Seat Sandal

Walk Date – 3rd October 2015

Distance – 5.4 miles

Weather – sunny and warm, not a breath of wind



7.04 am. Sunrise over the fields at the back of the house.

Helm Crag lurking behind the morning fog as we park up in a lay-by on the A591.

Over to the right Steel Fell begins to appear.

Walking up the path from Mill Bridge and a look back shows the fog thinning out, maybe we’ll get a lovely blue sky day after all.

A little further up the path and the fog is still rising from Dunmail Raise down below us.

Looking ahead to Seat Sandal, everything looking nice and clear up there.

A look back down into the Vale of Grasmere where there is still plenty of fog drifting around.

The path diverges here, left for Little Tongue Gill, and right, over the far bridge, for Tongue Gill.

Looking back at the Tongue Gill crossing point.

The path we are using is the one running through the bracken to the right of the wall. It looks quite gentle from here but once on it you soon realise that it isn’t.

Phew! It was hot work getting to this point. See what I mean about it not being quite as gentle it looked.

As you can see it was a steep pull up to this point so we stopped for a breather and a quick mop of the brow. We’re down to t-shirt level now as it so hot up here, and there isn’t any air movement at all to help cool us down a little. Looks like most of the fog has gone down there although it is still rather hazy.

A good high level path across Hause Riggs which gives the legs a chance to recover from the steep climb.

From Hause Riggs a look over the waterfalls in Tongue Gill.

Across from us is Fairfield rising from Grisedale Hause.

Another view of Fairfield from the Hause. Just behind me alongside the wall is a shelter so we decided to have a short drinks stop before continuing on up to Seat Sandal summit.

Suitably refreshed we leave the shelter and start up the very rough path, ‘one step forward and two steps back’ came to mind as we made our way up it. There is another and better path elsewhere but for some reason, which now escapes me, we decided on this one.

From the climb there’s a view over Grisedale Tarn. Notice the fog rising out of Grisedale at the far end of the tarn.

From left to right, Dollywaggon Pike, Saint Sunday Crag and Fairfield.

Geese flying south for their winter holidays. Lots of calling out going on between them: “Did you lock the back door?” “Who’s got the tickets and passports?”

Blimey! I was so absorbed watching the geese I hadn’t been looking down here. That fog is racing up from Grisedale and extends as far as I can see. This must be a big cloud inversion taking place.

Now its spreading rapidly along the tarn and up the sides of Saint Sunday Crag.

Not only is it rushing up from Grisedale at the other end of the tarn, its also racing in up Raise Beck from Dunmail Raise at this end of it too.

We’re on the summit plateau now so we can’t see the tarn any more. This is one of the un-named tarns up here and all except this one were dry as we’ve not had much rain lately.

Approaching the summit and we still have blue sky and sunshine.

I walked across to the edge to see what was happening down at the tarn. The cloud is still advancing and over on the right its also spreading up from Deepdale.

It looks as though Dollywaggon Pike is about to disappear in the cloud coming up Raise Beck, all of it moving amazingly quickly.

The cloud is now rising up from everywhere, Raise Beck to the left, Grisedale in the centre, Deepdale the next dip along, and the first few wisps coming up from Tongue Gill on the right.

Dollwaggon Pike is about to disappear and the fells to the left of it are blanketed by the cloud. Look closely and you’ll see a fell top just visible in the distance which I think is probably Skiddaw. That stands at 3054′ and the top is only just visible. Where the layer of white cloud is you would normally be seeing lots of fells so this is a massive cloud event we are experiencing.

It looks as though it won’t be too long before Saint Sunday Crag is surrounded by cloud. Everything eastwards is covered with it too.

Seat Sandal summit cairn. No views of Grasmere since the cloud is now coming up from there too on the left of the shot.

Seat Sandal summit again and we’re still in clear air but its getting closer, look behind you.

Within seconds it enveloped us and everything else so we hunkered down in the shelter, had some lunch and just watched nature at work. Its amazing how quickly you can get a jacket and hat on when you need to.

Things hadn’t improved by the time we’d had our lunch so there was no point in hanging around. Here we are approaching the second cairn to the south west of the summit and we still couldn’t see anything at all until we were practically on top of it.

A brief hint of brightness while we were at the second cairn, everything was eerily quiet and still, not a sound from anywhere and not a soul around.

As you can see there wasn’t much in the way of views on the way down although the worst of the cloud had moved away by now. The earlier quiet stillness at the summit has been replaced by the roar of traffic on the A591 down below us.

At the bottom end of Steel Fell there’s a little more definition, and you can just make out part of the Helm Crag – Gibson Knott ridge behind Steel Fell’s lower slopes.

You’ll have to look hard but up on the left you can just make out the water of Grasmere.

As we made our way down I took a look over towards the summit of Seat Sandal which is once again covered by cloud.

Running through the bracken across the centre of the photo is the path we took this morning.

On a better day this would be a lovely view down to Grasmere, still you can see Helm Crag and the water, so that’s better than nothing at all I suppose.

Looking to the north west and behind Steel Fell another huge bank of cloud rolls across.

Across the valley we have a clearer view of Helm Crag and the ridge to Gibson Knott and Calf Crag.

I don’t know what made me turn round but I did, I saw this and had to sit down I was laughing so much. Can you see a face over on the left of the rock? Did you ever watch Deputy Dawg?

The lower slopes of Steel Fell from our descent. The cloud has retreated northwards away from us but activity is still ongoing over there.

The summit of Seat Sandal is now clear while Fairfield, to the right, is cloud covered again.

Almost back on the path we started out on this morning, that’s it to the left of the farm building.

Helm Crag across the valley.

One last shot of Steel Fell.  A massive cloud inversion today, completely unexpected but just fabulous to watch and to experience. They don’t happen often but when they do its a wonderful sight.