~A Great Walk~
9th April 2011
I planned a walk to include an ascent of Great End to the summit which I've visited twice previously, but only as a detour on the way off the Scafell Range. How could we make a day of it and do something other than the expected high-level up and down march to England's highest mountain? David Hall and Neil Haslewood joined me and we bumped into an eminent Lakeland cartographer!
Scroll down for photos and a description of the walk....
Facilities at Seathwaite
We met for a 07:30 start and despite me only having a mile or so to travel, I was last on the scene. Seathwaite campsite has been renowned for having limited facilities, but a bath is a welcome addition for tired legs. A little privacy would be appreciated.
We intend to walk up the usual path to Styhead Tarn and maybe we'll include Seathwaite Fell at some point. Sunlight just brightening the higher reaches of the fell.
The footpath on the right will have to be re-routed one day. The eroding morraine is unstable and the cove nearer to the camera is also growing. I hope good money is not wasted trying to hold back the forces of nature, let's just move the footpath.
Base Brown is another fell on our list for today, are you beginning to work out our route?
Great End and Styhead Tarn
The Stretcher Box
I have always wondered if there is actually a stretcher in the box.
We reached this point and then picked a route to take us up to the top of The Band, not quite a route you'll see on the maps.
The lumps and bumps that make up Seathwaite Fell top are clear to see.
You could have a picnic up here and what a view! Soon enough the gradient eased and our first 2,500ft of ascent (approx) was achieved.
The Three Summiteers
Having seen next to nobody so far, imagine our dismay to hit the top at exactly the same time as three chaps from a different direction. Anyway they didn't linger and kindly took this photo of our group.
Ill Crag, Scafell Pike and Broad Crag from Great End Summit
Two minutes later we were on our way back to Sprinkling Tarn, picking up the Esk Hause path.
We took the short cut, avoiding the shelter at Esk Hause and decided to include Seathwaite Fell on our round.
The Band from Sprinkling Tarn
Shattered Crag, Seathwaite Fell
Seathwaite Fell Summit
David gets a shot at Great Gable behind the cairn. The summit as defined in Wainwright's Book Four is not the highest point on the fell, that's some distance further to the south.
Seathwaite Fell Crags
This short valley is on the South-West corner of the fell and the next photo shows the broken rockface with all the debris littered around the foot of the crag.
The plan is to revisit Styhead and then climb Great Gable, crossing the watershed and the boundary between the Southern and Western Fells as defined by Wainwright.
Most of the water entering Styhead Tarn comes from Sprinkling Tarn and you can see the expanding delta on the northern (right) edge. We are on our way up the steep and almost fully repaired path to the summit. The damage to the original path was down to clumsy, bad walkers; we are good walkers and place our feet carefully, Mr.W.
Great Gable Summit
Ummm, some folk questioned my proposals in "Crowded Hause" - loiterers need to get in and get out quickly, let's all have the chance of a good photo of this big favourite of many.
Looking across the rocky summit area of Great Gable, you can see Kirk Fell (flat top) and Pillar is in the centre behind KF.
"Red" Gable from Great Gable
The plan is to descend to Windy Gap and then up to Green Gable summit.
Green Gable Summit & Ennerdale
Next up is Base Brown, we are aware of fellwalker Peter Burgess approaching from Seathwaite, so we will walk to BB's top and then back to walk down Gillercombe.
Base Brown and Glaramara
Grey Knotts & Gillercombe
Gillercombe is a high-level, infertile hanging valley.
Peter is the creator of the Tubular Fells map of Lakeland. He has rushed up here to sell me a map, but I've left my money in the car. He shows us the map and where we are at the moment.
You Are Here!
I've been wondering if a fellwalker could make a route up there. Probably not. Boulders litter the lower slopes, some rock climbers were higher up, not visible in this photo.
Peter rejoins us, he has been up to the top of Base Brown and back down in 30 mins. The slabs are an interesting feature of this area at the top of Sour Milk Gill, but they also in evidence further down.
The descent is a fairly steep one, but on a well made, mainly repaired path. Parked cars extend beyond the bridge towards Seatoller.
The end is in sight. What a great walk! A new route for us, not one you might have expected, but well worth the effort.
Walkers: David Hall, Neil Haslewood and me. Peter Burgess joined us for the descent back to the cars.
Time taken: 9hrs over a distance of 12 miles and a total ascent (Neil's GPS) of 5,750ft.
Route: Seathwaite, Styhead Tarn, Great End via The Band (ish), Esk Hause (close to), Seathwaite Fell, Styhead Tarn, Great Gable, Green Gable, Base Brown, Gillercombe, Sour Milk Gill, Seathwaite.
Weather and conditions: Sunny with variable breeze, not really a problem, but noticeable.
Greetings Count: The three on top of Great End and then a steady stream of walkers heading for Scafell Pike. Seathwaite Fell was quiet as was Styhead. Loads coming off Great Gable and plenty on top. Only a couple of large groups, principle behavioural issue was the crowding on Great Gable summit.
Richard's Refreshment Review: We retired to the Scafell Hotel in Rosthwaite for drinks. Very welcome.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2011 ©