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Cawfell,Haycock & the Nether Wasdale Common circuit.

Cawfell,Haycock & the Nether Wasdale Common circuit.

Postby Morecambe Monkey » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:10 am

Wainwrights included on this walk: Buckbarrow, Caw Fell, Haycock, Middle Fell, Seatallan

Hewitts included on this walk: Haycock, Seatallan

Date walked: 20/10/2010

Distance: 18.8 km

Ascent: 1367m

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After seeing a posting on the Walkhighlands Facebook page asking for walk reports on a few remaining Wainwrights,i decided to submit one for my (so far) only visit to Cawfell. There is no easy way of including this flat,featureless summit into a walk really,it mostly seems to been done as part of the rather gruelling 26 mile Ennerdale Horseshoe,but as it was getting towards late October,this route wasn't really an option due to it's length verses the shorter daylight hours.At this time i was on a mission to complete my Wainwrights & there were 3 others to do 'nearby',namely Seatallan,Middle Fell & Buckbarrow so the decision was made to tag Cawfell onto this walk.
Wasdale is my favourite area of The Lake District.but it is also probably the longest & most awkward drive from my house so an early(ish) set off was had & after just short of 2 hours driving i was parking in the small grassy space next to the buildings at Greendale,which is on the road between Wastwater & Gosforth.
It was a fine & sunny day with clear blue skies-perfect walking conditions-as i set off up the very obvious path through the bracken towards Middle Fell,using the route described in Bill Birkett's The Complete Lakeland fells book. As is usually the case in this area,it was a steep pull up the path towards Middle Fell & it took considerably longer than i had anticipated,the summit just didn't seem to be getting any nearer! Finally the cairn was reached & i met a couple of walkers who had been in front of me the whole way up. We exchanged greetings & then chatted about how beautiful the views were etc,they were to be the first & only people i would see on the fells that day. The views from Middle fell are quite stunning with the Scafells being the obvious & most dramatic draw,i think this is possibly the best view you can get of the two highest mountains in England. It always amuses me that pretty much from wherever you view these two summits,Scafell aways seems to be quite a lot bigger than Scafell Pike even though it's a whole 46 ft/14m less!
Lingmell & The Scafells across Wastwater from Middle Fell.
Middle Fell summit with L-R Kirk Fell,Great Gable,Lingmell,Scafell Pike & Scafell behind.

A straightforward descent initially N then NW from Middle Fell was taken towards the col containing Greendale tarn,i resisted the temptation to visit this nice looking stretch of water as there was still a long way to go yet,then headed straight up the direct route towards Seatallan & by now the old heart & lungs were having a good work out,wow that was steep! Once the summit plateau was reached,it was a simple stroll over towards the trig point & cairn/shelter which according to Birkett's guide sits on the site of an ancient Tumulus. Again the views were superb,Scafells to the E,Kirk Fell & Great Gable to the NE & directly N were the next fells on the list,Haycock & to it's W,Cawfell. There was also a great view out W towards the Cumbrian Coast,the Irish Sea & unfortunately the blot on the landscape known as Sellafield.
Seatallan summit towards Great Gable & The Scafells(Again!)
Seatallan Trig & Tumulus towards Sellafield & the Cumbrian Coast.
The Scafells,seperated by Mickledore seen from the shelter/Tumulus on Seatallan.

Heading N i dropped down the steep nose of Seatallan-where the previous night's frost was still evident-and continued on to the flat area between Seatallan & Haycock known as the Pots of Ashness. As you would expect,it was quite wet underfoot but easily negotiated with a bit of care & soon i was at the foot of Haycock,now to decide on an ascent route as there was no obvious path. Picked a way up past some rather large boulders & made a (yet again) steep climb,this time directly to the summit of Haycock which i was pleased to find was virtually directly in my line of ascent.
The Scafells again,this time from the ascent to Haycock.
Looking along the Ennerdale fence on Haycock to Steeple & Scoat fell with Pillar peeping over the top.

From Haycock it's a rocky descent W alongside the Ennerdale Fence(which is actually a wall) firstly to the rocky lump of Little Gowder Crag & then on to the quite unimpressive summit of Cawfell. Maybe i'm being unfair about Cawfell as the views are great,but the summit is just a flat,featureless area marked by a cairn & it's not particularly easy to gauge where the highest point actually is.
Cawfell summit.

Returning along the wall(fence!?!) to Little Gowder Crag,i found a faint track skirting around the SW side of Haycock & then simply picked my way back down to the Pots of Ashness before climbing the N side of Seatallan for a 2nd visit of the day. Two visits in one day & still no sign of Joss Naylor,must have been his day off! :lol:
Leaving Seatallan for a 2nd & final time,i took the grassy SW shoulder down to the substantial cairn at a point called Cat Bields. Here the path swings to the left(SE) leading to the Birkett top of Glade How & then the slightly lower Wainwright top of Buckbarrow. Buckbarrow has a quite impressively steep S face,which also makes for an impossible descent route. Followed a path to the E side of the hill as i had planned to descend to Greendale gill & follow this back down to the road to cut out extra road walking,but this was scuppered by yet more steep crags & after some considerable faffing about trying to find a suitable & safe route down that way,i gave up & returned on the path to the E to find the way down alongside Gill Beck as described in Bill Birkett's guide. Initially there was an obvious path down towards the Beck until an area of prickly bushes was reached(Hawthorn or Gorse i cannot remember,just that they were prickly & in the way!) This lead to a certain amount of Gill hopping to avoid them,not what you need at the end of a long tiring day out really :shock:
Eventually a path was found & the road was finally reached for that horrible tarmac slog back to the car i'd been so keen to avoid. This slight annoyance aside,it was a cracking day out in some lovely Autumn sunshine. And of course 4 more knocked off my list of Wainwrights to boot! 8)
Last edited by Morecambe Monkey on Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Morecambe Monkey
Posts: 607
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Location: Lancashire

Re: Cawfell,Haycock & the Nether Wasdale Common circuit.

Postby ChrisW » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:47 am

Great report MM, (though it took you long enough to write it :wink: :lol: ) some lovely photos but the one looking along the Ennerdale fence on Haycock to Steeple & Scoat fell with Pillar peeping over the top is a thing of beauty, what a lovely hike (with the exception of the damn tarmac) :D
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