Some say that it’s the wettest place in England. Many would say that it’s not a great fell. All I know is that it is one of the places I most dream of being in the Lake District.
Actually the title of wettest place in England is a bit of a moot point. It probably depends on how you measure it, and measure it they certainly do on Seathwaite Fell. I found the rain gauge on my first visit. What I also found was yet another underrated fell that exceeded all my expectations. Which in all truth were pretty low to start with. As I expect are yours, or were when you visited. I realise this is a hugely controversial choice for one of my most favourite fells, but you’re going to have to simply accept this one as a very personal choice, as a fell which combines almost all of the things I most love in a hill.
My plan on the day I knocked off Seathwaite Fell was to bag it and then continue around over Allen Crags, Glaramara and Rosthwaite Fell. This was the first day of my only Lake District trip in 2009, a trip which introduced me to the Far Eastern Fells, saw me settle an old score and joined me up with my two favourite fells. But anyway, back to the walk itself…
I was staying in Keswick and doing day trips by bus for my walks. In those days I still had a decent number of fells to do, so basing myself in bus central was a good idea. My first day I bussed out to Seatoller and walked along the road to Seathwaite Farm.
Now this road is long, and seems longer on the way back, as I’ve found out a few times when I’ve hurried to make the last bus. But this time I took the seemingly shorter version on fresh legs and soon arrived at the farm. Through the farm, which I’d not seen since the 3 Peaks in 2005, and then onto the path to Stockley Bridge.
Crossing the bridge, I followed the Styhead path for a very short way before striking off left onto the flank of the fell heading for Aaron Crags. I stopped for a while to take in my surroundings and take a few shots with my new video camera. I also explored a bit and spotted the rain gauge. I couldn’t stay for long though as I had a long list of summits to pick off so continued up towards Aaron Crags, easily spotting the rake that led amongst the crags to the top part of the fell.
From the top of the fell, which was grassy , pitted with small tarns and outcrops, there were great views back into Borrowdale and to the neighbours – Great Gable and Green Gable on my right, and across Glaramara on my left to the Langdale Pikes.
I ambled across the top of the fell, picking off the various summits (2 Nuttalls and a Wainwright), and eyeing up the small tarns. As I reached the southern end, Great End rose up before me like a giant cliff.
Then I rounded an outcrop and there was Sprinkling Tarn. Unfortunately, there were tents set up right by the tarn and their occupants milling about. Bad form at lunchtime, as it spoils the tarn for everyone else. So I didn’t stay at the tarn that long, and continued my walk over to Allen Crags and Glaramara. I ran out of time that day to complete that walk, largely because I took so long to do Seathwaite Fell.
So I bet you’re all wondering what’s so great about the fell. Pleasant enough, especially for views of more “important” fells, but why one of my favourites ? Well I’m starting to sound like a broken record…Apart from the final descent to Esk Hause when I found the group at Sprinkling Tarn, which was reasonably foreseeable, I had the fell to myself. No one was watching me, catching me or stopping me to chat. I could just take my time and enjoy the easy scramble up Aaron Crags, and the meander over the top of the fell, enjoying the tarns. I love tarns, and Seathwaite Fell has loads of them, although whether all those shown on the map actually exist on the ground is debatable. Of course the best tarn is Sprinkling Tarn, one of my favourite tarns, and that tarn belongs to Seathwaite Fell. I just loved every minute of being on the fell, and having a tarn-rich fell all to myself is a brilliant antidote to a hectic life working in London.
It’s one of those fells that I mentally noted down as a potential wild camp site when I was up there, and I would say that day is the first time that the idea of me actually wild camping took root. It’s taken a long time to germinate properly of course, but one day quite soon I hope to spend the night there. And that’s why it seems to constantly be in my dreams.