9th April 2011

It doesn't get much better than this - Great End to Base Brown from Seathwaite


Walk Overview
Time 07.40 to 16.45
Duration 9 hr 5 min
Distance 12 mile
Ascent 5700 ft
Walking with Richard Ratcliffe, Neil Haselwood and Peter Burgess for the final section of the walk
Seathwaite - Styhead Pass - Styhead Tarn - Sty Head - Sprinkling Tarn - top section of The Band - Great End - Esk Hause - Sprinkling Tarn - Seathwaite Fell - Great Slack -Sty Head - Great Gale - Windy Gap - Green Gable - Base Brown - Gillercomb - Sourmilk Gill - Seathwaite
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking leading to Seathwaite, Borrowdale

The popularity of the fells around here are more than reflected in the number of cars you find lining the road from Seathwaite Farm working back in the direction of Seatollor. I'm almost tempted to say that this is somewhere you'll never fail to get parked. Simply join the back of the line on the grass verge.

Parking is free and there is a tea room and toilets at Seathwaite.


Route Map

Seathwaite Farm. Apparently this is the wettest inhabited place in England or at least it's supposed to get more rain than anywhere else, that's what they really mean to say. I'm sure the figures must have been thrown a little off course today. Whenever I arrange to meet up with people for a walk we generally end up waiting until the day before to confirm that the weather is 'acceptable'. There was no need to question today's conditions because they was about as good as you could possibly hope for.

Seathwaite fell looms large ahead of us and although we did end up walking over the fell, at this stage Seathwaite Fell was still down as a "wait and see what we feel like later in the walk" place.
Our route took us diagonally up the bottom of the fell and above the trees.

Approaching Stockley Bridge.

A look across from our route shows the scree, crags and the steep gullies on the side of Base Brown. One of our group has actually walked up the middle gully. In his words "not a route he'd recommend", in my words "far to close to nature".

Early morning peace and quiet at Styhead Tarn.
The movement on the water shows it was a bit breezy up here today.

A familiar landmark at Sty Head is the MRT Stretcher Box seen here in front of Broad Crag, Scafell Pike and Lingmell.

Great Gable and Green Gable. I know we're walking away from them at the moment, but they were both included on the walk.

Shortly after passing Sprinkling Tarn we left the path to take a somewhat unconventional route onto The Band. From here you can see the lumpy, bumpyness of Seathwaite Fell.

A surprised Richard realises I'm taking his picture. The angle of Richard against the fell shows how steep it was on here.


Seathwaite Fell and Sprinkling Tarn.

This bit was steep as well.

This small rock shelf provided some welcome respite from the steepness and also a fine view down to Wasdale Head.

Looking across to Ill Crag, Scafell Pike and Broad Crag from Great End summit.

Heading back down to Sprinkling Tarn.

Sprinkling Tarn is a lovely spot and rather than take what you'd probably call the normal route past the tarn to Seathwaite Fell, we followed the eastern shoreline instead. It's not a huge distance away from the norm, but it does give you a different perspective on things; which is always good.

A group photo.
I'm the one wearing glasses, Richard has a cap on and Neil is wearing gaiters.

The best view (IMHO) is from the cairn on the northern end of Seathwaite Fell rather than from it's highest point which is found further back towards Sprinkling Tarn. The valley below is the Seathwaite arm of Borrowdale, Derwent Water can be seen around the centre of the photo and Skiddaw / Blencathra are in the far distance.

Great Gable taken from Seathwaite Fell.

After leaving the highest point on the fell, we headed down through this interesting little section of fellside. All you geologists out there will be pleased to hear that Richard did point out a few things, unfortunately I've forgotten most of it already. It's a good job there wasn't a test at the end of the walk otherwise I'd have been standing in the corner facing the wall. Ahhhhh that reminds me of how I spent most of my early teens.

Another steep climb on today's walk was from Styhead up to Great Gable. The walk up wasn't a busy as we'd expected it to be, but the summit was quite crowded with lots of picnic parties huddled as close to the top as they could get.

Looking back down to Styhead Tarn.

All this space yet most people would rather sit cramped together at the summit. Never mind, at least I could take a picture of this view without anyone in it.

I assume it was just the height that caused it to look cloudy / hazy over there. When I got home (over there) it was perfectly clear.

Lunch with a view of Green Gable and Base Brown.

Just before reaching Windy Gap, I took this picture looking down Aaron Slack to Styhead Tarn.

A view across Windy Gap to Green Gable; our final steep 'up' of the day.

From Windy Gap itself, you get this view down to the secluded end of Ennerdale.

Green Gable summit.

Base Brown summit.

We doubled back from Base Brown to head down into Gillercomb; one of the many hanging valley found in the Lake District.

It took a bit of coordinating but it worked out in the end. The guy walking towards us was Pete Burgess who had hoped to meet up with us at some point along our route. Richard and Pete has sent progress texts back and forth throughout the day. So when you consider the complicated route we'd taken and the fact that Pete had driven up from London, we did pretty will to meet up at all.

And after a fantastic long day on the fells, here's a final picture looking down to Seathwaite.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks