Seat Sandal

Walk Date – 30th April 2017

Distance – 3.82 miles

Weather – dry but very windy and very hazy


Continuing with the leg rehab we decided to try an outing over some steeper ground and settled on a walk up beside Raise Beck, up to Grisedale Tarn with the option of continuing on up to Seat Sandal, depending on how things were when we reached the top of the beck. The walk up alongside the beck would give the leg a good workout and if it was up to carrying on then that would be even better. Unfortunately the weather was providing nothing by way of a bonus, the skies were very grey and overcast and the wind was hurtling up the A591 with a vengeance so we made for the shelter of Raise Beck with as much haste as we could muster. Although we knew it would only be a temporary respite it was a relief to be out of the wind for a little while at least. Despite the strong wind there was a thick haze everywhere and visibility was poor, consequently I took fewer photographs today.


Dunmail Raise – Raise Beck – Grisedale Tarn – Seat Sandal north ridge – Seat Sandal – Seat Sandal north west ridge – Dunmail Raise


01 Helm Crag from the A591

Just before setting off I took this view of Helm Crag from the lay-by just below Dunmail Raise, whilst sheltering from the wind behind the back of the car. If its this strong down here I’m not looking forward to getting higher, its chilly too.

02 Not much water in Raise Beck today

Once in the relative shelter of Raise Beck we settle into a steady climb up. The route isn’t excessively steep but it is steeper and rockier than the leg has been used to recently so we take our time. The two walkers ahead of us are busy taking photos and its a shame that there isn’t more water in the beck to put on a better show because it all looks a bit sparse today.

03 The falls and cascades along Raise Beck

The cascades and falls are reduced to little more than a dribble in comparison to how they usually are.

04 Grisedale Tarn with Fairfield behind

When we reached the tarn area we found a little hollow out of the wind and had a short break to give the leg a bit of a rest and to decide what to do next. The two walkers who had been ahead of us did not turn to walk up to Seat Sandal and as I took this they were walking to the right of the photo, just out of shot. They may have been heading for Fairfield, the fell behind the tarn, or were planning to walk back down via Tongue Gill. Either way we didn’t see them again, or anyone else, during the rest of the walk.

05 Starting the stiff climb up Seat Sandal

During our break we decided to continue on up to the top of Seat Sandal, so here’s the view of the route we took. The grey line isn’t the path its a collapsed wall and the path runs alongside it. Its grassy all the way and, although it may not look it, it is a stiff climb so no doubt the leg will know its done some work when it reaches the summit.

06 Saint Sunday Crag, Fairfield and Grisedale Tarn from the climb up

A pause during the ascent so I take this shot of Grisedale Tarn with Saint Sunday Crag and Fairfield behind it. At this point I was informed that climbing up here was certainly stretching the leg tendons a lot more than the exercises prescribed by the physio!

07 Looking west at a lot of murk

The murky view over to our right, long distance views were non-existent today. Raise Beck runs along down the dip between where I’m standing and the opposite lower slopes of Dollywaggon Pike. It was more or less wind free through there but we’re in the wind again now that we are on the open fellside which makes the ascent more of a struggle than it should be.

08 The steep climb up to Dollywaggon Pike from the steep climb up to Seat Sandal

As the gradient begins to ease slightly I took a look back down the route. We started the climb way down there just about where the first dark brown peat hag is. Opposite us is the even steeper climb up alongside the wall leading up to Dollywaggon Pike.

09 Place Fell sandwiched between Dollywaggon Pike and Saint Sunday Crag

On the left you may just be able to make out the pitched path winding its way up the slopes of Dollywaggon Pike and that’s a route which is a whole lot easier than the one in the previous photo. Place Fell has now appeared in the gap between Dollywaggon and Saint Sunday Crag.

10 Grisedale Tarn nestled below its big neighbours

From the summit I took a short diversion to get a view of yet another steep climb, this time its the one ascending the western arm of Fairfield over to the right of the shot.

11 The summit cairn on Seat Sandal

On the summit of Seat Sandal where the wind is ferocious and the temperature has dropped significantly so we huddle into the shelter and get out the coffee flask. Immediately to the left of the cairn, just about visible in the murk, is the inverted pudding basin shape of Great Gable.

12 A longer view of the cairn from the shelter

The longer view of the cairn from the wind shelter. The distant fells looking as if they have been given a coat of smoky grey emulsion and its difficult to see where one group ends and another one starts.

13 The Helvellyn range from Seat Sandal

Fortified by the hot coffee I brave the wind and struggle over to take this shot of the Helvellyn range, where Helvellyn at the far end of the group looks to be enjoying a brief spell of sunshine.

14 Cold and very windy on the summit

Yes, its as cold and as windy as that, let’s get out of here!

15 Leaving the summit and heading for the marker cairn

Leaving the summit area and heading for the marker cairn to begin our descent, the wind coming in from the left of the shot is blowing us sideways as we walk across.

16 A very hazy view down to Grasmere from the descent

We don’t seem to have much luck with the views whenever we walk up Seat Sandal thanks to rain, low cloud, inversions and what have you, but we can at least see Grasmere today, even though it is through some very murky conditions.

17 The Helvellyn range once again

The Helvellyn range again where it looks as though the gloom has descended once more.

18 The hazy view to the west

Its looking equally grey and gloomy in the other direction too.

19 Steel Fell in the middle foreground with Ullscarf right behind it

Still well wrapped up and about to descend the steep path back down to Dunmail Raise. In the middle foreground is the summit of Steel Fell with Ullscarf right behind it.

20 Thirlmere begins to come into view as we descend the steep path

Thirlmere begins to come into view as we descend, and so does a hint of brightness over the fells on its western shores.

21 Dunmail Raise below Steel Fell

A dizzying view down to Dunmail Raise before we start the steepest section of the descent. We stopped to remove the winter layers as we were now out of the wind and the chilliness had disappeared. An odd little incident occurred as we looked down which I couldn’t catch on camera due to the de-layering and it involved the red van which is on the far side of the divided carriageway. Just a few seconds earlier it had been on this side of the carriageway and was reversing back towards the point at which the single road splits and becomes dual. The van driver must have had the shock of his life to find he was on the wrong part of the road with a line of traffic hurtling towards him. Fortunately he realised very quickly that he was on the wrong side and began reversing, and the drivers coming towards him were also quick enough to realise what had happened and were able to slow down with enough time to spare to avoid a head on collision and subsequent pile up from the traffic behind.

22 The lovely view along Thirlmere

A lovely view along Thirlmere as we carefully make the steep descent. Over on the murky right skyline is Skiddaw group of fells but looking slightly brighter on the left skyline is the Bleaberry Fell to High Seat ridge.

23 The view looking in the opposite direction

To the left from the same spot and the traffic continues to roar down the A591 towards Grasmere. The pale blue-grey outlines on the centre skyline are the Coniston fells and over on the extreme right skyline we can just see the tops of the Langdale Pikes.

24 Taking careful steps down the steep path

A look back up to check how things are as we descend this very steep slope. I’ve mentioned on previous walks that the leg and foot become more painful when descending, and today is no different so everything has to be taken very slowly and carefully.

25 Looks easy but it was a very steep descent

Just how slowly and carefully it is being taken is clear to see as I take a look back from lower down where the path becomes less steep.

26 Back on level ground with traffic roaring by on the A591

We’re back down on the soft grass and a flatter path and making our way back to the car, the leg is much happier now. Apparently, although it was still painful during today’s descent, it was less painful than it was during the descent off Beda Fell twelve days ago so that’s an encouraging sign that things are slowly improving. The wind is still rushing up the A591 and blowing us about quite a lot but at least we have a little spell of sunshine to walk back in which makes things feel better. So, there are a couple of hundred yards more to walk before we are back at the car and at the end of today’s walk. We didn’t have the best of weather for it or much by way of views but exercise for the leg was what it was all about and it certainly achieved that.