Trip Report – Honister Hause 23rd/24th July

Looking down at Buttermere & Cummock Water

A  round trip totalling 13.6 kms starting at the National Trust car park outside the YHA at Honister Hause.  The route covered

Honister Hause to Haystacks dropping down to Scarth Gap, past Black Sail Hut, up Kirk Fell,  Great Gable , down to Windy Gap, Green Gable, Brandreth, Grey Knotts and back to the car park at Honister Hause.

Friday 23rd

I arrived at the car park at around 7pm on a lovely sunny evening- only a couple of cars left in the car park.  Locked up and headed up past the slate mine museum and took the path left up the hill past the quarry towards Haystacks, bearing left past the Mountain Rescue hut where there were two rescue vehicles parked up.

I dropped down and crossed Warnscale Beck before a gradual climb to the edge of Blackbeck Tarn. Pausing for  awhile to glimpse the fading sun, I then moved on  past Innominate Tarn and after a short climb was on top of Haystacks with a great view down to Buttermere and Cummock Water. I managed to find a mobile signal ( Vodafone) by wandering around the top a bit and called Mary to say that I had arrived at Haystacks OK.  Deciding to avoid the problem of being practically blown off a summit on my last trip, I decided to camp back down near to Innominate Tarn, even though there was hardly a breeze ( that’s how it started on my last trip).  I found a sheltered spot, quickly pitched my Vaude Power Lizard – all of 5 minutes and sorted out dinner.

It was a still , beautiful evening and I had not seen anyone since leaving the car. As the light faded, the moon rose over Great Gable – a great end to the day.

Moon rising over Great Gable

Had a hot drink before retiring and tried to settle down for the night.  I always have a bit of trouble sleeping out of my own bed for some reason whether it’s a tent, our motor home or the endless nights spent away in hotel rooms on business. I not sure why but it usually takes me a few days away from my bed to sort myself out – unfamiliar surroundings I suppose !!

Saturday 24th

I awoke around six in the morning – quick look out of the tent, and unfortunately it was overcast – it was forecast so I wasn’t that surprised, but after the beautiful day before it was disappointing not to wake up to brilliant sunshine.   This is the Lakes, so not too many sunny days strung together.   I tried to fire up my Pocket Rocket stove, but no gas coming out of the canister – obviously low on gas, I had put the canister inside the bottom of my sleeping bag during the night to keep it warm – but the result was no hot drink this morning.  (Subsequently , I lit the stove back at home no problem). Can it be that the difference is the altitude ?  Home  is 28 metres above sea level – camp 560 metres.  I would like to know – can anyone help ?

After breakfast, I pack up quickly and I was back up on the top of Haystacks by 7.00 am.  At the top I met an old boy who said he was 80 years old and had been walking the lakes for over 60 years.  I said he was out early and he replied that he had left his home at Kendal at 2 in the morning and had been walking since 4 am – with a smile he told me that his wife probably didn’t know he was out – he had not bother to tell he was going out walking !  We had brief conversation about which routes in the area was our favorites and we both agreed that you only go down the path at Dore Head to Mosedale once – as the path was down to the ‘bare bones’ and not a very pleasant experience.  I said goodbye and took the steep path that dropped down to Scarth Gap.  On reaching the gap, the sun poked out it’s head and I took the opportunity to fill my Travel Tap bottle up in the little beck running down beside me.

Looking down Scarth Gap Pass

I made my way down Scarth Gap Pass to Ennerdale Forest and then onto Black Sail YHA as the sky brighten up and out popped the sun for a few minutes at a time.  A couple of people were getting ready to leave the hut as I walked past but it didn’t look that busy – I understood you have to book months in advance to stay here.

Black Sail YHA

On leaving Black Sail Hut I continued to the end of the forest -( hardly a forest now as most of the trees are young ).  Crossed the River Liza by the foot bridge and headed up hill on the path next to Sail Beck towards Kirk Fell winding my way up to the top of Black Sail Pass.

Kirk Fell

By the time I got to the top of Black Sail Pass – it was heavy drizzle and the tops of the surrounding fells were completely shrouded by low cloud.  Quick chat with a couple of guys just emerging from their TN Quasar tent  and headed up into the gloom, pausing for a quick refreshment and snack.  By this stage the view below had completely disappeared.

I made my way steeply up a rake which now was very slippery with rain and emerged near to the top and made my way following my Garmin GPS to the top of Kirk Fell.  Visibility now down to 2-3 metres.

Slippery all the way up !!

By this stage it was pretty pointless taking any more photos, so I moved on – pass Kirkfell  and Beckhead Tarns where somewhere in gloom came voices and eventually I came across a group of young lads backpacking with the typical enormous backpacks that seems to be the norm for people of this age group.  May be with age comes the realisation that you can easily walk with half the weight and size of backpack !!

Headed up Great Gable – still in the gloom, I  met a guy coming down wearing the same pack as me –  the OMM Jirishanca. He stopped me and asked about the Trio Pouch attached and how was it and oh that looks easy to fit on. He said ” I’ll get one of those” and the bounded off down the mountain.   I reached the top of Great Gable and followed a bearing off the top downwards to Windy Gap and eventually emerged from the clouds with a view down Aaron  Slack to Styhead Tarn

Styhead Tarn

I climbed steeply up to Green Gable and shortly afterwards turn left  and headed towards Brandreth and continued over Grey Knotts.  It was around 11.30 am by this stage and large numbers of people were making their way up from Honister.  The weather closed in and it started to rain heavily.   As I was relatively close to the car by this stage I didn’t bother putting on my Montane over trousers and made my way down the increasingly slippery path back to the car park.   All in all a great little trip only spoilt by losing the views over Kirk Fell and Great Gable.

