Sunday, 14 April 2013


Walk Summary
After nearly four weeks of high pressure over Scandinavia resulting in the coldest April for many a year with deep snow on the high fells and reasonably dry clear conditions. The transatlantic fronts decide to exert their will and start pushing wet weather across the UK and particularly the Lake District on the first day of the trip I had been meticulously planning for the last four weeks. The MWIS forecast was heavy rain all night Saturday continuing into Sunday with 50-70 mph winds gusting to 90mph at 2000ft and above, bad enough really to consider not going out at all. The one glimmer of hope was that the rain would ease off and clear round about 11:00am.

The plan for Sunday therefore would be to abandon (postpone) the longer walk along the Haycock ridge, make a later start to allow the rain to clear and cut short the Seatallen walk by missing out Middle Fell, heading straight up Greendale Beck for Seatallen then returning by the same route. After all the purpose of the trip is to complete the English Nuttalls.

As we left Wastwater Hostel at 11:00am the rain continued to fall and the tops of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head was obscurred by low cloud, so after a couple of quick photos the camera was secured in my belt pouch with waterproof cover and we set off for Greendale past High Birkhow and through Roan Wood. From the road near Greendale we could see the path disappearing in to cloud up Middle Fell confirming our earlier decision that we would miss this top and head directly for Greendale Tarn.
By the time we reached Greendale Tarn it was still raining, the cloud had close in and the wind speed increased though not anywhere near the 50-70mph forecast. The outfall from the tarn and source of Greendale Beck was easy to cross near the tarn so we took this option rather than the longer planned route along the east shore. There was also a path to follow, shown on the OS Explorer map, on a NW bearing which just so happened to be the same bearing for Seatallan summit. As the path petered out near a stream also marked on the map we continued on this bearing up steep moorland. As the ground levelled out for the summit plateau the rain had eased but we then had to contend with a strong gusty wind. Continuing on the same bearing the wind increased but after a while, as if by magic, a trip point about 70m away could just about be made out through the mist.Over to the right we headed for the smaller cairn to ensure we covered the highest point and after a photo headed for the trig point and main cairn.The rain had stopped completely and although the wind was not as strong as forecast was still enough to make us have to concentrate to stay on our feet.

With the main summit under our belt the priority now was to get off the hill and home back along the ascent route. But, not marked on the map, there was a path heading SW in the direction of Cat Bield, which although would be further was a lot easier to follow than the way we had ascended. The thick cloud threw up doubts we were heading in the right direction but careful attention to the compass was rewarded with the appearance of a significant cairn. again not marked on the map, the path veering sharply to the right as marked on the map gave me confidence we were in the correct place - Cat Bield. Soon after descending further from the cairn we dropped below the cloud line revealing Seascale and the Irish Sea. Straight ahead we could see Wasdale Screes, but not the summits and before that we could see Glade How. As the conditions improved I decided to add Glade How to our route home, from there not too far away was Buck Barrow which again was too much of a temptation not to visit.

All that remained now was to follow a path down towards Harrow Head. Quite a steep descent but an obvious route, again not marked on the map, presumably taken by many others when visiting Buckbarrow from the other direction. Once we had reached the route it was a simple matter of navigating the numerous footpaths to Woodhow via Scales Bridge. Looking back at the mass of Buckbarrow made me realise we had approached it from the correct direction. I reckon the steep ascent and complicated path to the summit in the poor conditions earlier may well have consumed any spare effort we would have needed to go on to Seatallan, thereby exonerating our decision to go for the Nuttall first. Taking this approach meant that not only did we achieve the walk objective, we did not use up a valuable contingency day at the start of the trip and as a bonus picked up an extra Wainwright and two Birketts.

Looking back I think this would have been a good strategy for previous trips and definitely one for this trip to ensure I go home with no outstanding English Nuttalls.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 14  April 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, Clive Kirk
Accommodation - Wastwater Youth Hostel
Start Point - Wastwater Youth Hostel (NY14475 04498)
Start Time - 11:06
Finish Point - Wastwater Youth Hostel (NY14475 04498)
Finish Time - 16:35
Duration - 5hrs 30mins
Average pace - 1.68mph
Distance Walked - 8.28miles
Height Ascended - 854.30metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (254)
Seatallen (245)
Hewitts (179)
Seatallen (174)
Marilyns (176)
Seatallen (58)
Wainwrights (214)
Seatallen (134)
Buckbarrow (13)
Birketts (541)
Seatallen (250)
Glade How (252)
Buckbarrow (253)
HuMPs (444)
Seatallen (99)

Other walks on this trip
14th Seatallen


Walk Description
 1.) Exit Youth Hostel facing Wastwater and turn left through the woods heading uphill to the road.
 2.) Turn left along the road then sharp right more or less straight away past High Birkhow.
 3.) As the wall ends on the right cross marshland diagonally to the right towards Roan Wood.
 4.) Follow path to the left through Road Wood until you reach the road to Wasdale Head
 5.) Turn right along road then turn left up Greendale immediately after farm building at car park.
 6.) Look out for path forking to right for Middle Fell and stay left.
 7.) Take care with steep drop to left to Greendale Beck
 8.) Where the path crosses Greendale Beck to Buckbarrow Moss stay on the east side of the Beck.
 9.) Keep the Beck on your left until you reach Greendale Tarn.
10.) Cross Greendale Beck and follow footpath on NW bearing until it disappears.
11.) After the path, continue up-hill on a NW bearing.
12.) Stay on rough moorland avoiding the craggy bits as the rate of ascent becomes fairly steep.
13.) As the ground levels out on to the summit plateau, continue to the next ridge on the same NW bearing.
14.) From this ridge you should see the trig point and main cairn.
15.) Look to your right and head to the smaller cairn.
16.) from the smaller cairn head to the trigpoint during which time you will cross the high point close to the small cairn.
17.) To return home from the trig point follow the path/quad bike track on SW bearing.
18.) In 1200m you will reach the cairn marking Cat Bield where the path veers sharply to the left down hill.
19.) Straight in front you will see Glade How cairn.
20 ) From Glade How if not before you will see the large cairn of Buckbarrow.
21.) Follow the path a short distance down then up to the cairn area.
22.) From Buckbarrow, there is not a path on the map but there is an easy to follow path down to Harrow Head.
23.) Cross the road at Harrow Head and follow the bridleway to Scale Bridge.
24.) At Scale bridge navigate carefully along the marked paths past Woodhow Tarn to Woodhow.
25.) Take the path around woodhow Farm to the road and turn left and follow road short distance to Youth Hostel.

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