7th March 2007

An afternoon around Greendale Tarn skyline


Walk Overview
Time 12.40 to 16.20
Duration 3hr 40 min
Distance 5.8 mile
Ascent 2448 ft
Walking with On my own
Greendale - Middle Fell - Winscale Hows - Seatallan - Cat Bields - Buckbarrow - Tongues Gills - Greendale
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, Greendale hamlet, Wasdale

This isn't really a car park as such, it just seems to have been adopted as one because of its closeness to the trio of fells around Greendale Tarn.

Parking is free and I've never failed to get a space here.


Route Map

Setting out on the track behind the little hamlet of Greendale and looking across to the crags below Buckbarrow.

And turning in the opposite direction to see Lingmell and the Scafells which were under cloud.

After walking walking up Middle Fell sheltered from the wind and in warm sunshine, I was surprised at just how icy the wind was up here. On the walk up my idea had been to sit at the top and have something to eat while I had this fantastic view across to Wast Water and the Scafells; that plan was soon scrapped after I'd stood here for a couple of minutes. With food on the brain and a rumbling stomach carried on until I reached the slightly more sheltered col between Middle Fell and Seatallan.

A couple of minutes after leaving the summit I took this close up picture showing the hanging valley of Over Beck with Dore Head / Stirrup Crag (front) and Kirk Fell Crags and Black Sail Pass (behind).

And the extended view looking in almost the same direction.

The high pointed fell in the centre of the picture is Great Gable with Kirk Fell to its left and Yewbarrow running in front of them both.

Looking ahead to Seatallan.

A route straight across and up to the summit is possible; very steep and very loose under foot I should point out, but still manageable with a bit of care. Today I took an easier option and walked across the lower (wet) ground in the shade, followed a narrow path to the right of Seatallan before ascending along an off path route.

Yewbarrow in front of the Scafells.

A close up of Great Gable and Kirk Fell.

The view across The Pots of Ashness to Haycock.

Seatallan summit.

From Seatallan I followed the gentle grassy ridge down to Cat Bields and Buckbarrow, before taking an off path route across to this cairn, which seems to have been built almost in the middle of nowhere. The path I followed back to Greendale actually starts a little way below the cairn, so I'm tempted to think the cairn simply marks the start / end of that path. On the other hand, why would a decent path such as this suddenly end here and be marked with such a prominent cairn, instead of continuing across to join up with Buckbarrow route.

Illgill Head and Whin Rigg above The Screes and Wast Water.

And again (without Whin Rigg) from further down the route.

Here's where I start to sound really sad, but it made my day to see that this sheepfold has been repaired / restored to the way they should look. There must be hundreds of these sheepfolds / shelters scattered throughout the fells. Some of them are nothing more than a simple curved wall providing shelter for the sheep during periods of heavy snow, whereas others are often quite elaborate affairs consisting of several "enclosures" used by shepherds from different farms or even different valleys to separate out their own sheep. One thing they all have in common is that they're slowly but surely falling into a state of ruin.

Like everything else in life the deciding factor is usually money and there's also the argument that the Lake District shouldn't be turned into a museum, but I personally thing it would be a shame if these little pieces of history were allowed to disappear altogether.

Almost back at Greendale now and a view looking in the same direction as the second picture.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks