8th June 2008

Caw to Dow Crag, and a dried up Seathwaite Tarn


Walk Overview
Time 08.30 to 14.30
Duration 6 hr
Distance 9.3 mile
Ascent 3370 ft
Walking with On my own
Seathwaite - Park Head Road - Caw - Pikes - White Pike - White Maiden - Walna Scar Road - Blind Tarn - Buck Pike - Dow Crag - Seathwaite Tarn - Bottom of Walna Scar Road - Dunnon Valley Road - Seathwaite
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces near Seathwaite Church, Duddon Valley

With only enough room for about four cars, this is somewhere that fills up very early in the day. The alternative is to park next to the Newfield Inn found a couple of minutes walk along the road.

Parking is free.


Route Map

It was a gorgeous morning when I left Seathwaite and at 8.30 and it was already starting to warm up nicely.
I'm not sure what was going on in this field today, but they certainly picked a good day. When I got back at the end of the walk it was full of cars and people.

The first section of the walk took me along Park Head Road, a lovely stretch of path running through some pleasant countryside. And even though the start of the track may be a bit rough under foot, this does nothing to spoil the walk.

The view back down Park Head Road.

Looking down to the southern area of the Dunnerdale Fells from Caw summit.

The Dunnerdale Fells, including the area I'd walked across today, offer the inquisitive walker more than ample opportunity for exploration, where it never seems quite right to do the same route more than once. The area is an undulating confusion of rocks, crags and boggy bits; almost as though all the unwanted material left over from when the rest of the Lake District was made were simply thrown down here; out of sight out of mind, so to speak. And I know all you geologists out there will already be saying that I'm talking a load of rubbish, because the Lake District was actually formed by, , , , well we needn't go into all that I don't think. But the out of sight out of mind bit is certainly correct. And while this is indeed a good thing for those of us who delight in this fantastic area, where we can always manage to walk, perhaps not 'far from', but certainly at a reasonable distance from the madding crowd. On the other hand, it's a shame that so many people fail to experience this type of fell walking. No doubt it's a case that these fells can't begin to compete with the lure of the "big ones", seen at the back of this picture.

Duddon Valley.

Dow Crag, Brown Pike, Buck Pike and in the distance is Coniston Old Man, taken between White Pike and White Maiden.

And from White Maiden, looking down to Coniston Water.

Blind Tarn, so called because it has no outflow.
There is actually a different path to the tarn than the one I took today. The other path, which is a little lower down the fellside, is much easier and also avoids a short section of scree. The reason for my route was to visit some ruined quarry buildings and to get a photo of the tarn from above.

Now I had to decide how I was going to get onto the Dow Crag ridge (above). This was the first time I'd been to Blind Tarn on my way up, in the past I'd always visited the tarn as an out and back while I'd been walking down the Walna Scar Road, so my intention today had been to walk back to the Walna Scar Road and then take the obvious route up to the ridge. After standing here for a few minutes weighing up the situation I decided to take a more direct line up from the tarn. It turned out to be very steep, but manageable enough in bone dry condition like these. Not a route I'd consider in the wet.

On the ridge now and looking across to Dow Crag.

Goat's Water.

Climbers on Dow Crag. The first people I'd seen since setting off from Seathwaite.

And not so close up.


After leaving Dow Crag I took an off path route down to Seathwaie Tarn, but a water level like this was something I didn't expect to see today. I know we haven't had much rain for a couple of months or so, but this just seems to be a bit too low. Are they draining it for some reason?

At least with the water being so low I had the opportunity to have a look around this seemingly random pile of stones. Which, upon closer inspection turned out to be a ruined building of some sort. On what must have been the inside, there were quite a few roof tiles, complete with nail holes.


Looking back up the track which leads from the tarn to the bottom of the Walna Scar Road.

Walking along the narrow road between Walna Scar Road and the main Duddon Valley road. (looking back)


Outside Seathwaite Church.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks