Seathwaite Fell, Esk Pike and Glaramara

The big walk for this visit to the Lakes (apologies for the large amount of photos!), this was a bit of a concoction of fells thrown together to make a loop and pick off a load of Wainwrights. These fells would normally mean a couple of walks to pick them off, and all requiring a bit of a walk to get to them. Rossett Pike is usually done with the long walk into Mickleden, both Allen Crags and Esk Pike mean a visit to Esk Hause, probably from Seathwaite (Grains Gill) or Langdale (Mickleden again), both a fair distance away. I also had Seathwaite Fell as an annoyance. I poured over the maps and the Wainwright books, trying to limit the out and back elements and also work out a place to start. Staying in Keswick it meant that Seathwaite is the natural choice, saving long drives to Langdale or Wasdale. I figured that by using a Wainwright route up through Aaron Crags I could bag Seathwaite Fell on the way to Esk Hause, then Esk Pike and drop to Ore Gap, the only out and back section would be from Angle Tarn to Rossett Pike. I then would head back to Esk Hause before heading along the long ridge walk over Allen Crags to Glaramara as a bonus for being in the area. This was made possible by spotting a path off Glaramara down beside Hind Gill to Seathwaite, which gave me 11 miles ish of walking and a steep descent to finish. Considering the weather that was due to come I got reasonably lucky with the conditions, yes it was damp, there was a strong wind on the tops, but the clouds skidded through with sun poking through occasionally. Only a couple of heavy showers at the end got me wet properly, but on arriving back at Seathwaite I felt happy to have bagged these 5, which has now taken me to 176 with 38 Wainwrights left to do. The terrain at times was very much up and down and I was glad of all the coastal path walking that I have done, which was perfect preparation for this area. However the highlights here aren’t the tops, although I can imagine Esk Pike has some fine views to Eskdale and Rossett Pike certainly does down to Mickelden. Instead I loved visiting the places that I have heard so much about, from reading the Lake District books. Places like Sprinkling Tarn, Ore Gap, Angle Tarn and High House Tarn, plus another visit to Ruddy Gill. These were superb places and I spent far longer at these than the tops, a brilliant walk and well worth the effort to pull it together.

Start – Seathwaite

Route – Stockley Bridge – Aaron Crags – Seathwaite Fell – Sprinkling Tarn – Ruddy Gill – Esk Hause – Esk Pike – Ore Gap – Angle Tarn – Rossett Pike – Angle Tarn – Esk Hause – Allen Crags – High House Tarn – Pinnacle Bield – Glaramara – Hind Gill – Seathwaite

Distance – 11.5 miles    Start time – 8.15am   Time taken – 8hrs 15mins  Highest Point – Esk Pike 885 metres

Weather – Cloudy, some cloud down on the high tops, windy, cold, sun breaking through and rain showers to finish

© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
I was the 4th car parked at Seathwaite at 8.15am on a Monday , again it is half term holidays and again the parking spots aren’t that busy (I parked here the last week in July at 9am, same result just 200metres further back). Personally, for what its worth, my opinion is the towns and honey puts are very busy, the fells are about as busy as they have always been. New people are in the Lakes, but they aren’t fell walkers, they are here to tick a box to say they have visited, eat in the restaurants, sleep in the accommodation, shop, see attractions and drink in the pubs. Meaning the place looks busy but the fells aren’t. I saw 12 people on this walk and no one after Seathwaite farm until I climbed Esk Pike.
Seathwaite Fell looms ahead on the walk to Stockley Bridge
Taylorgill Force, there’s a fine path to the right of the waterfall, which I had considered today, but it would have taken me too far towards Styhead Tarn than I needed
Stockley Bridge and Grains Gill behind
I crossed Stockley Bridge and followed the path through the intake walls and upwards, enjoying this view back along to Seathwaite Farm. Pointy Castle Crag in the distance
Rain showers in the Borrowdale Valley, however today there was some good sunshine over Derwent Water and Keswick which I could see from Esk Pike. Hind Crag is the craggy rock on the far right of picture my descent route was just the other side of that. I’ve left the normal Styhead path now and I’m ascending the Wainwright route through Aaron Crags to the summit of Seathwaite Fell. This ascent follows a stream coming down the hill and a small cairn marks its start point, from below its an obvious ascent route though
A clearing Borrowdale and lovely view down to this glorious valley as I climb higher up the path by the stream
The ascent was fairly quick and 75 mins after leaving the car i was on my first summit, Seathwaite Fell. That’s Great End on the left with Lingmell over to the right, in between is Broad Crag and appearing from the cloud at the back is Scafell Pike
Further left is Allen Crags with Esk Pike at the back beyond the dip of Esk Hause. The clouds are touching the tops of Great End and Scafell Pike
Seathwaite Fell summit (Wainwright) is at the far end of this spur and gives the best view down into Borrowdale. Derwent Water is also in view with Skiddaw the high point right at the back
Walking along Seathwaite Fell the view to your right is of Wasdale, however the gash of Piers Gill grabs the view leading up to Lingmell
The actually high point of Seathwaite Fell, looking back to the Wainwright top. Behind are countless fells, including from the left, Base Brown, Dale Head and High Spy, with Skiidaw at the back, then Derwent Water, Blencathra at the back, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat in front, then Clough Head and Great Dodd top right in the distance. Plus plenty more in the nearer distance
Approaching Sprinkling Tarn with Great End looking massive behind, from here all I could do was look at the gullies heading up to Great End and wonder how people ascended up them, especially in winter
Sprinkling Tarn looking towards Great Gable with its head in the cloud, and Green Gable to the right just below. Its strange how a certain walk can affect your opinion on a mountain. Great Gable is one of the favourite mountains in the Lakes, with most walkers. However as my son fell on Green Gable and badly cut his knee, before climbing Great Gable, my opinion is indifferent. I can see its majesty, but I don’t fully embrace it as many, many others do. Might need to go at it again!!
Ruddy Gill. I’d forgotten this place. I’m stood next to the drop down to Grains Gill (to my left here), and I descended here on my way back from Scafell Pike some 9 years ago. Ruddy Gill is a glorious spot, the gill is very green contains trees and looks amazing when walking alongside it. As you can see from the dots on the photo there is a few spots of rain dropping
I had a sit here for a break as I climbed to Esk Hause, the brief rain had stopped and I was admiring the view across some very mountainous scenery. Seathwaite Fell is the spur running out to the right of Sprinkling Tarn, which is centre left of photo
Esk Hause, no not the cross shelter lower down on the pass between Langdale and Wasdale, but the meeting of paths of Borrowdale, Eskdale, Wasdale and Langdale, 30 metres higher than the cross shelter and the true Esk Hause. The pointy fell in the distance is Harter Fell (Eskdale). Due to this constant mistake Esk Hause is not listed as the highest pass in the Lakes (sticks Pass is), however it is, mistake corrected.
The path leads off to the cross shelter. The Langdale Pikes are now in view, the cloud base can be seen clearly and sits around the 850 mark, which is bang on the MWIS forecast
Ascending Esk Pike now and views along Langstrath, which you may recognise from the Countryfile closing credits, which drops on to the valley and heads along it. Glaramara is up on the left and the Helvellyn range is the far row of fells
The walk up Esk Pike was pretty treacherous, the wind was fierce blowing up Eskdale and was absolutely bitter, and it was intent on blowing me into Langstrath, but I made the top and hunkered down to take these photos. The River Esk is in shot, but the cloud has dropped to cover the views but it will be up and down for the next 20 minutes giving me some fine photos
Langstrath through the cloud from the summit of Esk Pike
Bowfell appears with dramatic clouds above
Descending to Ore Gap now and the sun hits the area around High Raise Central fells). Rosset Pike can be seen below, which is my next target
The red soil signals the arrival of Ore Gap and the haematite in the ground. Lingcove Beck starts from this point, heading that way towards Harter Fell. I’m heading behind this photo towards Angle Tarn
Dropping down to Angle Tarn and the sun lights up Sergeants Crag beautifully. Rain passes behind
A peep of Angle Tarn and the ridge up to Rosset Pike with the Langdale Pikes beyond
Angle Tarn and Hanging Knotts behind
A short climb to Rossett Pike gives these views down Mickelden which are just jaw dropping
Looking back form the summit of Rossett Pike with Esk Pike up to the left, Great End is back middle and Allen Crags to the right, my next objective is Esk Hause which is the dip above the cairn
Rainbow over Langstrath, I’d made good time to this point (about 1pm) and figured that any bail out plans down Grains Gill could be shelved for the route to Glaramara
On ascending Rossett Pike I’d spied the Great Slab on Bowfell, the sun hit it as I descended to Angle Tarn giving a fine perspective of this fabulous natural spectacle
Approaching Esk Hause and you can see the up and down nature of this path from Rossett Pike (centre). The bowl hiding Angle Tarn is below Hanging Knotts is the the right and the unmistakeable Langdale Pikes to the left
On reaching Esk Hause (lower) I headed up to Allen Crags and the sun was performing behind me, as it shines brightly on Bowfell with Esk Pike to the right. Pointy Pike O’Blisco left of Bowfell
Allen Crags summit looking to Glaramara, I was starting to flag at this point and was grateful first for the group ahead who I could follow, and the downhill section to High House Tarn
Dropping off Allen Crags and Sprinkling Tarn catches the sun with Great Gable behind
That’s Base Brown on the left and the North Western fells behind, plus a sunny looking Derwent Water mid right
A damp looking High House Tarn and the Langdale Pikes, this is supposed to be a popular camping spot however there’s a tarn nearer to Allen Crags which is far better in my opinion
About to climb Pinnacle Bield and I look back to Allen Crags up to the right (which gives perspective on the drop off Allen Crags to this point). Esk Pike peeking out to the left, behind Allen Crags and Bowfell further left
The Helvellyn Range
Glaramara summit looking towards Derwent Water
And back towards Bowfell left, Great End right and Esk Pike in the centre free from cloud. The cloud behind me is looking a bit more menacing now and darker
Glaramara to the Langdales
Descending just off the top of Glaramara and the view to Borrowdale and a sunny Derwent Water
Just after the last photo a hit a tricky patch (I really should have read the Wainwright book on the Glaramara summit properly), I required plenty of arse sliding, slipping and 5 points of contact (Arse crampon as the brilliant Tessa at Mountains and Malbec calls it). The guys in red are on the path but left of the tricky parts which involve a bit of dropping down, in my case, some very slippy wet rock
I’d done a bit of an error by passing the top of Hind Gill, to be fair its not obvious at all and requires a walk over boggy flat ground to hit this point, the rule is if descending Glaramara heading to Combe Head and you cross a stream then stop, and head downwards from there as best you can. Hit this point and you are on track and will find a better path heading down. The guys that I followed off Allen Crags are still ahead of me, which is good as it is raining now
It stops raining briefly and I get a fine view down to Seathwaite, still along way below
Descending past Hind Crag and Taylorgill Force is in view now, as is Seathwaite Fell, after this is a long grassy, rocky descent, which at the end of this walk was hard work. But it did get me back down to Seathwaite in 50 minutes
On my outgoing path now, that way is Stockley Bridge and Seathwaite Fell looms, Grains Gill to the left
Hind Gill is the obvious dark cut up the side of Glaramara with Hind Crag on the right. The end of a fine walk, kind of cobbled together but a really good day. The plan next was to tick off Eagle Crag, Sergeant’s Crag and maybe around to Ullscarf, however the weather was to put pay to that, as the Lakes was deluged in rain.

