Walk Date – 15th August 2016
Distance – 6.77 miles
Weather – sunny and warm with a light breeze
Thanks to some overnight meteorological sleight of hand the blanket of cloud which has been plaguing us for weeks has gone to annoy someone else and we have the promise of a good weather day today. Knowing that we could rely on the weather we headed off to Wasdale for today’s walk. This area is on the west side of the county and, for us, its almost a two hour drive from where we live. Then we have to factor in the same amount of time to drive home again so a good chunk of time is taken up with just getting here and back again. All of which means that you need some good weather and some long hours of daylight to make the most of the effort needed to get here, and to enjoy the wonderful scenery which is on offer.
We parked up in Greendale, which is where I’m standing, and this is a view of Middle Fell, which will be our first fell of the day.
While I am waiting for the driver to get his boots on I took this close up of the Scafells with some early morning cloud billowing around them. Over on the far left is Lingmell, then Scafell Pike followed by Scafell, and in shadow over on the right are the lower slopes of Illgill Head.
Having got ourselves booted up off we go up the path heading for Middle Fell. Over on our left is this view of Buckbarrow which will be the last fell we’ll visit today. There’s not much chance of easing into the walk gradually as the path from the parking area starts rising pretty much from the off.
Down there is where we parked and ours is the car nearest the house. While we were getting ready plenty of cars went by but none of them gave this spot a second glance so I suppose they were all heading up to Wasdale Head for a walk up Scafell Pike. That’s OK by us, we’re perfectly content with the peace and quiet we know we’re likely to get on the walk we have chosen today.
At this point we leave the main path, which carries on up to Greendale Tarn, and take the right hand one which heads on up Middle Fell. The gps gadget had to be checked at this point because AW’s instructions for this route are to ‘watch for the bifurcation at 700.’ So is this bifurcation situated at 700′? Well, now that we have a gps we can at last check, and 700′ was exactly the gps reading, so full marks to AW especially as he worked it out without any help from a gps.
I know its not the best photo I’ve ever taken but it gives you some idea of what’s around us as we climb. On the skyline are the Wastwater Screes standing along the far shore of Wast Water. The high point on the right of the Screes is Whin Rigg, the high point at the other end, which you can’t see, is Illgill Head. Over on the right side of the shot is Greendale where we have started out from 35 minutes ago.
Over to our left we can now see the top of Buckbarrow with the lower slopes of Seatallan just behind it. Its lovely walking weather right now, warm without being too hot and a light breeze just helping to keep us cool. There’s a bit of cloud around but its not the dull grey blanket that we’ve been having for such a long time lately. Over on the left of the picture is a glimpse of the coastal plain and a clear view of the sea.
Looking ahead at the route up Middle Fell but the summit is some way off at the moment.
As we climb we get a little peep at Haycock which pops up between the slopes of Seatallan and Middle Fell.
Approaching the summit of Middle Fell …..
….. from where you get this magnificent view of the Scafells towering above Wast Water. It doesn’t look it but Scafell Pike on the left of the U shaped gap is the highest peak in England. The gap to its right is Mickledore and then comes Scafell, England’s second highest peak.
Beyond the ridge in the foreground is the craggy humpbacked shape of Yewbarrow.
Behind us to the west is Seatallan, our next port of call, and completely different in character to the Scafells and their neighbours. A few rocky bits here and there but mainly its grassy moorland in nature.
Seatallan from the summit cairn on Middle Fell where we treated ourselves to a coffee stop and a chance to enjoy the views …..
….. and I treated myself to a five minute sit down.
Another shot of the Scafells, this time including the summit of Slight Side which you can see sloping down to the right of Scafell.
Beyond Yewbarrow on the left skyline are Kirk Fell and Great Gable, while over on the right are Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Scafell.
In the middle of the skyline is Haycock, to its left is Caw Fell while over to its right is Scoat Fell. The way the shifting clouds dapple the fells is always fascinating to watch. The shadows ripple and glide effortlessly across the peaks and valleys, its like watching a painting changing its colour as you’re looking at it.
Seatallan gets its share of the dappling …..
….. while Haycock, Scoat Fell and Red Pike are bathed in sunlight. We’re on the descent from Middle Fell now and heading towards what I know is going to be a very wet area. I already know I’m going to get wet feet because I’m not wearing my usual boots. To help my back problen I’m wearing an old pair of lighter weight ones which are no longer waterproof so I know I’m in for a soaking. No matter, its a warm, sunny day so things will dry out as we go along.
