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Blowing hot and cold on some Southern Fells.
by trailmasher » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:00 pm
Wainwrights included on this walk: Great End, Seathwaite Fell
Hewitts included on this walk: Great End, Seathwaite Fell
Date walked: 28/09/2017
Time taken: 4.2
Distance: 14.29 km
Ascent: 902m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
From the beginning of the week I knew that Thursday - today - was going to be a quiet one for me so I resolved to make the best of it and get out on the hills instead of the garden but couldn't decide where to go. I eventually chose to do these two fells as I hadn't been up them for quite some time and I felt that a revisit and a reminder of what they were like was well over due.
I arrived at Seathwaite at around 9:20am and managed to get one of the last free parking spots whilst others behind me had to pay the newly introduced fee of £3 for the pleasure of parking on one of the fields near the farm, a fee that I would have gladly paid if required solely for the pleasure of being on these magnificent fells that surround this beautiful and rugged sided valley. It was a cool 10°c with glorious sunshine, cool only because of the chill in the breeze but it was a pleasant day to be out and about and looking south along the valley I could only hope that the clouds covering the fells would lift before too long. Despite it being a Thursday and the low cloud cover the popularity of these fells could be told by the number of cars that were parked up whilst the good number of tents in the fields didn't go unnoticed either.
My first view of the fells from the car was of Sourmilk Gill and Base Brown clothed in sunlight and after the previous nights rain the gill was in full flow living up to its name as it tumbled over the contrasting steep, black slabs of rock.
Sourmilk Gill and Base Brown
And this was my second one as I made my way from the farm towards Stockley Bridge.
Cloud covered hills from Seathwaite
My original plan was to get to Great End first and then exit by way of Seathwaite Fell but on my way up to Stockley Bridge I changed my mind and elected to go for the harder though shorter option of climbing the steep, rough and narrow path that runs up alongside the Styhead Gill feeder beck that climbs south up the north side and is just to the west of Aaron Crags leaving the regular path at approximately NY22768 10655.
My next view of a waterfall was of Taylorgill Force in full flow with Seathwaite Fells north facing Aaron Crags also in full view.
Taylorgill Force and Aaron Crags
A few minutes on and I was near Stockley Bridge and the scene of very low cloud hanging over the ridge of Glaramara whilst over to the west there was good areas of blue showing through the clouds.
Looking towards Stockley Bridge and Grains Gill
Passing across the bridge I took the path that is rocky in its lower parts and paved as it gets a little steeper up to Greenhow Knott where the large 1,000 foot altitude boulder sits, and although the boulder is now unmarked at one time, and not so long ago, the 1,000 was marked in white paint and easily seen as you arrived at the top of the pitched stone section of path.
I stopped below Black Waugh to look back and take a photo of a scene of great beauty.
A view back to Seathwaite
Leaving the boulder behind I was soon at the point where I would start the steep climb up the fellside along a path that is both narrow and greasy, especially today after the night's rain. There were four other walkers climbing up the fell but on the wrong side of the watercourse - east - struggling on the steep and rough ground but when they saw the progress that I was making they moved across after I had made them aware of the path and having to cross the slippery rocks that line the bottom and sides of the watercourse. I made steady progress up the fell and stopped for a look back just at the point where the path gets a bit rockier.
The view northeast over Borrowdale from the north face of Seathwaite Fell
Just after the path gets a bit rougher is where it bends around clockwise before reaching easier slopes from where the 601 metre high summit of Seathwaite Fell is easily reached. This summit sitting above Aaron Crags is comprised of a long and low up thrust of rock with a small cairn perched atop it and from where the views are excellent to say the least especially to the north where a good variety of Lakelands mountains can be seen. to the west there is Base Brown, Green Gable and Great Gable…
The two Gables from Seathwaite Fell
and looking south across Seathwaite Fell there is Great End, Lingmell and Scafell Pike with the clouds breaking up nicely from their tops.
Great End-Scafell Pike-Lingmell behind Great Slack
It was gloriously warm on the fell with the blue sky reflecting in the many small tarns that are scattered about this undulating fell. It is big and grassy with many interesting paths leading all over the place threading between and sometimes over any of the many hillocks that are the makeup of this fell. Some of the small hills are grass covered whilst others have a top hat of rock the highest of which is Great Slack and at 632 metres is 30 metres higher than Wainwright's official Seathwaite Fell. In any event whichever one chooses for the summit wouldn't be wrong. There are other rocky tops that are also adorned with cairns but they were left to themselves today as I had other places to go.
