Day 84 – In the Footsteps of Postman Pat

Looking towards the Scafells and Mickledore from Seatallan

I had four summits to do to the north of Wastwater, and would have done them last Friday but overnight Thursday-Friday I found myself cruelly struck down by that merciless affliction, Man-‘flu. I could hardly get up the stairs, never mind Lake District mountains!

The benign face of Middle Fell

By Saturday afternoon I wasn’t exactly better, but wasn’t as bad as I had been, and with the weather forecast for next week looking mixed, I thought I’d have an early early night on Saturday, get up super-early on Sunday morning and set off before the world had got out of bed.

Buckbarrow looks a bit more rugged

And so, after a pleasant, traffic-free drive, I arrived at Wasdale well before 8.00 am. Well to be precise, I arrived at Greendale, which if I remember rightly is where Postman Pat hails from. Even Mrs Goggins must still have been in bed, although I had been beaten to it by One Man and His Dog, who were about to leave!

Sunrise over Illgill Head and Wastwater

A soft green path sets off from the roadside parking area, carving a wide gap through the bracken (now all brown and lifeless) and where, to use the words of Wainwright, it bifurcates, I forked right and headed up the ridge to the summit, just as the sun came up over Illgill Head and the Wastwater Screes.

Looking towards Haycock from the top of Middle Fell

Brrr! It was a bit chilly (and windy) at the summit of Middle Fell (1,908′, 582 m). I moved on quickly, heading down with Haycock directly in front to the wide col at the foot of Seatallan. At first there was no path up the steep slope, but I could see something that looked more like a path than a stream higher up, so made for that. And path it was, steep but reliable, taking me to the summit plateau and then the trigpoint and cairn at 2,270′ (692 m). Seatallan would be the highest point reached today.

The top of Seatallan


The way now continued along a well-defined path over wide moorland, gradually descending for over a mile to the cairn at Cat Bields, where the path made a sudden left turn to a boggy depression before rising again to Glade How, where an impressive cairn stands at 1,420′ (433 m). The views to the coast were improving all the time, although in this part of the world there seems to be no way of getting away from Sellafield!

Damp moorland leads to Glade How and Buckbarrow
Glade How summit

From Glade How it’s not far to Buckbarrow (1,388′, 423 m) – really just the very distinctive end of Seatallan Fell.  It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary at the top, but the crags on Buckbarrow’s south-east face are rocky and vertical.  So it’s not a good idea to go down that way; instead I picked a way south-west until a faint path appeared, taking me down to the east side of Gill Beck, where the rowans and larches looked spactacular in the autumn sunshine.

A glimpse of Wastwater from the top of Buckbarrow
Mind those crags!

Soon I was back on the road for a half-mile trek back to the car. Still no sign of Mrs Goggins, but a few more cars had arrived since I’d set off. The route out of Wasdale was extremely tedious, with motorists coming the other way having not the slightest idea of the width of their cars, but at least I had time to visit the Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre on the way home.

The rocky side of Buckbarrow

So now I can tell you that on Saturday 29 October we can do the final summit – Carron Crag (a baby at 1,030′, 314 m) – in some luxury, with good parking (although you have to pay) and all facilities at the start and finish. If you’d like to come along to this ‘grand finale’ you’ll be very welcome. The plan is that we’ll all gather at 10.00 am and the walk itself should take no more than 2½ hours. More details by following the link at the top of the page.


Before then I’ve eight summits to do in the northern Lorton Fells, and the plan is to do these tomorrow (Tuesday 25 October).  Hopefully supporters will have saved enough 10p’s by the time I’ve finished – Cancer Research UK need our support!

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