Oak Cottage - Loweswater

Retreat to the quiet of the Western Lakes

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Time and place : 25th February 2004. Middle Fell and Buckbarrow in Wasdale, Cumbria.

Occasion : A perfect winter's day walk with Ann and the dogs, starting at 1pm from the fell road.

Walk details : Up Greendale Beck to Middle Fell then skirt under Seatallan to Buckbarrow and its crags. 6mls, 1950 ft of ascent, 4.5 hours.

Weather : Clear blue skies and excellent visibility but zero temp and a fresh north easterly wind.

Sometimes we decide to walk in a particular area for a variety of reasons... maybe friends visiting want a to climb aparticular fell or do a specific walk.... perhaps the last time we climbed the view was missing due to the weather.... it may just be an old favourite..... or, as was the case today, it was just such a great view last time that the Fell is calling out to be climbed again.

With just that reason we set off to travel the 35 minutes to Wasdale with the aim to climb Middle Fell and Buckbarrow. Last time was the summer of 1999 and there was one factor in common with today's ascent - it was a clear, sunny day with superb visibility. The difference? Well last time it was an exceptionally hot day with virtually no breeze but today was extremely cold with a stiff north-easterly !

To avoid a road walk at the end of the day we parked under Buckbarrow fell and walked towards Wastwater. Ahead of us was the Scafell massif with Lingmell, Scafell Pike and Scafell. To the right and in shade at this time was the Wasdale Screes, also known to Wainwrighters as Whin Rigg and Illgill Head.

Leaving the road we skirted under the crags of Buckbarrow. As we climbed we found this rock formation, suitably augmented by additional stones, which formed a delightful "park bench" and viewpoint for the countryside below.

Despite the cold we soon warmed in the sun and the crags offered fair protection from the wind. Ann was tempted to take off her windproof top at the seat in the stones on the way up - only to round the corner and into the teeth of the wind !! She had to return to the sheltered spot to pop it on once again !

Illgill Head and the Wasdale Screes from the seat.


The waterfalls in Greendale Gill looked particularly inviting and the pools even large enough for a swim,

until a gust of the cold northerly winter breeze brought us back to reality.

We crossed a number of small streams and then Greendale Gill itself before making a pathless ascent of Middle Fell to the summit ridge. The views were exactly as remembered - the Scafells seemed almost close enough to touch.

The Scafells viewed across the slopes of Middle Fell.

Wainwright says "As a viewpoint for the point for the Wasdale fells Middle Fell summit is magnificently placed, and it is fitting that a reward such as this should be earned only by effort".

Greendale Tarn

with Seatallan to the left, Haycock center, and Scoat Fell (Steeple) to the right.

Visibility was so good that the Isle of Man stood out clearly above the chimneys of Sellafield. We could see both shipping in the Irish Sea and the Gas Rigs of Liverpool Bay way to the south.

The Head of Wast Water from our lunch spot at the summit of Middle Fell.

Click here or on the photo for a full size panorama.

Illgill Head - click here or on the photo for another large size panorama.


We had our lunch in the lee of the summit cairn, but the wind had other ideas for us. It whipped around the side of the cairn and was full in our face - no lying about in the sun today !!


With gathering cloud approaching from the north east, we made our way to the saddle leading to Seatallan, and then cut across its flanks on a rather boggy ( if mostly frozen ) pathless moorland across to Buckbarrow.

You know those occasions when you come across a land or rock feature and suddenly it changes its form and reminds you of something else.

We found one such rock on the climb up Langdale Pikes where it looked as if there was a chap in a flat cap sitting for a rest, quietly minding his own business whilst he slowly puffed on his pipe (ghostly or what?)

Today we found Winnie the Pooh lying back and relaxing against a rock while he soaked up the afternoon sun.

Well it was a nice day after all !!


At Glade How and Buckbarrow we explored all the cairns and viewpoints and marvelled at the fantastic colours of the setting sun on the Screes opposite. We then made the steepish descent to the road and our car. But wait ! The wonders of the day were still to continue - not only a lovely sunset over the Isle of Man, but also a distant view of Snowdon as it caught the fading light.

The westernmost crag of Buckbarrow silhouetted in evening light.

The bright greens of the fields of Buckbarrow Farm contrasted vividly with the dull browns of the winter bracken.

The low sun was casting shadows which threw the Screes into even greater relief

Click here or on the picture for a larger panorama.

( Remember press F11 will give a full page view if using Internet Explorer - press F11 again to undo)


Greendale Farm and the cottages from Buckbarrow Crags


Long shadows and a warm glow both over us and the fells.

The afternoon cloud was dispersing again as the sun sank towards the sea.

Sunset over the Irish Sea.

Far away to the south (but not showing well on the photo) the hills of Snowdonia, with the seaward panorama extending north to the sun setting over the Isle of Man.

Sunset colours over the island.


A truly lovely walk, and as proof of the cold the underside of Holly's fur was frozen where she had been in the various streams and water caught in the hems of our trousers was also turned to ice!

No problem - that was soon defrosted by a roaring fire in the Wheatsheaf at Gosforth.


Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon IXUS 400 Digital camera.

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

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