Famously known as the favourite fell and last resting place of Alfred Wainwright, the ‘shaggy dog’ of Haystacks isn’t somewhere I’ve planned many serious landscape photography outings so far, and I’ve no idea why really.
I’ve been up it numerous times, just normally during the day as an easy little walk, pondering future shots but not really making any serious plans.
I guess it’s all too easy to be drawn by the bigger hills, but my outings on Beinn a’ Chrulaiste over the last few months have reinforced the principle that the best views of the most impressive mountains aren’t actually gained by standing on them.
However, come Saturday morning, with a weather forecast a little too perfect for the evening ahead, I figured swathes of cloud and histrionic light would be in short supply and so Haystacks came to mind when pondering somewhere simply pretty and peaceful to pitch the tent.
I set off late in the afternoon, hopping off the bus at Seatoller with a relatively short walk ahead of me, up Honister Pass and on to Fleetwith, then over Little Round How to Haystacks.
It is a popular little fell, but the top sprawls over a surprisingly large area, so there’s usually a quiet corner to sit and compose yourself.
I pitched the tent on a grassy alleyway amongst the heather and rock, and then set about capturing some late evening light, knowing that the clear blue sky really wasn’t going to be my friend.
After messing about with a quick couple of reflection shots I scrambled up a rocky knoll on the far side of Innominate Tarn, giving me a clear vantage point overlooking Ennerdale and Back Sail to Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The light was warming up as the sun sank, but nothing really interesting was happening.
Any dwindling interest was soon lost as the light bleached out, the sun fading behind high level cloud out to sea.
I wandered back to the tent to sort dinner, setting the alarm for something past 4 as I did so. Damn summer sunrise times. I eventually slept with the door open, enjoying the short blissful time of the year when the nights are mild and gentle, but free from an aerial infestation with insatiable bloodlust.
The sun dawned weak again the next morning, veiled as is so often the case by cloud over the Pennines.
I still managed to work away for an hour or so, mainly concentrating on the view over High Crag and Buttermere from the summit, before returning back to the tent for a second pre – breakfast doze, happy with a very pleasant one night escape.