Date & Time: Saturday 24th March 2007. 11 am start.

Location of Start : Seathwaite Farm, Borrowdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 239 126 )

Places visited : Seathwaite farm, Stockley Bridge, Aaron Crags, Seathwaite Fell, Sprinkling Tarn, Esk Hause, Esk Pike, returning via Esk Hause shelter, Grains Gill, Stockley Bridge and back to the farm

Walk details : 7.7 mls, 2700 ft of ascent , 6 hrs.

Walked with : Hilton, Hannah, Jo, Jill, John, Ann myself and seven dogs (Crufts on tour).

Weather : An excellent and predicted blue sky, not a cloud to be seen all day ( but rather cold in the shade ! )

The walk party the night before (dressed posh for once) celebrating at

Quince and Medlar in Cockermouth.

 

Friday was a grand evening where us country fellas put on shirt and tie, and the ladies cast aside the wicking base layers in favour of silks and satin.

It will be Jo's birthday tomorrow and was Jill's birthday earlier this week.

We also planned a sociable walk while we're all together this weekend, and so take advantage of the good weather.

Saturday dawned fine and dry and the forecast was correct - blue skies wall to wall.

Our route today was decided by John and Polly's need to climb Seathwaite and Esk Pike as part of their Wainwright round.

A 10.30 meeting at Seathwaite. We found most other folk had started earlier, and the line of parked cars extended several hundred yard down from the farm.

The walk was going to be quarter of a mile further than we thought by virtue of that fact alone !

We called at the delightfully named "Rain Gauge Cottage" to collect Dave's chocolate brown retriever dog. This meant that we were now evenly balanced for numbers today. Seven people and seven dogs - Crufts on tour !

Seathwaite is renowned for being the wettest place in England, and the cottage presumably gets it's name from the fact that the person who used to measure the rainfall used to live here at one time.

All that rain not only keeps the lakes full, but also produces some fine waterfalls.

This one is Taylor Gill Force in the valley that leads up to Sty Head Tarn. Our route climbs above and alongside the trees to the left.

   
Grains Gill as we cross Stockley Bridge for the first time
Climbing up above Seathwaite

The weather was very warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky, but the long distance views were hazy.

Blencathra, with just a little snow remaining, can be seen over the top of the pointed Grange Fell, further down Borrowdale.

Hilton and his daughter Hannah consult the map as the others follow up behind.

The path here is a well used one and has been paved with local stone to prevent further erosion.

Shortly after reaching the level ground above Taylor Gill Falls we branched left to make a direct assault of the front of Seathwaite Fell.

There is a gully and small stream which leads down (more or less) from the top. This guides us easily but steeply up through the crags.

The views get more spectacular as we climb - Green and Great Gable picturesque beyond the wintering trees.

Cassie cooling off in a summit pool after the warm climb.

As close as I could get to a summit full of people and dogs.

Excluding the photographer, there's one person (Hilton) and one dog (Jodie) missing.

The view from the top, with Esk Pike on the left, Scafell Pike in the middle and Gable on the right.

Click here or on the photo for a larger annotated panorama

   
Two paw prints in the slushy iced pool - who me ?
Hannah looks across towards Lingmell and the Wasdale Valley

Seathwaite Fell is a delightfully undulating peak, a geographical extension of the higher ground of the Scafell Massif to the south.

Within Seathwaite's many twists and turns are several more significant summits. We climbed the northern one at the start, and the southern one as we headed towards Esk Hause path. There are also numerous pools, from the biggest Sprinkling Tarn, to smaller un-named ones like this.

Here a gentle breeze is just sufficient to ruffle the surface and blur the reflections of Great End.

Jill, Jo and Ann skirt round on the Gable side of the tarn, stepping over the small exit stream on the way.

Great Gable deserves its name as it always looks stunning, as here on this beautiful, sunny day.

Jill has reached the main Styhead to Langdale path, as it passes beside Sprinkling Tarn.

Something after one o'clock, so we stopped here for "lunch with a view".

   
The top end of Grains Gill and Allen Crags
A patch of old snow reminds us of recent colder weather.

Grains Gill which flowed under Stockley Bridge earlier, is now known as Ruddy Gill, due to the redness in the soil in this area.

It has cut quite a deep ravine in it's rapid descent from Allen Crags.

Not all people up here are fellwalking, though these three had walked a fair amount of the way up.

We left the main bridle way, took the path up to Esk Hause and then continued on towards Esk Pike summit.

   
The Upper Esk River and the slopes of Esk Pike.
On the other side Ill Crag, Scafell Pike and Scafell in the haze.

 

   
Three summiteers and Jill on Esk Pike.
Harry's cut is looking a lot better now.

Looking round from the top, Scafell Pike is clear and stands highest of all.

Bowfell and Crinkle Crags shine in the early afternoon sun.

Recalling the names like Bowfell and Crinkle Crags, Dollywagon and Coniston Old Man remind me of my youth when my dad would name all the tops as we climbed,or in conversations with his friends over dinner at home in later weeks. When I was 50 years younger than I am today (!) I had not climbed many of them, so their names sounded very evocative and rather intriguing. Who would ever name a mountain Pike o' Blisco ?

The Langdale Pikes - now I had climbed them - and got the cloth badge to sew on to my anorak !

Heaven forbid that we should sew anything on our Gortex jackets nowadays !

   
On the way back down - a familiar face
That expression is definitely Alaskan !

On our recent holiday we had enjoyed the company of the Alaskan Huskies but this was an all together larger dog.

His owner introduced him as Jasper, an Alaskan Malamute, originally a working breed from the interior of Alaska. He was larger and more powerful dog than the type we had used on our trek holiday. He could pull well, as can be seen from the first photo, and was a delight on or off lead.

Making our way down we passed the wall shelter below Esk Hause, a little snow still hanging about in the shelter.

A distant and hazy view of Castle Crag and Derwent Water, with Keswick and Skiddaw / Blencathra in the distance.

The photo was taken across the ravine of Ruddy Gill as Hilton, Hannah, John and Jo were waiting for the back markers to catch up.

   
Great End behind us as we descend Grains Gill
Looking down to Seathwaite once again.

Counting the people and the dogs across the small footbridge.

Back at the farm in Seathwaite at the end of the walk, a young goat kid stole the show.

He seemed as equally at home with his mum as with his new lamb friends.

   
Back home and chance to relax
and enjoy another fine meal.

We were joined by Amy, Hannah's (twin) sister for the evening and raised our glasses once again

to those with birthdays, both Jo and Jill here, and to Barrie and Jill B who are also celebrating theirs elsewhere this weekend.

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Click here for John's pictures - here for Jill's Pictures - or here for Jo's

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Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . friends who all have birthdays in the same week.

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Previous walk - 21st March 2007 Grey Knotts and Brandreth with Zoro

A previous time up here - 13th October 2006 A Great End to our second 214 Wainwright Fells