Date & Time: Saturday 10th May 2008. 10.15 am start.
Location of Start : Seathwaite Farm, Borrowdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 237 125 )
Places visited : Stockley Bridge, Seathwaite Fell, Stickle Tarn, Custs Gully (almost), Great End, Esk Hause, Allen Crags, Grains Gill, Stockley Bridge and back.
Walk details : 7.2 mls, 3000 ft of ascent, 6 hrs 40 mins including 2 half lunches.Highest point : Great End 2,984ft ( 910m)
Walked with : Jo, John, Ann and the dogs, Megan, Jodie, Polly, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : Hot and sunny and humid to start but it got cooler and we even had a few raindrops.
Stockley Bridge at the start and end of the walk
Sunny weather, the desire not to travel abroad and the Wainwright phenomena have brought more people than ever to the Lakes this year.
We go to a popular place . . . but pass few people by choosing a slightly different route.
Seathwaite Farm at the head of Borrowdale.
There's some new barns being built. They will be slate roofed and stone clad and should look good as well as be a big help to the farmer.
We set off up the valley and were immediately greeted by a dozen friendly faces.
The dogs gave these two a wide berth but they are very used to people, considering the numbers that pass by them each day.
Stockley Bridge, it's waterfall and lower pool.
John and Ann passing the trees at the 1,000 ft boulder.
The same trees far below as we divert up our first " unfrequented route" ~ a direct ascent of Seathwaite Fell.
The summit of Base Brown behind as Ann and Jo reach easier ground at the head of the climb.
Technically it could be considered a scramble as our hands did touch the ground, but it was grass all the way.
Sunshine and a steep climb made everyone hot
but it was just the dogs that enjoyed a dip in the small summit tarn.
Seathwaite's northern summit and the view to Great End
We then had a delightful walk along the length of Seathwaite Fell
enjoying it's many small tarns along the way.
A wide view of the northern face of Great End with it's fine gullies and rock climbing routes.
The main path up Scafell Pike crosses just beyond the tarn and contunues on to Esk Hause before ascending behind the left hand edge of the crags.
Our second " unfrequented route " would take us up the right hand side of the fell and close to Custs Gully, the short dark cleft in the centre of the photo.
[ Hover your cursor over the picture to see the route.]
Sprinkling Tarn outflow as Ann and Jo reach the stepping stones.
Behind is the fine view of Great Gable and Green Gable, with Windy Gap at the head of Aaron Slack between the two.
John and I pause for a moment as the girls start up the indistinct path onto The Band on Great End.
At it's top we join the small path that had come up from Styhead Tarn.
A photo stop on the top of the Band
Somewhere around here it started specking with rain, but it never amounted to much, so our coats stayed tucked firmly in our rucksacks today.
The route then turned again and started up through the broken ground.
While indistinct, it occasionally made itself known by freshly disturbed small scree shutes or over-wide looking sheep tracks.
It was an enjoyable ascent as can be seen by John's face.
There was a fine, if hazy, view of the Langdale Pikes over Allen Crags and the upper section of Ruddy Gill.
It was this gully and the chock-stone that featured in the fictional ascent of Great End by the mountaineer / explorer cats in Scratch and Co.
The western and more dramatic summit of Great End overlooking Great Gable and the distant Grasmoor.
We found a patch of grass just below the top to enjoy the rest of our lunch
and watch all the people walking the well trodden route to Scafell Pike in the distance.
Zooming in on the summit of the highest point in England, with today's many visitors.
Not for us today though . . . we're off in the other direction, down to Esk Hause.
As we passed the shelter below Esk Hause, we decided to add Allen Crags to our route today.
We would continue on ahead rather than turn left for the Ruddy Gill / Grains Gill descent path.
With a back drop of Great End again, Ann and Jo reach the top of Allen Crags.
"Unfrequented route number three"
We getting to like this off the beaten track idea, so we head down the grass slopes of the fell, rather than take the busy path back to the hause.
The dogs appreciated a dip in another small tarn.
Despite seemingly to split up, we were all within talking distance and very soon met up at the head of Grains Gill to start our descent.
Ooops, off track again as we take the green footpath on the map down the right hand side of the Grains Gill valley.
If you want to try it, look for the Christmas Tree and keep walk beneath it. It's a little boggy in places but much softer and easier on the feet.
Custs Gully stands out clearly as the shorter gully on the right hand side of the Great End crags.
The Christmas Tree can be seen far above us now as we continue our easy descent.
John breaks off early and makes for the main track. I'm staying on high ground for a little longer.
By the time we reach the top footbridge our routes had coincided and we were all walking the footpath again.
A busy scene at Stockley Bridge on our return.
The weather had improved and temperatures were high again, so several folk were down by the river enjoying the cooling effects of the water.
The flat valley heralded the end of a glorious day's walking even though the weather had been rather hazy and distant views rather poor.
The humid conditions had almost given way to thundery rain, but that too had stayed away
and we ended the walk with the same warm, humid conditions that we started with, just six hours or so before.
A final shot of the sunset over Buttermere on our way home.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a comprehensive Wainwright guide book of the Southern Fells.
Previous walk - 7th May 2008 Devoke Water and six outliers
A previous time up here - 13th October 2006 A Great End to our "428 Wainwright Fells"