Great End.. a slight return

2nd January 2011

What better way to start 2011 of than Great End, I was only here last September & the reason for this slight return is Tim my walking buddy, had to cancel Septembers walk on the very last minute & was absolutely  gutted, we both had our personal reasons to be on the Esk Hause Fells that day but Tim’s burning desire never faded, I promised him I’d we-do the walk I took that day & this was that day.

The weather played a key part in this walk, Great End was Tim’s pinnacle  fell & as long as we made the summit that’s all that mattered. The snow & freezing temperatures that  Lakeland has experienced over the past few months was gradually thawing which meant anything that did thaw out refroze, so there was less snow but dangerous ice packs, I took my new crampons with me eager to try them out but they stayed firmly in my pack until the ascent on Calf Cove from Esk Hause, the scene could have come right out of a comic book, hikers gathered in there units slowly itching up the 60 metre slope, the snow here hadn’t melted & was compact (a vertical ice rink comes to mind) it was here I slipped on the Crampons & made my way up to the top of Calf Cove, as you can see from the photos alot of snow has disappeared and what seemed to be a more familiar site with other walkers  were the Micro spikes, could Scafell be summated using these? the answer was yes, droves of walkers had them & I saw no struggle at all, but for me I’ll stick to the crampons.


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 Derwent water’s wooded bays – that keep him restless in his bed; it is the magnificent ones. Places like Great End…


Ascent: 3,280 Feet, 999,7 Mtrs
Wainwrights: 4  Glaramara, Alan Crags, Great End & Seathwaite Fell
Weather: Overcast, Little Sun & Breezy On Topps, Highs Of 1°, Lows Of °0
Parking: Seathwaite Farm, Seathwaite
Area: Southern
Miles: 7.5
Walking With: Tim Oxburgh
Ordnance Survey: OL4 & OL6
Time Taken:  

Map and Photo Gallery



Passing through Stonethwaite farm, The weather wasn’t as good as forecast & although it was still early morning I couldn’t see the cloudless sunny skies as predicted.


The huge mass of Base Brown from our scramble up towards Comb Head & Glaramara.


Tim on a section of the path as we leave Hind Gill & the Gully behind us.


Looking North towards High Spy, Dale Head & Hindscarth.


A close up of Great End from our ascent.


Dewent Water,  Skiddaw & far right Blencathra from Comb Head.


Approaching Glaramara main summit.


Dewent Water & Skiddaw.


Glaramara summit cairn with the northern fells behind.


Bow Fell & Esk Pike from Glaramara summit.


Dramatic skyline as we look over to Harrison Stickle & Pike O’Stickle from Looking Steades.


Considering Tim hasn’t been on the fells in over three months he took back to it like a duck to water.


Great End taking centre this time with III Crag to the left & Lingmell to the right, if you look carefully you can just make out a frozen Sprinkling Tarn.


Due to the ice sections of the path it was impossible to follow so little diversions were needed, the ice was thick & compact, and thoughts were a little worrying as to what to expect as we gained even more height.


A close up of Bow Fell & the Great Slab.


Allan Crags summit cairn with Esk Pike in the background, by now a slight chill in the wind meant hats & gloves were donned.


Looking towards Great End from Allan Crags.


Esk Hause as we descend Allan Crags, groups of walkers were abundant, these were the first people we’d seen all morning.


The cross shelter on Esk Hause, not really doing any sheltering.


Calf Cove, a popular path as it is the main supply route to Scafell, we witnessed quite a few bumps & scraps here as we headed up this 60Mtr slope, it was here I got the Crampons out my pack, they worked a treat.


Great views of Great Gable & Kirk Fell.


We took a slight de-tour to get some shots of the summit on Scafell Pike, in all intentions we thought about an ascent of Broad Crag from here but as daylight was limited we thought it best to stick to our original plan & spend a bit of time on Great End’s summit,.which is what we did.




Grass & Icicles.

route to Great End

took a slight de-tour from the summit to have a look at Central Gully, this South Facing gully runs 300 Metres  spine like from Sprinkling Tarn  all the way to the summit


From the top of Central Gully.



Kick Holes.


Made by these two guys, here they were putting their ropes & harnesses back into their packs, kid like I am wanted to go over & awe in there magnificent feat. I resisted & both me & Tim took to the shelter to have a hot drink & sandwiches.


Central Gully.


Sprinkling Tarn & Seathwaite Fell leading into Borrowdale from the summit of Great End.


The Irish Sea & if you look closely The Isle Of Man, this was the point I received a text on my mobile  from the ‘Virgin’ Isle Of Man network with calls costing me only 34p per minute…I don’t think so!


Broad Crag, Lingmell col & Lingmell from the summit shelter.


Views into Mosedale with Kirk Fell, Pillar, Scoat Fell & Red Pike.


We concentrated on the descent off Great End & back to Esk Hause where the path became patchy icy underfoot, out of shot here was a small gully to negotiate, the snow on one side had become compact as walkers had used there boots to form kick holes, with only three kick holes I thought I’d place my left hand on top of the ice & swing my right hand side body up & back onto the path (as you would over a fence) I made this small leap however my camera didn’t & plunged along the top of this snow pack & landed ever so precariously avoiding the deep pool onto some rocks, I lunged after the camera thinking that’s it, its dead but all it needed was a wipe down & probably a more careful owner!


Paul…your a  Idiot.


A close up of Central Gully & two more climbers.


Central Gully from Sprinkling Tarn.


I have only admiration for these guys, wow.


We got talking to two climbers as we headed for Sprinkling Tarn, they were waiting for their two friends who had just made their ascent up the south east gully, ‘Aw you should try it you’d love it, you can hire all the gear you know’ they made it sound so easy, maybe one day when I hit my midlife crisis I may just take him up on his words.


Great End from Sprinkling Tarn as we headed for Seathwaite Fell, Tim at this point had a recurring injury pop up on his right knee meaning anything other than flat ground became problematic, however he pressed on a little slower & with good stead.


Seathwaite Fell summit cairn, as daylight was slowly running out we made our way off the fell via an old route I trusted before, it was more so a gully & I cursed myself for taking Tim down this way, his progress was slow but I waited patiently for my walking buddy, by the time we got to Stockly Bridge Tim’s knee was loving the flat ground again as we donned head torches & made our way back to Seathwaite, conversation was back to normal, what you having for tea Tim?


Back to top