Seathwaite Fell by Grains and Taylor Gills

2 10 2020

Thu 27 Aug 2020
The second day of our Borrowdale trip. Richard was having knee problems and was walking quite slowly so we decided to set out up Grains Gill and decide at the top whether to do Esk Pike or just to do Seathwaite Fell. Either way, we were coming back down via Styhead and Taylorgill…


Photos: a mix of my Zenith film camera and Richard’s Olympus digi-point-and-shoot.

After again taking the bus down the valley to Seatoller we walked the mile and a bit to Seathwaite. The cloud-base was quite low – Seathwaite Fell was out but Great End (similar height to Esk Pike) was in and out of the cloud…

In the end, Richard decided he wasn’t really up to Esk Pike and I think we’d have run short of time and missed our tea and scones if I’d taken him up there as he couldn’t walk very fast as he’s become a bit unfit. We settled on Seathwaite Fell and I ended up being very glad we did.

I took a few atmospheric (aka cloudy) photos of Grains Gill on the way up, including the slab part of the path where Richard fell and broke his wrist one winter! (see 3rd photo)

wrist-break boulders!

Quite fancy an explore up this section!

I think the first time I did Seathwaite Fell (probably the only time and for my Wainwright-bagging), it wasn’t great weather. This day was good weather at that level but not so good higher up. I’d forgotten what a scenic fell it is – little tarns all over the place amongst scenic outcrops. It reminded me of Haystacks and Tarn Hill in Dunnerdale – two of my favourite places to click away with my camera!

At first, Richard said he couldn’t be bothered with the fell and he’d just wait for me by the main path back down to Taylorgill and Styhead. I persuaded him to come and he had a great time too clicking away. We were both enthusing about how beautiful the fell was and saying how glad we were we’d decided to do it.

Some of Richard’s digi-photos first…

The sheep is either posing or admiring the view too!

And some of mine… First of all, we came over a much higher lump than the fell before descending to Sprinkling Tarn – I got totally different conditions for the same photo within the same minute and have included both – I like the darker, broody one best…

Sprinkling Tarn to The Band route on Great End

We went, eventually, to the main summit – as in the highest point which had a beautiful tarn in front of the rocky tor just like Haystacks has – Richard’s 3 digi-photos first…

Then my film ones…

Summit tarn to Lingmell

Summit tarn to Great End

We both took this same photo of the summit cairn in front of Great Gable but Richard’s has come out best so here it is:

And this is mine towards Base Brown over yet another little tarn:

We looked to the end of the fell and noted the little peak much lower than we were (my photo).

I was surprised to re-read the Wainwright book when I got back and see he called the much lower one the summit. I’ll probably stroll down to it next time if the ground is drier but my feet were already soaked and so we gave it a miss. I could always bash up the front of the fell as Wainwright suggests – I’d been eyeing his two routes straight up the front as we passed anyway.

The mist was coming and going on Esk Pike and I kept looking wistfully at it whenever it appeared – it’s a favourite of mine – now you see it (my film photos)…

now you don’t…

coffee-break tarn (my film photo)

Coffee-break tarn (Richard’s photo)

After around an hour and a short coffee and cake break by one of the tarns on the return journey, we headed off down the normal route to Styhead – not so busy mid afternoon.

Quick visit to the spit of land jutting into Sprinkling Tarn (my film photos):

Richard took a great zoom photo on the way back of the magnificent Piers Gill on Lingmell…

The magnificent Piers Gill!

Pretty soon we arrived down at Styhead where I immediately went for a long peer at Skew Gill as I’m interested in trying it sometime and wanted to know my chances of exiting at the top. Wainwright did it but isn’t encouraging and said he was glad of a rope. I can see one potential exit near the end of the gill but it does look pretty ‘orrid!

I took some photos to study at home!

Great End & Skew Gill

Richard’s digi-photo of Skew Gill

We then set off down to Taylor Gill. As Richard was struggling (and therefore slow) downhill, I had a good study of the far side of the gill where there is a path I haven’t dared to do yet. I think I’ll choose a dry day but must give it a go next time I think.