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13 Responses to Trip Report – Honister Hause 23rd/24th July

  1. GeoffC says:

    Welcome to blogland.
    The Lakes is one region I avoid in the summer months (Haystacks even more so!), loads of people even in bad weather. Most backpackers I see have pretty big packs, but I agree the young DOE types are the most striking, some of the 5ft. girls carry real monsters nearly as big as they are.
    I’ve never had any problems with gas canisters, even when they get down to around 10% full, and I only take them in winter (I always warm them in the sleeping bag as you did). I use a Coleman F1. Surely altitude can’t have a noticeable effect here?.

    • Hi Geoff – Thanks for your comments and sorry for the delay in responding. Away for two weeks travelling in North Wales. (no mobile signal yesterday) I hope to get some walking in. Day walks only as I am with the family.
      What canister are you using with the Colman F1 ? I read that certain mixtures are better in lower temperatures and with small amount of gas left in .
      By the way – always much admired your website and have often used your routes for the basis of walks.
      All the best

  2. GeoffC says:

    I use whatever canisters they have in Cotswold at the time. The ones in the cupboard at the moment from last winter are labelled ‘GoSystem Gas Powersource’ and ‘Primus Gas Power’, a mixture of 100g and 250g sizes.
    Thank you for remarks on the site – not many routes getting added of late!.

    • I think it must be the Pocket Rocket then – as I do seem to have problems with MSR canistesr when cold and/or low on gas. Helps keeping them in the bag overnight – perhaps I should look at the Colman F1. Are you still having problems Plantar Faciitus ? My wife had problems with that – very painful – particularly in the morning – cured with custom made orthotics.


  3. Adrian De Ath says:

    Hi Mark
    Looks like you’re having a good old walk. We’re out in Montenegro at the mo and I’m going to attempt a 1700 m climb tomorrow. trouble is it’s 30 degrees by midday so we’ll see how far we get!!
    Speak soon

    • Hi Adey – Good luck on the climb tomorrow. It won’t be 30 degrees here tomorrow. – Unless you are thinking 30F !! I hope to get some walking in when we get to Snowdonia.

  4. GeoffC says:

    “…Are you still having problems Plantar Faciitus ? My wife had problems with that – very painful – particularly in the morning – cured with custom made orthotics…”

    Not any more, it very suddenly improved one day and was gone within a few more, thank goodness. I used custom orthotics for many years until my feet changed and they didn’t fit, I’m using off-the-shelf ones now and they seem fine. I still continue the prescribed exercises.

  5. Martin Rye says:

    Hi Mark found your blog from the Outdoor Bloggers forum. Great report and keep blogging and sharing your walks and kit views. I love the Lakes for backpacking. See it as the perfect place to hone my kit and skills for Scotland.

    • Martin thanks for logging on to my blog. Early days and I will try and keep posting. Away on family holiday in North Wales at present. I will get some day walks in. Yesterday I did Cadair Idris, Craig Cwm Amarch and Mynydd Moel. Moved up to Beddgelert area today and I looking to do some walking in Snowdonia -so I will post up these trips.
      P.S. I going to have a look at your blog now.

  6. karl says:

    Hi Mark, Just found your blog. I love the Lakes and wildcamping so will be following your adventures. Re-your prob with the Pocket Rocket. I have found the same thing ie not lighting when there is gas in the canister. I found that although i had screwed the canister on fully i could just get another fraction of a turn and the gas would flow.
    Best of luck,

    • Karl – thanks for your thoughts on the Pocket Rocket. I will give this a go as I cannot work out what the problem is !! I will let you know if it works. Had a quick look at your site – some great photos. Incidentally I was in Wasdale on 12/13th with family. We are touring in our motor home and I have been doing some day walks in North Wales and the Lake District. No wild camping but luxury this time.


      • Mike R says:

        I think it was me you met with the Jirishanca. I had just slept out in my MSR Hubba HP near Styhead Tarn (as far away as I could get from the other 15 tents) and then scrambled up ‘threading the (Napes) needle’ and Sphinx Ridge just before the cloud closed in.
        I had just bought a Trio pouch the week before and was interested to see how you connected the bottom attachment points. After I saw you I went onto the Boat How path behind Kirk Fell followed by the High Level Traverse Path onto Pillar. By that time it had started to rain heavily and it did not stop for the rest of of the day. I took the decision to head down from Wind Gap to Mosedale Beck (glad I was not trying go up that scree slope as it would have been exhausting) and ended up pitching in the little field near to the Wasdale Head Inn at which I spent a few pleasant hours before retiring to my tent.
        I have used an Optimus Crux that has played up on a few occasions. If it does play up you have to leave it a few minutes before it will get going again and I always disconnect it from the gas when not in use in case leaving it connected puts strain on the seals. At the moment in the summer I have been messing around with a Trangia burner and Evernew DX stand.

      • It’s a small world Mike – sorry I probably slightly misquoted you on the post – I thought you were looking to get one. Hope it is working well. I just put up a review on it today. Thanks for comments on the stove. I may look at meths again. Last time I used one of those was in my scouting days 30 years ago.

        Hope to bump into you again in the hills

        All the best

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