The Esk Hause Fells

18th September 2010

Two words that would terrify me in my early days of fell walking was ‘Great End’ and no matter how much experience I’ve picked up over the last few years the stigma kind of stuck with me, I just couldn’t shake it, I remember way back then looking at the OS maps & thinking wow, one day Paul your going to have to climb that & it literally sent shivers through my bones,  I’ve climbed Ben Nevis & didn’t feel as nervous as I did about these particular fells, the geography of the Esk Fells linking with the Scafell Massive was for me only to be attempted once I felt I was ready, after all these fells are a very popular rescue spot for the unstuck, lost or even worse death & that was the stigma that stuck with me over the years.  I’m a regular reader of the mountain rescue websites mostly Wasdale & I guess I wasn’t helping myself much trawling through the web pages reading about the rescues, but that’s just me, I prepare & then I prepare more I need to know everything or is it the fact I’m a gruesome nosy bugger? could be one of two, could be all three.

The walk was planned after putting it off a few times this summer & it being nothing more untoward as the bad weather we’ve all been experiencing, it had been planned by both me & Tim my walking buddy, then came the phone call the Friday evening that Tim couldn’t make it, he was gutted, what was I to do?  its 9pm I’m packed physically & mentally, I was never more raring to go then I was right now & here I was left with a big decision? a plan B maybe? or go it alone? I’d gone way to far in preparation to even think of a Plan B so I’d made my mind up I was going to go alone..that flaming fear came back to haunt me so I set up a game plan,. Glaramara as planned then walk the ridge to Allen Crags & basically take it in from there, I’m going to be able to view my whole route from Allen Crags & Esk Hause & from there my decision will be made upon the weather & visibility & if I don’t have either I’ll use the indended descent route of Seathwaite Fell back into Borrowdale.

Experience prevailed.


Wainwright Guidebook

The Southern Fells

This is the true Lakeland of the fellwalker, the sort of terrain that calls him back time after time, the sort of memory that haunts his long winter exile. It is not the pretty places – the flowery lanes of Grasmere or Derwentwater’s wooded bays – that keep him restless in his bed; it is the magnificent ones. Places like Great End…


Ascent: 3,400 Ft 926 Mtrs (approx)
Wainwrights: 6, Glaramara, Allen Crags, Esk Pike, III Crag, Great End & Seathwaite Fell
Weather: Broken Sunshine, Spells Of Heavy Showers am, Turning Cloudy Above 700Mtrs, Highs Of 13° Lows Of 7°
Parking: Seathwaite
Area: Southern
Miles: 9.7
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



Ok I admit I set out a bit later than normal, which didn’t leave me in good stead for a guaranteed parking space, the car park was packed with mini buses sticking out at all angles (Three Peaks Challengers) but I did manage to get the car in a tight spot half in half out a patch of nettle bushes. My route took me through Seathwaite Farm & towards Stockley Bridge where I hooked a left  up the flank of Glaramara, & headed for the gully on Hind Crag seen centre.


The bottom of the gully,.and I’m feeling a little adventurous today, either way be ready for a steep climb.


Looking back down the gully & not far to go now.


On the main ridge towards the summit, here looking back towards Dewent Water & a lucky glimpse of a rainbow.


Approaching Glaramara summit not before taking a heavy soaking, so just below the summit I decided to change out of the Crag Hoppers & into my waterproof trousers, unbeknown to me two fell walkers were descending this outcrop of rock & caught me with my trousers off struggling to get the waterproofs on over my  boots, I must of looked a right prat but luckily enough they saw the funny side!


Glaramara summit shelter & cairn.


Castle Crag & Dewent Water lit up in the sun from Glaramara summit.


Along the skyline LtoR is Bowfell, Ore Gap, Esk Pike & Great End, dead ahead for me is Allen Crags.


The Langdales from the Allen Crags ridge.


A wonderful view of Bow Fell & the Great Slab from Allen Crags.


Bow Fell & Ore Gap from High House Tarn.


The Langdales, Sergeant Man & High Raise from one of the  unnamed Tarns on Allen Crags.


Looking back along the ridge towards Glaramara from just below Allen Crags summit.


Allen Crags Summit.

Descending onto Esk Hause And from here on in I decided to go for it, the weather was clear(ish) & fear subsiding


Esk Pike from Esk Hause.


The weather had been on my side up until now & I was lucky enough to capture this view of Green Gable, Aaron Slack, Windy Gap & Great Gable.


My path towards Esk Pike.


Not too far from the summit.


Esk Pike summit & apologies for the odd shot here but I had three guys hogging the summit so I did my best to keep them out of shot.


The River Esk & Great Moss from Esk Pike summit.


Not two minutes before this photo was taken while descending Esk Pike I suffered with cramp in my right calf, the kind of cramp that gets you in the middle of the night & then the next thing you know your hanging from the ceiling from your finger nails in pure agony, I fell like a brick to the ground withering in cramps spasming  up towards my hamstring trying to keep the swear words under my breath, a couple who I’d just passed on my descent stopped to help, are you ok? Its just cramp I said, I’ll be fine in a minute or so, are you sure? ‘yeah really, I’ll be fine’ the cramp took a good five minutes to wear away & even then I could feel my hamstring pulling in my right leg..just walk it off,  just walk it off is all I kept telling myself & within qtr of an hour I was on my way up towards III Crag.


III Crag bound.


III Crag from the smaller cairn found just before the summit.


Making my way back to the main path  as you can see its pretty thick.


Still in cloud as I ascend Great End, suddenly out the cloud this tent appeared, it wasn’t half taking a battering from the elements.


On final approach to Great End summit.


Sadly again I’ve lost the views,. Great End summit shelter & cairn.


Out of the cloud & heading back down to Esk Hause, Esk Pike being the prominent fell to the right, from here on in I was on the last legs of the walk, I still hadn’t stopped for lunch for which I was saving for Seathwaite Fell.


Seathwaite Fell to the right with Green Gable & Great Gable just under cloud to the left.


Looking up to Great End &  Central Gully   from Sprinkling Tarn, now clear from cloud.


Sprinkling Tarn.


On the main ridge heading towards the summit of Seathwaite Fell.


With the summit coming into view.


Seathwaite Summit cairn.


There’s no real path as such to descend Seathwaite Fell but I did know about this one,.not a path another gully..another steep gully!


After descending Greenhow Knotts I’d past half a dozen or so members of the Keswick Mountain Rescue team, not five minutes later this rescue helicopter passed over my head, another reminder of  the dangers out on the fells.


Stockley Bridge, it had now started to rain,.more drizzle really but enough to get me wet.


Looking back at Seathwaite Fell & the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team heading off to join up with the rest of the members I’d just passed.

Today had been a grandeur of a day, a day for me to beat some personal demons I’d held for quite some time, a day for climbing, a fell walkers dream, yes I’d balls’d up with Broad Crag & yes I’m beating myself up with it, but at the time it felt the right thing to do & that’s exactly what I did. Today was a day for conquering some of Lakelands Giants & that for me its going to be pretty difficult to wipe the smirk of my face

I’ll leave that for Man City to do to me tomorrow.

Now all I need is a deep soak in the bath, a cold diet coke in tow & try & get some movement back in those calf muscles.


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