Saturday, 1 July 2000

Hay Stacks

Hay Stack with its winter jacket on
Height: 597m (1,959ft)
Prominence: 78m (256ft)
Region: Western Fells
Classifications: Dewey, Wainwright, Birkett
Summit feature: Cairn
Times climbed: 2
Related trip reports:
The Buttermere Horseshoe - 08/04/2017
The Buttermere Ridge - 20/04/2014
The summit cairn looking towards Great Gable
What Wainwright said:

"Haystacks stands unabashed and unashamed in the midst of a circle of much loftier fells, but not one of them can show a greater variety and a more fascinating arrangement of interesting features. Here are sharp peaks, tarns with islands, crags, screes, rocks for climbing and rocks not for climbing, heather tracts, marshes, tarns with streams and tarns with no streams."

Hay Stacks is situated at the southeastern end of the Buttermere Valley and is one of the most popular fells in the area, mainly due to the writings of Wainwright, who chose it as the place where he wanted his ashes scattered. Its name derives from the appearance of the summit cliffs. According to Wainwright, the is from the Icelandic 'stack' meaning 'a columnar rock' and the correct translation of this should be 'High Rocks'.

Although lower than mountains surrounding it, Hay Stacks provides the connection between the Great Gable group and the northern branch of Buttermere. Immediately to the south-east are Brandreth, Green Gable and Great Gable, forming the head of Ennerdale.

The summit sits on a short rocky ridge with both ends topped by cairns. The cairn at the northern end is the accepted summit. In addition to this, the summit is full of interest and contains a number of attractive rock formations and tarns including Innominate Tarn where Wainwright's ashes were scattered by his wife Betty.