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Glaramara & Seathwaite Fell / 2 days / 7 miles (11km)

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Date: 10 Dec 2007
Start / Finish: Seathwaite in Borrowdale. Good roadside parking.
Maps: Explorer OL4 & OL6: English Lakes North West & South West.

Day 1Glaramara & Allen Crags3.3 miles / 2710 feet (5.3km / 826m)
Day 2Seathwaite Fell3.5 miles / 160 feet (5.6km / 48m)

Another variation of a fine circuit from Seathwaite, a tight compact one to take account of the short days approaching the winter solstice. On this trip we had the first significant snow of the season with superb clear views on the first day. On the second day there was some uneven mist mixed with the sunshine but still very clear air, and we spent most of the day on a leisurely exploration of the delightful frozen tarns of Seathwaite Fell.

The snow caps were receding quickly by the afternoon as temperatures rose.

Day 1 - Glaramara & Allen Crags

The recent heavy rain had swollen Sourmilk Gill and Taylorgill Force to impressive sights as we made the steep climb on the eastern side of the valley alongside Hind Gill. On reaching the first tier of crags the extent of the snow became apparent, more than we expected, and the first grand views opened out as we approached the rocky tops of Glaramara in a biting cold northerly wind.

Eastern Fells from Glaramara
Eastern Fells from Glaramara (10 Dec 2007__11:40:13)
Western Fells from Glaramara
Western Fells from Glaramara (10 Dec 2007__11:57:32)

There are several excellent tarns on the ridge, partly frozen and looking superb today in the clear air. Lincomb Tarns are the largest and the Langdale Pikes were well seen across the ice, but High House Tarn and the following nameless one have excellent surroundings.

Lincomb Tarns
Lincomb Tarns (10 Dec 2007__13:52:35)
High House Tarn
High House Tarn (10 Dec 2007__13:57:46)
Allen Crags tarn & Bow Fell
Allen Crags tarn & Bow Fell (10 Dec 2007__14:07:38)

Allen Crags is the highest top on the ridge and a superb panoramic viewpoint. The snow had visibly receded on the sunlit side of Great Gable and Kirk Fell during the day, but now at 15:00 the temperature was already dropping noticeably. Although the sun was still visible above Ill Crag, we always remember how quickly it sets and the darkness closes in near the solstice, and we pitched the tent on a grassy shelf just below the summit, a spot we have used before. Later there was a fine starry sky and a veneer of frost on the tent.

Western Fells from Allen Crags
Western Fells from Allen Crags (10 Dec 2007__15:00:38)
Bow Fell & Esk Pike from pitch on Allen Crags
Bow Fell & Esk Pike from pitch on Allen Crags (10 Dec 2007__15:51:38)

Day 2 - Seathwaite Fell

There was quite a bit of cloud at dawn and the highest tops were cloaked in mist, but it was clear at our level and the sun rose in a colourful contrast beyond the grey swirling clouds.

Sunrise from pitch on Allen Crags
Sunrise from pitch on Allen Crags (11 Dec 2007__08:18:37)

The towering cliffs of Great End loomed out of the mist as we descended the icy path below and the sun began to break through as we walked around Sprinkling Tarn. We had plenty of time to potter around the various rocky knolls and tarns of Seathwaite Fell, all frozen with intricate ice patterns and making a great leisurely exploration day as the sun finally triumphed. The snow caps on the high peaks receded considerably by early afternoon as we reached the northernmost tarn and descended steeply to join the Stockley Bridge path back to Seathwaite.

Sprinkling Tarn & mist on Great End
Sprinkling Tarn & mist on Great End (11 Dec 2007__09:53:49)
Seathwaite Fell tarn #1
Seathwaite Fell tarn #1 (11 Dec 2007__10:23:10)
Seathwaite Fell tarn #1 & Great Gable
Seathwaite Fell tarn #1 & Great Gable (11 Dec 2007__10:35:26)
Seathwaite Fell tarn #3 ice patterns & Great Gable
Seathwaite Fell tarn #3 ice patterns & Great Gable (11 Dec 2007__11:30:31)
Ice patterns & reflected sky
Ice patterns & reflected sky (11 Dec 2007__11:33:15)