
Route 2 - Green Route
This is the most direct ascent from the Buttermere Valley. Starting off at the Pay and Display Car Park at Gatesgarth Farm, the sout heads south west over Peggys Bridge and then after a short bit of ascent west the route heads almost due south along a well defined path to Scarth Gap. The route then on in a little rocky in places but easy.
Route 3 - Blue Route
This is one of the best routes of ascent via Warnscale Bottom. The imposing crags give wonderful views and create a proper mountain feel and environment. The route is easy and you pass a bothy on the way too.
Route 4 - Red Route
This is an alternate route to the Blue Route and follows a simple miners track up the fell side and makes it a slightly longer route than no.3.This is the most gentle ascent from this side of the fell (other than from Honister Pass).
Route 5 - Brown Route
Starting at Honister Pass (which is over 330m above sea level anyway makes this route the easiest of all but a can become a little tricky with navigation if the cloud is down. The route heads in a genral south west direction through Honister Mines and over the east side of Fleetwith Pike to reach the top of Warnscale.
Route 6 - Yellow Route
This is the shortest ascent but has no car access. Black Sail Youth Hostel is accessible by foot only! The route follows the south side of Scarth Gap and approaches the summit from the western side. Black Sail is also several hundred metres above sea level making this a simple route requiring little effort to complete.
No Red Tape
When to Climb
Haystacks can be climbed all year round. Take note that a winter ascent should be done properly with ice axe and crampons as the crags can paths can be covered in ice several inches thick.
The nearest campsite is located just by the shores of Buttermere to the north west at Dalegarth with another in the village of Buttermere a mile or so further along to the north west.
Black Sail Youth Hostel is located just on the south side of the fell and owned by the YHA.