4 thoughts on “Seathwaite Fell, Esk Pike and Glaramara

    • I’d recommend the way up Seathwaite Fell that I did, It was quick and not too steep at all, the path up was pretty good and follows a little stream and is mainly grassy and then more stones near the top. You can then add on Esk Pike, then up and down Allen Crags and return via Grains Gill. Glaramara can be done with Bessyboot or as a solo walk over Combe Head. Same for Rossett Pike via Mickelden

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  1. A superb walk in wild and stormy conditions that I really enjoy. Hell of big day as well, especially in uncertain weather. Seathwaite Fell is an annoying gap in my Wainwrights list, the only one in that area I haven’t done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was as confident as you can be that the weather was going to be dry with maybe the odd shower. I though the cloud might be lower but MWIS were pretty spot on by saying the cloudbase would lower to 800m at times. Its a big day with plenty of up and down (hence my training on the coastal paths 🙂 The wind however was a lot stronger than I expected. The only part that I thought was long, was the section to Glaramara at the end, its further than I expected, however it came on the back of 3 quick bags in Esk Pike, Rossett and Allen Crags so I was on a high then. I can recommend the route I took to Seathwaite Fell, the small gill is easily seen from below as a possible ascent and there’s a cairn just off the path marking the start plus its in the wainwright book on the map anyway. This ascent means you don’t need to do and out and back to it also and can explore more afterwards

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