Looking back to Seathwaite Fell summit above Aaron Crags
It's an easy walk across to Great Slack although the fell top can be fairly wet in places at all times of the year but it was a pleasant stroll over as I meandered around steadily climbing on the grassy paths to reach the next summit from where the Gables are right in your face and a hint of the Wasdale Fells are now showing behind the huge shoulder of Great Gable.
Great Gable and Green Gable from Great Slack summit
Lingmell, Yewbarrow, the top of Seatallan and Red Pike are all in view.
Lingmell with Yewbarrow to the right above Wasdale
Over to the east there is the long and massive craggy sided Glaramara with its lumpy top looking like the rough of a lizard's back.
Glaramara from Great Slack
As I walked away from Great Slack the once open scene in front of me is becoming more dominant by the gully scarred face of Great End all running down from its great rounded top. It's an awesome sight as it is weighed up and studied from a distance and upon reaching one of the larger of the unnamed tarns that shone like silver and had only the large leaves left floating on its surface these being the remnants of the flowers that would have added a splash of colour to the otherwise greens, blacks and browns of the surrounding fell.
Great End behind an unnamed tarn on Seathwaite Fell
From this tarn it is but a short walk to Sprinkling Tarn where I had decided to take a break for a few minutes before I started the long plod up to Great End. When I arrived at the tarn I was met with the seas of the Caribbean, the water was a startling blue and obviously a reflection from the sky and although I have passed this way many times in the past I have never, ever seen it dressed like this before. It looked amazing.
Sprinkling Tarn with Glaramara in the background
I felt blessed with having this scene before me as I refuelled so lingered longer than I normally would do when stopping for a break.
Sprinkling Tarn in front of Seathwaite Fell
Well it got time to move so started the climb up from the tarn and making my way to Esk Hause and as I climbed out of the hollow below Great End the views opened up once again with many of the surrounding mountains coming into view the closest being Esk Pike and Allen Crags.
Continuing on through Calf Cove Ill Crag, Broad Crag, and Scafell Pike soon came into view but I tarried not as I continued on to the summit of Great End from where magnificent views abound.
Looking north over Seathwaite Fell and Glaramara from Great End
East to the Langdales-Esk Pike and Bow Fell
Lingmell-Piers Gill-Wasdale Fells
Ill Crag with Broad Crag and Scafell Pike under cloud
I had a good wander around the top and worked my way down to the lower slopes overlooking the west side from where I could see Round How, Middleboot Knotts, Lingmell of course and away across to Great Gable and others. I sat at the summit cairn for a while talking to a fellow walker and now that I had stopped moving the cool breeze at this height was very noticeable causing the both of us not to linger for long with him heading for Wasdale and myself back to Seathwaite.
I had decided that once I had arrived at the foot of Allen Crags…
Allen Crags from the cross shelter
The east face of Great End
I would follow a faint path that I had seen from the top of Great End, a path that would take me in a northerly direction and then meet up with the path that runs alongside Ruddy Gill at a point just below Sprinkling Crags at roughly NY23304 09359.
The path isn't shown on the OS Map but I picked it up easy enough from the main drag below Allen Crags from where it was easy to follow until I got to just above an unnamed watercourse that feeds Ruddy Gill from where it was very faint on the ground.
Looking along Grains Gill towards Seathwaite
It was easy walking over grass and I felt as though the path should go to the right over the head of the watercourse but I couldn't find it so I decided to clamber down the gully instead, just for a bit of excitement. It was quite slippery in there with plenty of wet rocks and moss and at one point I had to climb back up the bank to get past a quite high vertical rock face.
Seathwaite and Borrowdale from a Ruddy Gill feeder
After the long step the going was much better although I did sink halfway up my left leg at one point when some grass covered moss gave way under me but all in all it was a decent way to go.
Making my way down the Ruddy Gill feeder watercourse
Once That I was out of the gully it was easy walking again over grass and I once again picked up the lost path as it followed the line of a long and low curved grassy ridge…
The old path runs down the nearest long ridge front of picture
that went almost all the way down to the main path alongside the gill, all I had to do now was make my way along the good paths back to Seathwaite after a great day out in the hills.
A lovely sunny day with plenty of people out on the fells although well spread out so it didn't feel claustrophobic and over run with walkers. The temperature was a mean 21°c when I got back to the car so it's been warm walking with the cool breeze being a welcome addition for comfort.
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