Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat

The May Day Bank Holiday Monday was the first day of my short break in Borrowdale. I wanted to make the most of my time off so I packed over the weekend and so was able to set off reasonably early up the M6 towards the Lakes. The traffic was lighter than I expected for a Bank Holiday – probably a combination of the early start and a less than promising weather forecast.

I’d planned a walk over on the eastern side of Derwent Water which would take in some moderate sized fells and a couple of well known “beauty spots”. After a fairly easy drive, I parked up late morning in the National Trust car park at Great Wood, donned my walking gear and then set off up the path through the woods.

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Lots of bluebells to be seen

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My first destination was somewhere I’d visited a few times, including last August – Walla Crag. The path climbed up through the woods, eventually reaching a path where we turned right towards Castlerigg farm. Views opened up over Derwent Water, the fells to the west of the lake, and, to the north, Skiddaw and Blencathra.

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Skiddaw
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Blencathra
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After the farm there was a shortish, steep climb up the fell before I reached the top of Walla Crag, where I stopped for a bite to eat and to take in the views. They were pretty good even though it was something of a grey day.

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Looking over Derwent Water with Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance

Time to get moving again. During previous walks up here I’d turned off down one of the routes back down to the lake but this time I took the path that would lead me over to Bleaberry Fell, a relatively modest fell at 1,936 feet high – not quite a mountain if you take the definition as 2,000 feet. It looked enticingly close, but looks can be deceiving!

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Looking towards Bleaberry fell

Part of the way to the summit the rain that had been promised arrived. But it didn’t last long and had moved on after less than 20 minutes. I was still glad I was wearing my waterproof coat, mind, and needed to use the waterproof cover for my rucksack.

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Looking over to the top of Borrowdale. and the high fells, including Scafell Pike and Great Gable

Another relatively short, steep climb and I was on the summit. Time for a coffee from my flask while I looked out over the fells. Despite the cloud and grey skies, visibility wasn’t too bad and I see over to Helvellyn in the east and the high mountains at the top end of Borrowdale.

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I wasn’t the on;y one on the summit of Bleaberry Fell
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Looking across to the fells to the west of Derwent Water
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Looking over to Blencathra
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It’s raining over Thirlmere. The rain obscuring the view of Helvelyn. But no rain on Bleaberry Fell. That’s the Lake District for you. Rain in one valley and none in the next

I might have turned around and retraced my steps back down the hill, but I decided to carry on to the next summit, High Seat, which was about a mile away. Another fell I’d never climbed. It’s a few feet higher than Bleaberry Fell, and at 1,995 feet is again just short of a mountain

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The modest looking bump in the mid-ground is High Seat

It looks like a relatively easy walk over to High Seat. There isn’t much loss in altitude and the terrain is fairly flat. But looks can be deceiving. The ground is notoriously boggy and Wainwright reckons that  “this is a walk to wish on one’s worst enemy“.

I soon hit boggy ground. Fortunately, we’d had a few relatively dry weeks so it wasn’t as bad as it might have been and I managed to get across the bogs fairly unscathed. It must be horrendous in winter or after a prolonged wet spell.

I made my way to the summit cairn and once again took in the views.

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The trig point was just a few feet away

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Another walker standing on the rocky outcrop to the east of the summit with Helvellyn in the background

Time to start making my way back down. The path which would take me to Ashness Bridge was clearly visible. It looked a much better surface than the one across from Bleaberry Fell

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It was, but there were several boggy stretches to cross as I made my way back towards Derwent Water

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There were a few other people about, but it was relatively quiet

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Getting closer to the end of the descent now

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I reached the popular beauty spot at Ashness Bridge. It’s graced many a chocolate box and postcard!

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I stopped for a brief rest and removed my waterproof coat. It had turned sunny and down off the fell it was feeling warm. Then I set off down the path through the woods towards the car park, about another mile away.

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Reaching the car park, I hadn’t quite finished. I decided to walk the short distance over to Calf Cross Bay on Derwent Water.

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The Hundred Year Stones, a monument created by Peter Randall-Page to mark the centenary of the National Trust, are often at least partially submerged by the water, but not today. The level of the Lake must have been relatively low

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After a short time enjoying the tranquil atmosphere, I walked back to the car and then drove allong Borrowdale to Seatooler to check in at my B and B.

13 thoughts on “Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and High Seat

  1. I think that walk would take me about two days!
    Lots of gorgeous scenery to see on the way. The views of Derwent water with Bassenthwaite are to die for.

    • 9.8 according to my pedometer- slightly less on map (but that doesn’t take account of distance due to inclines).
      The sculptor of the Stones, Peter Randall-Page is a favourite of ours ever since we saw an exhibition of his work at the YSP

  2. Beautiful scenery. I am thinking the same as you about distance; I think the destinations keep moving, like large giants moving away, or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Eventually I suppose. 😉

    • I wouldn’t particularly recommend yomping over the morass to High Seat. Probably better climbed on the path up from Ashness Bridge. I don’t know how easy it would be to devise a circular route back there, though. Mind you, it isn’t compulsory to walk in a circle! It can be just as good to get the different views heading back the same way you came.

  3. Some great views and I’ve never walked around there although I have been to High Seat from the other direction. I used to be somewhat obsessed that walking routes had to be circular but I’ve also come to realize there is value in an out and back route like you say.

    • Circular routes certainly can provide more variety but up and back gives different views of the same landscape, so I’m happy enough to do that. In this case the swamp between the two tops wasn’t so pleasant (but would have been much worse after rain or the winter) and the views during that part of the walk weren’t so special as I was in a dip. So perhaps I should have taken more note of Wainwright. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the walk.

  4. Pingback: Walla Crag, Bleaberry Fell and Ashness Bridage | Down by the Dougie

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