So, after completing my 1000 miles challenge in 2019 (hurrah!!!) I made a start for 2020 with a local walk around the Plantations on New Years Day. But I was still itching to get out into the hills, so as Friday looked like it was going to be a decent day and I was still on holiday from work, I decided to head off up to the Lakes and tackle Seat Sandal, the mountain that dominates the view to the north from the western and southern shores of Grasmere.
Rather than scrabble for a parking space in one of the lay-byes on the A591, I parked up in Grasmere. Some walkers are reluctant to pay the parking fee but I don’t think £8 for the day is unreasonable – especially when you compare it with what you have to pay in central Manchester. Starting from Grasmere added 2 or 3 miles along a rough road to my walk, but that wasn’t a problem.
I set off on a bright sunny morning with bright blue winter sky. A little chilly but I was wrapped up and you soon warm up walking.
Leaving the car park there was a good view of my objective.
I walked into the village, stopping at Lucia’s takeaway to buy one of their Cumberland sausage rolls to make sure I had fuelled up ready for my walk. I then set off down Easedale Road before turning north up Helm Close, a rough road (a track in places) which took me up past fields and isolated houses, passing to the east of Helm Crag
Steel Fell dead ahead
and there’s Seat sandal with a glimpse of Fairfield to the right
My route would take me up the gill (valley) between the two mountains up to Grisedale Hause.
I crossed the busy main road – it was a bit of a blind corner so I had to take care not to get run over by the cars that speed up the road between Grasmere and Keswick – and then set off along the path up the gill
Looking back across to Helm Crag
There are two paths up towards the hause, one to each side of a minor hill, the Great Tongue. I crossed over the beck to take the right hand path, which is part of the Coast to Coast route
I was climbing up through rougher country now
Climbing up towards the hause
I eventually reached the hause and was greeted by a view of Grisedale Tarn and Dollywagon Pike
While I was walking the wind had been picking up and the cloud stared to appear covering what had been a beautiful blue sky. Here’s the view back down the gill
Time to stop for a break, shelter from the wind and grab a bite to eat, and a hot coffee from my flask.
Over to the left was my Seat sandal and a steep climb up the scree (not a route for Anabel, then!)
It certainly was a steep climb and hands were needed in a few places. But it wasn’t too bad and it didn’t take me too long to reach the top of the slope. Pausing part way a took a few snaps back down towards the Tarn and Dollywagon Pike
St Sunday Crag and the slopes of Fairfield with Ullswater just about visible in the distance down Grisedale
It was windy when I reached the summit and there was thick cloud over the fells to the west and north
Looking across to St Sunday Crag and the mighty Fairfield
After a short break to take in the views I set off down the ridge towards Grasmere – a much more gradual descent renowned for great views down to Grasmere and over to the fells to the west. Unfortunately the thick cloud rather obscured them today.
More and more cloud came in as I made my way down the ridge, but I managed to snap a few atmospheric shots (spruced up with a little manipulation with Snapseed!)
The path along the ridge eventually joined the track down the gill and I retraced my steps back towards Grasmere
The rain finally arrived as I walked along the lane back to the village. Looking back over to Seat Sandal and Fairfield looks like I got back down just in time to avoid a downpour.
I called into the village, had a browse in Sam Read’s bookshop (and was tempted to purchase a slim volume) before heading back to the car. It was just after 3 o’clock so I decided to drive up to Keswick and a visit to the Keswick Boot Company – after all the walking I’ve been doing I needed a new pair of boots
I’ll need to get out on the fells again soon – these boots are made for walking!