A Furness Epic

13th November 2010

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon.

The day didn’t start too brightly for yours truly this morning, I struggled to lift my carcass out of bed once the alarm clock woke me around 6.00am, it was so dark outside, then the alarm went of again at five minutes past so by now I crow barred myself away from my nice warm bed. Off I trundled down stairs to put the kettle on for my flask then back up stairs to the bathroom to make something of this weary eyed excuse for a human being.

It wasn’t long before I was back downstairs where at this point I open the fridge door to get my hydration pack out & to my still half closed eyes I could see the pack had lost about half a litre of fluid, I was sure I filled it to capacity (2ltrs) oh well no signs of any leak the fridge was bone dry so I’m guessing I under estimated how much I actually put in. With the car packed  I was on my way for 6.40.

Northbound & four miles into my journey I glance over to the passenger seat & just do a visual glance, Camera, GPS, Map case, Bananas, Mobile Phone..err where’s my mobile? I panic slightly hitting my trouser pockets to see if its in one of the side pockets,. What then follows is a volley of swear words aimed directly at myself, I had to go back which at this point which would mean a ten mile round trip, I even questioned myself would I need it? or should I just carry on?  Yes of course was the answer so with the ten mile or so diversion I was back on track & northbound, it didn’t cost me too much time at all just the internal telling off.

Today I also missed a game at the DW, Wigan Athletic were playing host to WBA, now for me West Brom are playing out of there skins at the moment & Ill put it down to good management so my thoughts were going off how well we played against Liverpool the previous Wednesday night & I’m thinking I’m going to miss a good game here, the trouble was I had Owen my son playing Sunday league  on the Sunday morning which meant it was one or the other,.clearly I missed the game & by the looks of it a fantastic first touch goal  by Victor Moses. there’s  a never a true saying ‘You cant have it all’ but I was were I loved.

I was pretty unsure what to expect, I’ve never been to Seathwaite before & a little daunted by my mornings failings kind of put me on edge a little. Seathwaite is a beautiful little farming hamlet tucked away in the Dunnerdale Valley, nestled between cattle grids farm houses & one or two farm  gates that I had to stop the car to open, the track will  eventually  lead you to find the Walna Scar Road & the start of my walk.

Wainwright Guidebook
The Southern Fells



Ascent: 3,600 Ft, 1,097 Mtrs
Wainwrights: 6, Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell, Swirl How, Great Cars & Grey Friar
Weather: Lows of 6° With Partial Cloud Under 600Mtrs Turning To More Dense Cloud Above 600Mtrs & Strong Westerly Winds­ Highs Of 8°
Parking: Road Side Parking Top Of Walna Scar Road Nr Seathwaite
Area: Southern
Miles: 9.5
Walking With: On my own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



The Walna Scar Road clearly sign posted, the tarmac road to the left of the picture I would use on my return.


Long House Gill on the left which stays with you for a good percentage of the climb up Walna Scar Road.


Looking back down the path into Dunnerdale as I pass the disused quarries on the left on the picture.


Brown Pike summit & shelter, the wind really is getting stronger as I gain height so much so I’m not only wearing my hat & gloves I also have my hood up to stop the wind biting at my ears.

Clouds rolling in & out before I have time to blink! ahead is Buck Crag & my ridge route


A hazy view towards Blind Tarn & Brown Pike from my ascent up Buck Crag.


Buck Pike Summit cairn & from here on in I seem to have lost the views all together.


So its onwards I press towards Dow Crag.


Dow Crag coming into view or what I can make of it, the wind really is battling against me at this point, its not all together how strong it was, but how biting cold it was, by now my nose was red raw & my eyes were streaming the thought of maybe turning back did cross my mind because right at this point the wind kind of took the enjoyment out of my sails,.but I decided to press on & stop winging to myself!


Dow Crag summit, And apologies for the lack of imaginativeness of the shot but trying to hold the camera while perched on a slab of rock while the wind was blowing me around like a crisp packet was pretty  difficult.


Descending onto Goats Hawse & a little respite from the wind, from here you can just make my path up towards Coniston Old Man to the right, going left here would take you straight towards Brim Fell Summit, yes I’ve summated Coniston Old Man previously but it just wouldn’t seem right not to include this giant of the Southern Fells.


Views down to Goats Water, the crags to the right are that of Dow Crag.


Not to far from the summit of Coniston Old Man now, at this point it was the turn of my right side of my body, face & ear to take the bashing form the wind!


Summit bound & the first two people I’ve seen all day.


Coniston Old Man summit & shelter,Up until the boundary law change in 1974 the Furness Fells were in actual fact in Lancashire not Cumbria as we know it today.


Levers Water & the unmistakeable zig zag path that leads you to the summit from the old quarries & the Eastern side of the Walna Scar Road.


Onwards towards Brim Fell, If I was perfectly honest with myself I’m not over confident walking in conditions like this, I know I’m ok, I know my exact position but my brain is in over drive telling me ‘get a fix on an object’ & all the while my confidence is bouncing with my adrenaline to keep going on, I thrive on the rush these feelings give me.


And finally ‘my fix’  Brim Fell summit cairn.


Descending onto Levers Hawse & this is the first time in the last thirty or so minutes I’ve seen something other than cloud & what a great view I had, the fell on the right is Swirl How, further round the fell still under the cloud is Great Carrs & finally the fell to the left is Grey Friar my final fell of the day.


Levers Water from Levers Hawse.


Seathwaite Tarn & descending from Grey Friar on the right is Troutal Fell & somewhere in between them both is my descent path, the Fell far right is Harter Fell.


Levers Hawse.


And Grey Friar making an appearance through the cloud.


Silhouettes on Prison Band  Wetherlam bound.


Swirl How summit cairn.


And from Swirl How Great Carrs comes into view.


Grey Friar from Swirl Band.


The memorial just south of Great Carrs Summit of the ill fated Halifax Bomber which crashed here killing all 8 crew members, 7 Canadian & one Brit while on training exercise returning to RAF Topcliffe In Yorkshire back on Oct 22nd 1944.

Sadly the cross was lying flat amongst the cairn after taking a battering from the wind, here I did my best to re erect it.


Great Carrs Summit cairn.


Wet Side Edge & Greenburn leading its way down towards Little Langdale & Little Langdale Tarn.


Cold Pike & Pike Of Blisco with a glimpse Red Tarn from Great Carrs Summit.

Just a short walk from Great Carrs summit towards Grey Friar, by this point I still hadn’t had a rest stop nor anything to eat so my plan was summit Grey Friar then drop down out of the wind to Seathwaite Tarn & grab something to eat


Grey Friar Summit cairn.


And a little further on is Grey Friar shelter, although tempting it may look it was still blowing a gale here so I decided to stick to the plan & wait until I dropped down the  side of the Fell to eat & rest.


Seathwaite Tarn & my path down, And finally a sit down & that coffee I’ve been promising myself for the past couple of hours!


Seathwaite Dam. Constructed in 1904 Seathwaite Tarn was considerably enlarged by the project so much so that the navies constructing the Dam began rioting,. One was shot & died the next day.



Grey Friar to the left & Levers Hawse on the skyline, the wall to the left is the actual levy & walkway around a small section of the dam.

A walk in an un familiar area of Lakeland, gusts of wind nearly enough to knock me off my feet, sometimes with nothing to see further than 30 ft in front of your nose & nothing to hear except the hood of your jacket battering your head like a lost sail.

This is why I love the challenge of Lakeland.



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