This is the last of my blogs for May 2016. I seem to have been fortunate to have been out in the hills a fair bit this month. This one covers an iconic hill, a further Marilyn and a good day out by Wastwater. I left home pretty early so as to get around to my start point at Overbeck Bridge by 6.30am. It is a bit of a trek from home to get to this part of the Lakes. But this was made up for by the scenery on the way round and the promise of a good forecast.
Though the photo below was taken towards the end of the walk, it shows the classic view of Yewbarrow standing proud over Wastwater.
Yewbarrow looks like a pyramid from this angle, but it is actually a long ridge with summits at each end. After a relatively gentle start, it rears up and, if you look for it, provides some easy scrambling through some rock bands. Some I had to help the dog through.
But as height was gained, the views became better and better. No wonder that Yewbarrow features in Trail Magazine’s top 100 mountain’s of Britain. Wastwater stretched away with Illgill Head and its screes on the other side of it.
We were soon at the top. This was the view along the ridge. We were soon joined by a couple who had come along from that direction. They were nearing the completion of the Wainwrights. They also warned me of a tricky descent off the far end of the ridge.
In the meantime we enjoyed the views across to the Scafells before we set off again.
Then this was the view back to the main top. The top at the far end is not at the obvious cairns but at a rock before they are reached.
Great Gable stood out to the east.
And here is Pillar to the north.
So it was time to see what the descent was like. For a (short) while it was OK if steep. Then it became a scramble and I had to guide the dog down, sometimes holding him by the scruff of the neck to ensure he could land safely on some very small landing areas. Anyway we made it and the terrain became easier and easier as we approached the col at Dore Head.
Here we saw some more people, including a guy who was running and being paced by three others. We followed them up the south ridge of Red Pike for 100m (330ft). When the contours relented slightly we broke off in a south westerly direction above Gosforth Crag.
Here is Yewbarrow, now behind us.
We had 500m of rougher ground before we descended down towards Low Tarn. We could now see our next objectives – Seatallan to the right and Middle Fell to the left.
The rough ground continued down to the tarn and along the south side that we continued beside. Towards the far end I found a rock to sit on and to have lunch. Jet took the opportunity to have a swim. It was warm though tempered with a light chill breeze. Seatallan and Middle Fell were looking closer.
After our rest, I took us to the outflow from the tarn and we followed this for a few hundred metres before turning right to cut down towards Nether Gill near its junction with Ash Gill which come down from the dip between Seatallan and Middle Fell.
Nether Gill was easy to cross and we crossed the bridleway on the far side and started up the slopes on the true left hand side of Ash Gill. A thigh burning 150m (500ft) of steep grass followed. I was glad to reach the broad expanse of the col.
Seatallan was next on the list. There was no obvious path where I emerged so I continued on a slanting rise almost due west and soon hit a narrow trail that then led straight up and easily to the dome of Seatallan. The Scafells and Great Gable were now looking somewhat further away. Yewbarrow which can be seen side on in front of the Scafells was now 3km (2 miles) away.
Because of the flat area around the trig, the views are less good here. There is also a shelter to keep the weather off. But it remained warm despite the breeze.
The true summit is not at the trig, but rather 55m away to the north east towards another cairn. Sellafield was obvious to the west. Seatallan is another Marilyn. I now just have one more Lake District Marilyn to do. I also saw my first people since cutting across country via Low Tarn. But considering the weather, it was hardly heaving – they were three in number.
It was time to move on. We followed our route up back down to the col. It was quite wet but a path up the north ridge of Middle Fell could be seen from afar. It is about a kilometre up the easy angled ridge. Things were becoming busier. A family group of eight passed me. On the top there was a single man and slightly below a couple were sunbathing.
Wastwater had come back into view.
And Sellafield could still be seen.
The final top that I was aiming for was Buckbarrow, some 2.5k away – a Wainwright I thought I may as well do since I was in the area. Buckbarrow has no significant prominence and is really only an appendage of Seatallan. I found a direct, if slightly unsatisfactory, way off Middle Fell by walking south for 100m or so and then just bailing off down the western slopes. The ground was a little more broken than the map indicated. But we safely made our way down to Greendale Gill.
I stopped to let Jet have a drink. I then started flicking water into the air from the stream and Jet (as is his wont) decided to try to catch it.
That fun over, we went south west over the expanse of moor.
Soon, in the distance, I could see what looked to be a rock or cairn sticking up. I made my way up to it. It was a cairn. It seemingly marked no particular point and was not marked on my (admittedly) old map. It was obviously well constructed. I found out later that it had been built by Joss Naylor as a cairn to mark the death of the Queen Mother.
So it was on to Buckbarrow which has a view of the screes but Wastwater is a little shy from this spot. We did not stay long.
And so we went slightly north of west to Tongues Gills. There is a path here (not marked on the map) that leads you down to Greendale Gill and the continuation of the bridleway that we had crossed over en route to Seatallan. We followed the bridleway down to the valley bottom and could look back up to the crags of Buckbarrow.
From there it was a walk along the road down to the Lake and then 2.5k on the road along the Lake itself. The place was now very busy and people had filled up most of the parking and picnic sites. Barbecues were being had, photos were being taken, sunbathing was being indulged in etc etc. Back to the reality of the Lakes on a sunny day in late Spring!