Haystacks & Rannerdale Walking Weekend
A memorable Lake District walking weekend from picturesque Buttermere, featuring guided walks on Haystacks and Rannerdale.
“Haystacks stands unabashed and unashamed in the midst of a circle of much loftier fells, like a shaggy terrier in the company of foxhounds, some of them known internationally, but not one of this distinguished group of mountains around Ennerdale and Buttermere can show a greater variety and a more fascinating arrangement of interesting features.” Alfred Wainwright
Haystacks appears to have it all – sharp peaks, hidden tarns, crags, walking trails, heather tracts, lake views, and all within the backdrop of a stunning Lakeland scenery. It was Wainwrights most favourite of Lake District fells, so much so that it was his wish to have is ashes scattered on Haystacks.
The base for the weekend is the small village of Buttermere, the perfect place to start the Haystacks guided since it enables us to take in the scenic lake of Buttermere and enjoy a gradual ascent of Haystacks, and on Sundays walk, an opportunity to get out into the lower hills of Rannerdale, famous for its display of Bluebells at this time of year, and also take in the shores of Crummock Water.
- Walking on Haystacks, Alfred Wainwrights favourite Lake District fell
- Views across two fine lakes of Buttermere & Crummock Water
- Bluebells at Rannerdale
- Stunning scenery
Accommodation for this tour is not included. For accommodation information and all essential tour information please click on the ‘Trip Notes’ tab.
Friday – (Optional) Welcome Evening
Friday Welcome Evening (optional) is 8.30pm in Buttermere village where there are two local inns. It’s a chance for everyone on the weekend to meet and the Country Adventures tour leader will be on hand to answer any questions about the planned walks. If you’re unable to make it to the Welcome Evening, the booking confirmation will detail everything you need to know about the weekend.
Saturday - Walk Day
Grade 3 walk – Haystacks 8 miles (12.8km), with 2380 ft (725m) of ascent
Starting out in the morning from Buttermere village, we soon reach the lake of Buttermere with its stunning views of the surrounding mountain landscape. The route continues beside the lake along a forest trail and then out into the open as we begin the ascent up to Haystacks with even better mountain views. The footpath before the final reach for the summit requires some limited hand holds to pull yourself up to the top but it’s not scrambling and the route is well defined. The top of Haystacks reveals a well-known hidden tarn and an ideal lunch stop in a mountain wilderness.
The descent is gradual along a good footpath with spectacular views down the Buttermere valley before reaching the lake of Buttermere as we follow a very scenic trail round the opposite side of the lake, finishing back in Buttermere village.
In the evening, an optional social evening is planned in Buttermere, where the group can meet up for a drink and enjoy an evening meal together.
Sunday - Walk Day & Departure Day
Grade 2 walk – Rannerdale 7 miles (11.2km), with 1181 ft (360m) of ascent
A scenic walk from Buttermere village out onto Rannerdale, renowned for one of the finest areas to see Bluebells on display. Minor ascents take us into a grassy area and a good walkers trail with fine views of the surrounding mountains as we descend gently down towards the idyllic lake of Crummock Water. Continuing along the shore of Crummock Water, the trail leads to a footbridge that ultimately marks the separation of Crummock Water from the lake of Buttermere.
The walk, and weekend, will finish in Buttermere village between 3-4pm
Accommodation is not included as part of this tour. If you require help with booking accommodation you may find the following links useful:
YHA Buttermere budget accommodation in Buttermere village with a reputation for good food
Bridge Hotel hotel accommodation in Buttermere village
Booking.com search for accommodation in Buttermere, Cumbria
We recommend booking accommodation in, or near to, Buttermere for easy reach to the meeting point for both the walks and social evenings.
Food & Drink
For the walk(s) please bring with you a packed lunch and refreshments. Occasionally on some guided walks (Grade 1 to 2 walks) we may pass a country inn or tea room where if we have time we can call in, however having a packed lunch with you gives the group the freedom to have lunch wherever we are on the walking route.
On Saturday evening, an optional social evening in Buttermere village is organised by Country Adventures, where the group can meet up for a drink and enjoy an evening meal together.
For guided walking tours that require transport from the meeting point to the start of the walk, we use a minibus or where necessary local transport. There is no extra charge for this, it is included in the tour price.
Our walks are by no means designed to be endurance tests where everyone sets off at a blistering pace. Far from it, it’s about a fine day in the hills in good company enjoying the best of fell walking with exceptional views but it is important to state that for everyone’s walking enjoyment walking does require a minimum level of fitness and stamina. Hill / Mountain walking experience is not essential as long as you have a reasonable level of fitness. For the higher level graded walks (i.e. Challenging Grade) it is advisable that you are someone who enjoys regular cardio exercise or have experience of mountain walking and have the stamina/ leg strength in order to be better prepared for longer sections of uphill & downhill walking associated with higher mountain treks.
Walking Grades Explained
Grade 1 (Leisurely) Normally 5-8 miles, may include gentle ascents and descents of up to a total 1100ft of ascent and similar descent over a day’s walk. Easier scenic walking at lower altitudes along paths and tracks.
Grade 2 (Moderate) Normally 6-10 miles on paths and tracks, between 800ft – 1700ft of total ascent and similar descent. Longer walks, on hills and moorland.
Grade 3 (Moderate Mountain) Normally ranging from 6-10 miles, between 1700ft – 2600ft of ascent, similar descent. Longer walks, over higher ground with possibly steeper ups and downs on paths and tracks.
Grade 4 (Challenging) Normally ranging from 8-13 miles, between 1500ft – 3000+ft of ascent, similar descent, over undulating mountain terrain, walking at higher levels with steep ups and downs. Suitable for people with a good level of fitness.
What you need to bring with you for the walks
- Good, comfortable walking boots with a cleated sole and good ankle support are essential.
- Waterproof jacket and over-trousers.
- Warm, dry walking clothing. Unsuitable clothing includes Jeans or cotton tracksuit bottoms and cotton t-shirts (cotton is a poor insulating fabric and when wet it takes a long time to dry, which can lead to a rapid loss of body heat as well as being uncomfortable).
- A number of thin layers are better than one thick/ heavy jumper. We suggest a fleece for extra warmth especially when we stop on the hills for lunch.
- Hat and gloves (even in summer – any wind chill on the mountain tops will lead to cooler temperatures).
- Sunglasses, sun cream.
- Hot or cold drinks (i.e. a minimum of 2 litres of water).
- Plenty of food and drink for lunch and snacks.
- A rucksack large enough to carry it all in (20-30 litres), ideally with a waterproof liner.
- Any medication you need.
- Thermos flask. We recommend bringing warm drinks with you, as even on sunny days it can occasionally feel cooler, especially on the summits of the higher-level mountain walks.
- Walking poles (if you use them).
We want you to enjoy your time with Country Adventures and have the best possible adventure experience. Please be aware that if any participants are not properly equipped for the walk (i.e. with walking boots and waterproofs), at the guide’s discretion we reserve the right to not allow them on the walk for reasons of safety for both the individual and the group. If you need clarification any of the equipment requirements, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Tour Schedule & Activity Meeting Times
Please ensure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the meeting point at the required time. The walks will leave promptly at the stated time and due to the nature of scheduled tours, we are unable to provide refunds if unfortunately, you miss the departure time.
Please meet outside The Bridge Inn, Butttermere, at 9.45am for the start of each days walk.
Address: The Bridge Hotel, B5289 Buttermere, Cumbria, CA13 9UZ