14th September 2013

Seathwaite Fell to Bessyboot


Walk Overview
Time 09:25am to 5:45pm
Duration 8 hr 20 min
Distance 13 mile
Ascent 4500 ft
Walking with Rod Hepplewhite
Seathwaite - Stockley Bridge - Seathwaite Fell - Sprinkling Tarn - Esk Hause - Great End - Broad Crag - Ill Crag - Esk Hause - Allen Crags - Glaramara - Rosthwaite Cam - Tarn At Leaves - Bessyboot - Combe Gill - Strands Bridge - 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

The two of us arrived here from completely opposite directions, but our routes joined up at Keswick. So, it made sense to leave one car here and drive through Borrowdale together. As I waited, I took this picture of the Grisedale Pike appearing and then disappearing behind the cloud.

Despite the number of cars already parked alongside the road, Seathwaite was quiet this morning.
There was a definite autumnal chill in the air as we set out. Rod thought about it and decided to wear a fleece. I thought about it as well, but me being me, decided not to bother wearing a jacket and did the whole walk in short sleeves.

Ahead of us is Seathwaite Fell.

Stockley Bridge marks the end of the valley and the beginning of the walk up Styhead Pass. The first of many up hill sections on this walk.

We're just about at the 1000ft asl point and after glancing at the picture I've just taken, I reassure myself the tree is leaning over and not me.

A view backwards shows the Seathwaite arm of Borrowdale and a small section of the central ridge.

Great Gable and Green Gable taken from the route up Seathwaite Fell.

A close up of Derwent Water, Keswick and the Skiddaw Fells. We couldn't decide if the cloud was on Skiddaw itself or in front of it. Probably a little bit of both.
The smaller fell at this end of the lake is Castle Crag.

And now not so close up.

Sprinkling Tarn is passed as we make our way to the Esk Hause path.
and again, with the top of Great Gable in view behind.



Somewhere down there I suggested "going straight up instead of going around by Calf Cove". It's a rocky route but well worth the effort needed.
Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags are on the right hand side of the picture. Rossett Pike and the Langdales are further across to the left.

The rocky off path route up Great End. Notice the woolly rock on the right of the picture.


Scafell Pike and Broad Crag. I wonder how many people came across here today with the plan of "not going across to Scafell Pike". We had considerably lower but much nicer places to visit today. Scafell Pike would have been a little bit too far to walk in the opposite direction of where we actually wanted to end up.

Scafell Pike seen from Broad Crag.

Quite a bit of todays walk was spent walking on, around, and between rocks like these. Some moved when we stepped on them, most stayed firmly in place, but all of them needed to be given respect. This is ankle twisting and leg breaking terrain where you must employ some care and attention.

Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags.

Ill Crag summit in front of Scafell Pike and Broad Crag.


I didn't need a calculator to work out there were considerably more people on Scafell Pike than there were on Ill Crag. Both Ill Crag and Broad Crag top that magical 3000ft mark yet neither of them get a fraction of the attention they deserve. Depending on your point of view, this can only be described as a good thing.


Near the shelter at Calf Cove you can see some evidence of times long gone by.
In the days when tourists were brought up here on horseback by local guides, the horses would be tethered here while the 'ladies and gentlemen' rested in the shelter. Actually, it could have been the people that were tethered to stop them wandering off while the horses rested in the shelter.

Lunch with a view across to Esk Pike and Bow Fell.

The shelter; shaped like a cross so no matter which direction the wind blows, you can still get some relief from the elements.

Esk Hause is a cross roads for paths coming from lots of different directions and as a result, it's not very often you have this area to yourself. We're heading to Allen Crags, down there on the left of the picture.

Lower down Esk Hause is another shelter. Behind the shelter are the Langdales and Rossett Pike.

Great Gable and Green Gable seen above Sprinkling Tarn and taken from Allen Crags.

One of the many tarns passed along the ridge between Allen Crags and Bessyboot.

Along the ridge you get a glimpse down to Styhead Pass and some of the western / north western fell beyond.

Derwent Water, Keswick and the Skiddaw Fells.

Sunshine in Borrowdale.

Glaramara summit.

Just below the summit is the awkward bit. The people below us didn't look too keen after seeing us two shuffling our way down. As we told them at the time, it's much easier to walk up than it is to try to come down this way. There are a few long leg stretches so I can only assume people over six foot tall would find it easier than us.

Combe Head offers a great view over Borrowdale to the northern fells, across the central ridge and over to Clough Head and the Dodds.

This is what they call undulating. Between you and me, that's just a posh way of saying the area has lots of dry lumpy bits with wet boggy bits between them.


We hadn't clambered about on any rocks for half an hour so we took a short de-tour across to the top of Rosthwaite Cam.

A close up of Tarn at Leaves.

And now a picture taken from the tarn itself.

The walk down from Bassyboot always seems like hard work, no doubt because it's usually done at the end of a long walk.

Crossing Combe Gill.


Heading down to the Borrowdale road and Mountain View cottages.

The two ladies in the car you can see driving through Seatoller gave me a thank you wave after I stepped aside to let them pull out onto he main road. Little did they know I'd accidentally stepped into a patch of nettles and I spent the next ten minutes regretting this particular good deed. No problem if I'd been wearing long trousers, but I wasn't.

Well, that was certainly a fantastic day on the fells. A few more like this before the days get too short would be most welcome.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks