Saturday, December 29, 2012

Seathwaite Fell

The approach from Seathwaite

Wainwright claimed that Seathwaite Fell is "rarely visited - except, of course, by the custodian of the infamous rain-gauges which record, to its shame, that the fell and its vicinity has much the heaviest rainfall in the country."

map and route

3d route shows the steep descent

Stockley Bridge
Seathwaite was living up to its reputation today.  The hail was bouncing on the way up to Stockley Bridge and the path was waterlogged in more than a few places.

I had planned to head up to Green Gable and then on to Base Brown but the cloud was very low and so I took the main path up to Sty Head and then had a think about where to go from there.

I did have a little look at crossing over Styhead Gill with a view to taking on the steep climb up to Base Brown but, with the heavy rainfall the gill was flowing thick and fast, and there was no clear crossing place so I pressed on to the stretcher box where I took shelter to consider the map.  The Gables were cloaked in cloud and I didn't fancy trying to find my way so I had a look around.  The Gullies on Great End still had plenty of snow on them.  After a while the cloud cleared over Seathwaite Fell and it was an obvious choice to head that way.

looking back to Seathwaite from the start of the climb up to Sty Head

Base Brown - The East Face above Taylor Gill.  The split rock looks like it has just fallen down the scree but it is in the same place in Wainwright's drawing from almost 50 years ago, as is the smaller rock above it.

from the higher southern summit looking towards the 'generally accepted' summit

There are two summits on Seathwaite Fell.  The southern summit is higher by approximately 30m.  The north summit has been adopted as the main summit due to its more spectacular location on the edge of the fell.  Today, the views from the southern summit were better.  It was very windy and I didn't hang around.  It's a pleasant stroll over to the northern summit.  I was really pleased with my progress, my knee seemed to be holding up very well and I had a bit of a run over.

heading over to the north summit

north summit of Seathwaite Fell
At the summit I met a group of people who had taken the direct climb up from the valley floor.  They were going on to Glaramara and I thought about asking to tag along but decided not to push my luck with my knee and that it was time to head back.

I asked them about the route down to the valley.  They told me it was very steep and craggy but doable so I set off that way.

The climb down was steep but never risky.  I found a mostly grassy way down and, with a steady zig-zagging approach, I was soon back on the path heading back to Stockley Bridge.  The weather had eased up a bit at this point and I stopped for a drink and to take my waterproofs off before continuing on to my car at Seathwaite.  An extremely heavy hail storm hit just as I was getting to my car.  Once inside, it was blowers on the wet feet before heading into Keswick for a coffee and a browse.  I really enjoyed today's walk and it has reinforced to me that waterproof clothing works and a bit of rain, hail and howling wind shouldn't stop you getting out.

zig-zagging down to the valley floor, looking across to Glaramara and Red Beck

back down to Borrowdale from the steep descent

looking back to Seathwaite Fell

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