Date: 20th April 2009.
Map: Landranger 90
Weather: Hot – no wind, hazy on top – a glorious day around 20deg.
A circular walk from Seathwaite to
Copyright OS-Click on map to enlarge, then hit the back button to return to blog
I met up with Graham so early that the car park at the Trafford Centre was yet to open. So we dropped a car off in the employee section and made good time up to the
Looking towards our hills for the day
And looking back the other way
I am struggling to find a polarizing filter for my camera and didn’t realise when I bought it that it doesn’t fit any – but since then I bought a bigger size, but I still have to hold it in front of the lens, which is a real time consumer especially in bad weather. But I’m not a photographer so I don’t lose sleep over it – anyway on with the story. We drove on to Seathwaite and up a narrow lane to park up on the grass verges before the farm. There was plenty of room but it was rapidly filling up, and you would have to be early on a weekend or bank holiday. The first thing we saw today was a bunch of trainee surveyors from
We met this cheeky chappie early on
On the way to
The old bridge
I had chosen the easiest route up
Back down the valley to the start
Great End with
Lingmell from the MRT box, with the deep gash of Piers Gill
Up by the MRT stretcher box we could look across to our route by Piers Gill and tried to pick out a path that would not loose all the height we had gained to this point. We did have to drop down a little from Sty Head as opposed to turning left to go up to the corridor route, but our reward was fantastic views of the southern face of Great Gable. Every time we stopped and looked around on our way up, there it was in our face and I think we both ended up with numerous pictures of the same view. But our immediate view when contouring around the hill was down the U-shaped valley to Wasdale Head – it looked big and empty down there, with the only vegetation of sheep cropped grass. We came across a deep cut gulley of a side stream and named it the fireman’s leap after Graham jumped across. I took a picture that came out first time, but I couldn’t manage a shot mid leap, so I got him to go back and forth several times just for fun – got to get the energy out of these youngsters you know. We managed to clip off a good deal of drop down to the official path and stayed high up the slopes by following a couple of sheep trails around towards Piers Gill. As we reached Piers Gill it was easy to look along this big gash below Lingmell and today it looked dry as a bone due to the prolonged spell of dry weather we have had. It would have been possible to go up the Gill today but all of the guide books warn of the dangers of going up the Gill and I wouldn’t consider going up that way. There have been many people stranded and being rescued by the MRT – so don’t even think about it, just stay above and look down in wonder. Behind us Great Gable was flexing his muscles – fancy naming a mountain after an actor. I haven’t been up there yet, but we could see a couple of people descending the climbers traverse – it looked impossibly steep from where we were but I suppose it’s not so bad closer up and this is a route I’ll consider for later in good weather. My pictures continued to be wobbly and to this day I still don’t know why – doh.
The view down to Wasdale
Great Gable and some steep scree slopes
The same from further up the gill
From the bottom of Piers Gill it is a steady grind up the left hand side of the Gill to the top where it reaches the Corridor route. But just before the route swings south the path hits a metaphorical brick wall – there you are concentrating on your foot placement looking at the ground and all of a sudden you bump into the crag – you look up and the path just stops at the base of a 20 to 30ft scramble. People must get confused here, but some kind soul or different type of sole (depending on your point of view) has scribed an arrow at the base of the crag pointing skywards. But once we were up and over this hurdle the path up the side of the Gill was straightforward and easy to follow. Periodically we stopped to stare at Great Gable and down into the depths of Piers Gill – it really is quite a drop to the bottom, so be careful. I was glad to get up to the Corridor route path and the gradient eased a little before a final trek up to the summit. There are several well worn paths up to the top and others leading away from Scafell Pike so we made sure we were on the right one and didn’t waste energy going along the wrong route – easily done when you’re feeling a bit bushed.
Looking down Piers Gill from the corridor route
At the top with hazy views all around
Posing by the summit trig point
There were some good pieces of convoluted bedding to be seen on the way up and they provided little stops to stand and stare at the rocks beneath our feet. Obviously there were great views looking back down to our route today, back to Styhead and beyond and the higher we got the more we could see, but because of the bright light it was a little hazy. It wasn’t overly busy when we got up towards the summit, and we took time to go over and look down to Broad Stand and the routes up to Scafell including Lord’s Rake – an exciting little route up. But we were there to walk up to the top of
The view down over Great Moss
Looking back up to the summit cairn
Across to Lingmell, with Great Gable out back
Steeply down to the col above Little Narrowcove
We retraced our steps back across the boulder strewn summit area, passing some old stone shelters to get to the path down to the col between
The view back to
The changing view of Great Gable – note the two jets
Pike of Stickle on the left and Bowfell to the right
Once we passed the cross shelter it was up to Allen Crags, from where more views opened up over Angle Tarn and down Mickelden towards Old Dungheon Ghyll. Ahead of us lay Glaramara and the cruel false summit route. Every time we thought we were there another crest loomed ahead of us, to dash our hopes – I should have looked at the GPS a bit more. We passed by a couple of older gents, with one of them bemoaning the fact that his pal had told him it only took a couple of hours up here. He had two walking poles but he looked to be struggling and wanted a short cut. His mate who was presumably leading him was getting a bit peeved and started to ask out loud ‘where are we’. So I tried to show him on the map the way down to the shortest route, but he totally ignored me and carried on moaning – b*ll*cks to you then I thought and we carried on.
Glaramara beckons – a false summit hill
The end is nigh – looking down the side of Thornythwaite Fell
Castle Crag appears out of the haze
Looking back up to Glaramara
Just about to turn the corner to walk back to the car
At this stage we had to make a decision to cut short the ridge walk down or carry on down over Thornythwaite fell or cut down Hind Gill to Seathwaite. We chose to finish our walk in style and carry on down from Glaramara, and were awarded with great views down Borrowdale with Skiddaw in the far distance. Ahead of us was a man dressed all in white and we pondered if he was practising an extreme form of Morris dancing and he was making good progress down the fells before us. Castle Crag was prominent in my view, not a high fell but a very eye catching fell and well worth a visit. As we reached the side of the fell the path was steep down to the valley, and Glaramara towered over us when we looked back. But like all good walks we ended up back at the valley floor and had a couple of miles along a farm track to Seathwaite and the car park.
Squinting into the evening sun
And the farm track home
What a glorious day out which took us 8hrs at an average moving speed of 3.1mph – not bad for a walk with plenty of ascent of 4430ft. Parked next to us on the grassy verge was a caravanette, and as we clambered over a gate we were met with a wonderful aroma of penne pasta with sausages ....yum yum. It was mightily tempting to mug the youngsters of their tea but their Dad was looking on us suspiciously. So with thoughts of food, and water for Graham we set off back down the lane to the nearest shop. Good company, a good walk and great views made it all worthwhile.