We’re on the climb up Seatallan now with Middle Fell and Greendale Tarn below us. The large flat area between is where all the wetness is and walking across it takes a few minutes which gives it plenty of time to ‘fill yer boots’. We had a stop here for me to wring out the socks, there was no point putting a dry pair on, the boots would only have wet them too. Strange as it may seem walking in damp socks wasn’t at all uncomfortable and it was quite nice not to have hot feet for a change. The sock stop gave me the chance to take a couple more shots of the impressive scenery before moving on to the summit, so here they are …..
The trig point on Seatallan summit. This is another of those fells with a very flat and expansive summit area so the views around it tend to get chopped off. On the plus side there’s absolutely no danger of falling off, you could hold several football matches all at the same time up here its so big an area.
Seatallan’s summit shelter where a couple of walkers had just finished their lunch break and very obligingly vacated it for us to use. We didn’t need it as a wind break today but it was nice just to relax in while we had our lunch too.
A view of Haycock, on the left, from Seatallan.
The view to the west from Seatallan. I thought I’d include Sellafield nuclear power station, and even though its not very picturesque it is part of the scenery after all.
After lunch we head down Seatallan, a long plod down through the grass but there are plenty of very wet areas along there too. Beyond is the coastal plain and the River Esk estuary at Ravenglass.
A look back at the long plod down Seatallan. I prefer walking down it because there’s more to look at, there’s nothing much to see when you’re walking up and you just keep getting reminded you of how far you still have to go.
Its those Scafells again, this time forming the backdrop to Middle Fell.
We’ve reached the point marked on the map as Cat Bields with this cairn marking the spot. Behind are the Wastwater Screes, the two highest points being Ill Gill Head, on the left, and Whin Rigg over on the right.
From Cat Bields we bear left and head across towards Buckbarrow. The cairn with the path leading to it down there is on Glade How.
A fifteen minute walk brings us to Glade How with a view of Seatallan behind it.
A look back at the crags of Glade How as we continue on to Buckbarrow.
Buckbarrow is only a very short distance away and an equally short climb through the crags will bring us out on the summit.
From Buckbarrow summit a look along Wast Water and the surrounding fells.
We had another stop here, we didn’t really need a break as the route from Seatallan to here has been downhill all the way, but why bother coming if you don’t take the time to absorb everything that’s on view around you.
I know, I know, but the plea I’m entering is that this shot is from a different angle. I’ll bet it was busy up there today.
On our descent from Buckbarrow I noticed another intricate sheepfold design across from us on the slopes of Glade How, it reminded me of a clover leaf. It looks well maintained so perhaps its still in use.
A look back at Buckbarrow’s crags from the descent. They become more fearsome looking further round to the right where they start dropping down quite sharply.
The view ahead of us as we continue the descent.
Down below us is the road which we will join when we reach the end of the Buckbarrow descent, which is quite steep as you can see.
A closer look at Tosh Tarn, isn’t that a great name? I’m glad it wasn’t named something mundane such as Greendale Tarn or Wasdale Tarn. The path we are on will end just by the spot where those two cars are parked so we’re still a little way off.
Finally we make it back down to the road with a view of the Screes for the mile long walk back to the car at Greendale.
From the road you get a better idea of how steeply the crags of Buckbarrow fall on its eastern face. While we were on the summit we kept hearing shouts but couldn’t see anyone anywhere near us, it was only as we were walking along the road we heard more shouts and finally spotted two tiny dots climbing some of the lower crags. The two men must have been the ones we had heard as they shouted instructions to each other during their climb. How people can summon up the nerve to climb things like this never ceases to amaze me. I know I couldn’t, I go weak at the knees just thinking about it.
The car is parked just beside those buildings over to the right so we haven’t much further to go now. In front of us is Middle Fell where we started out this morning.
Back at the Greendale parking area, which has a lot more cars in it now than it did this morning, and one last shot of the Wast Water fells, and three red bottomed Herdwicks.
It was still only mid afternoon so we drove the short distance round to Wast Water to take in the views from the shore. The place was swarming with people so it was difficult to find somewhere to stand and to get shots that were people free. Its only to be expected though since its the height of the holiday season and its a great place for families to enjoy a picnic and a paddle.The youngsters were having a great time, swimming cossies on, waving fishing nets and buckets about and doing the odd spot of paddling to ankle level. No-one was fully immersed and swimming because the water is very, very cold. Its England’s deepest lake with a depth of 258 feet and is almost three miles long and over a third of a mile wide. It is surrounded by some very high fells and the ones you can see in the photo are, from left to right, Yewbarrow, a litle bit of Kirk Fell behind it, then comes Great Gable. To the right of that comes Lingmell, then the Scafells and finally the Wastwater Screes. In 2007 this was named as Britain’s Favourite View and I’m not about argue with that because on a day like today it looks simply glorious and its hard to tear yourself away. Everything comes to an end however and its time for us to go and settle down for the long drive home after a lovely day in the western fells.