One of my film photos taken on a better day and in better light of the approach to the top of Taylorgill…

Pretty soon, we were down at Stockley Bridge where I chivvied him into hurrying to see if we could catch the 1600 bus back to the hotel as I wanted my coffee, scones and rum butter!

Despite the Seathwaite to Seatoller road going on forever – it seemed at least twice as long on the return – we managed to catch a Buttermere bus at 1550 – gave me longer to savour my lovely scones and home-made rum butter – delicious!

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18 responses

24 10 2020
bob

The latest informed scientific guess is that Covid 19 might be a big problem until 2022. We are maybe in it for the long haul instead of a sprint. Hope not but you never know…..

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7 10 2020
underswansea

Sounds like a great day. Looks like some nice boulders to sit on next to the numerous tarns and enjoy a lunch. Skew Gill looks like what we would call a box canyon, entrance and exit is the same with steep cliffs on three sides.

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8 10 2020
mountaincoward

Yeah Skew Gill pretty much fits that description. It’s only short though so I’ll soon see whether I can clamber out at the top. My study of my photo suggests not though 😦

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5 10 2020
tessapark1969

That looked really nice – one I’ve yet to do so helpful too.

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8 10 2020
mountaincoward

Don’t forget there’s a Wainwright summit and a high/main summit when you do it… It’s well worth a ramble all around the fell – superb scenery everywhere and usually very peaceful as it’s not a popular place really.

Liked by 1 person

4 10 2020
Alli Templeton

Fantastic post, Carol. I get a great sense of the landscape, and again I can only wish I could lose myself in settings like that where I live. But at least I can do it vicariously through your posts. The photos are all superb, and its interesting to compare the two formats. That water looks like mirrored glass, and isn’t it amazing that a huge land feature like Esk Pike can disappear within minutes when a cloud drifts through? Sounds like you had a lovely day, despite poor Richard’s ailing knee, and I’m glad you managed to get back in time for those delicious sounding scones and rum butter – you couldn’t risk missing those. 🙂

Liked by 1 person

4 10 2020
mountaincoward

There was no way I was going to miss my scones and rum butter! I’m well known for suddenly speeding up on the last hour of a walk in a rush to get back for something like that or before a bakery closes and suchlike. While staying at the same hotel once, we had to help a lost couple back down to the valley and they were slow so I worried about missing my scones – in the end, I rang the hotel from the fellside and said save them for me (I think they would have anyway).

Liked by 1 person

4 10 2020
Alli Templeton

You have so got your priorities right! A girl after my own heart. 😀

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8 10 2020
mountaincoward

I always get my priorities right if it comes to 1) eating 2) sleeping and 3) hills (well, possibly not in that order but those 3 things)

Liked by 1 person

10 10 2020
Alli Templeton

Quite right. 🙂 Makes sense to me.

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3 10 2020
John Bainbridge

So glad you enjoyed your break/

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3 10 2020
mountaincoward

It was really great to get into the more central fells – I’ve been stuck on the periphery due to the parking problems since lockdown. I’ve managed some fells from Newlands but that’s about all – otherwise, it’s been just the Northern Fells.

Liked by 1 person

3 10 2020
KC Redding-Gonzalez

And the mythology just comes alive! So hauntingly beautiful! Thank you for sharing…

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3 10 2020
mountaincoward

It’s not a high mountain but it’s certainly one of the more interesting ones – great way to spend an afternoon with a camera!

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2 10 2020
bob

Nice photos. Richard sounds like my level of enthusiasm for the various Scottish hill lists these days. Funnily enough I’m always keen in the Lakes. If it wasn’t such a hassle moving, selling house, learning the language better etc I’ve thought about going to France just to get a brand new country to explore where everything is fresh and unfamiliar again.

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3 10 2020
mountaincoward

well when the disease has gone, you’d be welcome to stay at mine for a few days – I’m very handy for the northern fells.

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2 10 2020
The Astronomical Poet

These are incredible!!

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3 10 2020
mountaincoward

Thank you – it’s just such a scenic place 🙂

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