Seat Sandal

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Just two days after my wander over Winter Hill and the moors, I was off out again, this time to the Lake District. The weather forecast looked good, at least for the morning, so I set out early and arrived in Grasmere for a 9 o’clock start. I arrived to be greeted with a bright blue sky in an almost deserted village – the next stage of the easing of lockdown when shops could open was only scheduled for the following Monday.

After booting up, I set off down the quiet country lanes heading towards my destination, the valley of Tongue Gill and the path up to Grisedale tarn and then up Seat Sandal, the distinctive medium sized fell that overlooks the village. I’d been up this way the January before last – before you know what landed on our shores (or, at least, before the Government woke up to it).

I passed Helm Crag (the “Lion and the Lamb”)

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with Steel Fell (the last fell I climbed before the first lockdown) ahead

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but the road veered right towards the A591. I crossed the road and set off down the lane that started to climb up the gill. On a glorious morning I couldn’t help but to keep stopping to take int the views

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looking back to Silver How
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Looking East – Helm Crag, Gibson Knot and Steel Fell

Part way up the valley it’s divided in two by a hill – the Tongue. I took the right hand fork, following the Coast to Coast walk route

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Looking back

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I carried on climbing gradually up the valley

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Some locals were keeping an eye on me

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It had been cold for a few days due to the weather coming in from the Arctic and the ground was partially frozen

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Keeping on

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I eventually reached Grisedale tarn.

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I’d found the relatively modest climb hard going – after been away from any serious walking I clearly wasn’t “fell fit” – or is it just age catching up with me? In reality, it was probably a combination of both factors. So i was glad of a rest while I refueled and took in a fix of hot coffee from my flask.

A few people passed by, most of them heading up to climb the steep path up Fairfield and I could see quite a few people up on the summit, probably tackling the horseshoe. But that wasn’t for me that day. Instead I was going to make my way up the shorter, but still steep, climb up Seat Sandal.

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Yes Anabel, I’ll be going up that scree!

So suitabably rested I started to make my way slowly up the hill. The scree made the start of the climb a little tricky and then there was a bit of a scramble up the rock – taking care as there was ice, some of it quite thick, in places.

There were great views behind me, so I was able to punctuate my climb with a few short breaks for photos

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Dollywagon Pike to the left, Saint Sunday Crag to the right an Ullswater just visible down Grisedale

It didn’t take too long to reach the summit. Unlike the more popular (and higher) Fairfield, it was very quiet and I saw only two other walkers (and another two on the way down later).. It was a good clear day so there were good views over the Lakeland Fells and I could even see over the Solway across to Scotland.

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Looking North West
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Looking down to Grasmere. I could see the Coniston Fells and Coniston Water in the distance

I used my camera to zoom in for some shots

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There’s Bowfell and the Scafells
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Great Gable in the middle of the shot
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Skiddaw with Scotland on the horizon

I chatted with one of my fellow walkers (she’d come over Fairfield first and hadn’t enjoyed the descent to Grisedale Tarn down the long, steep scree slope), fortified myself with a sandwich and coffee and soaked in the views, before starting my descent back down towards Grasmere.

Cloud had been coming over the course of my walk, but Seat Sandal was still in the bright sunshine. Suddenly, I noticed some white flakes falling to the ground. Yes it was snow and it seemed to be falling out of a bright blue sky.

the little white dots you might be able to make out in this picture if youare snowflakes not marks on your screen!

Looking over to the south I could see that the snow was coming from a dark cloud over towards Fairfield and was drifting over. I’ve heard of four seasons in a day but never experienced what seemed like four seasons simultaneously! But that’s the Lakes for you.

I continued my descent.

Looking backwards

Grasmere village had been sitting under a cloud for mst of my descent and was in shadow.

The path rejoined the track I’d tken up from Grasmere near to the A591. I walked down the lane, crossed over the main road and retraced my steps back to the village, passing new born Herdwick lambs with their mother in the fields.

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It was still quite quiet when I arrived in Grasmere as none of the shops were open. There was a queue though at Lucina’s cafe, which I joined to treat myself to a take out coffee and cake. I sat on a bench on the small green to consume my purchases just as the snow began to fall, fairly heavily at first. But the shower soon moved on and the snow didn’t stick.

I had a little wander round the village, doing a little window shopping in Sam Read’s bookshop,but with everything being shut and weather becoming less pleasant it was time to head back to the car and set off back for home. It had been good to get back up to the Lakes. It will be busier now as we start to move out of the current lockdown. I’ve plans for a short break up there in the summer and I hope to get back up for the occassional day walk over the next few months – before the next wave hits us.

20 thoughts on “Seat Sandal

  1. Such a long time since I was at Grisedale tarn. What a good day you had there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Grasmere quiet. I love that little bookshop too, and I’m glad the pandemic hasn’t seen it off.

    • Yes unusual for Grasmere – a sign of the times. I doubt that it’s quiet now!
      Mind you, even under more normal circumstances it’s not too difficult to get away from the masses – and I do love browsing in Sam Read’s (and getting a pre or post walk snack from Lucia’s). I was tempted by at least 2 books on display in the window – lucky it was shut as my TBR pile is far too big at the moment. Bookends in Keswick is another favourite.

      • Yes, I know Bookends. I usually end up browsing those places around the middle of a week’s stay when the books I’ve brought with me fail to engage. Of the bookshops closer to home Broadhursts in Southport is a favourite, and I’d be gutted if that one ever closes.

      • I’ve not been to Southport for yonks. It used to be a regular visit when I was young as my Great Grandparents lived there in a flat ovelooking Nevill Street. My paternal grandparents both grew up in Southport and I still have relations there.
        But I’ve never neen in Broadhursts!

      • Broadhursts is definitely worth a look. My dad used to spend hours in there. I often do the same.

    • I hope we get back to normal soon and you can get down to Grasmere and, no doubt, Lancrigg. I doubt you’ll get a chance to fulfil that fantasy, though.
      I am determined to get up to the Highlands and Islands. Perhaps next year when I really start to wind down properly, providing the English are still allowed to visit 😉

  2. Sounds – and looks – like a lovely day. Knees and hip keep me from doing but I’m going up for a look round very soon, maybe Grasmere itself. Can’t wait.

  3. What a lovely walk … and climb you’ve been on. The changing weather and light, I love it !!
    I hope we will get rid of those waves soon 😢 But wisely to plan ahead ✌

  4. It’s a nice little fell with some grand views and none of the crowds of all the adjacent hills. April has certainly been a very mixed month of weather – to say the least!

    • Thanks Kathy. It was a good day out.
      I’m out of action now for a few weeks as I had my op on Wednesday. So stuck resting for a couple of weeks at least ☹️

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