The Harry Griffin 2,000 footers Walk 12 -The Glaramara Circuit

9th May 2015

The last walk of weeks holiday concludes with a Glaramara Circuit covering just over eleven miles starting and ending in the hamlet of Seatoller Borrowdale. The walk tested my fitness after already covering sixteen miles and over six and a half thousand feet in only twenty four hours, if any walk was going to test both physical and mental fitness, the Glaramara ridge in hill fog did just that.

On previous ascents on Glaramara I've limited my started points from the valley of Seathwaite until todays walk which takes in Tarn at Leaves via Comb Gill before taking on the full Glaramara Ridge all the way to Allen Crags collecting seven two thousand foot summits along the way, there after Tongue Head (Angle Tarn) is gained before a switch back to Esk Hause then continuing via the top of Grains Gill to collect the remainder of the summits on Seathwaite Fell, but oddly, not the Wainwright summit we all know, here two of the lesser two thousanders around Sprinkling Tarn and Sprinkling Crag finish off the remainder of the summits.

I feel we got a pretty raw deal during those early morning hours, Glaramara was there to be taken and enjoyed but sadly all we barely saw was the hands on front of our faces, however we wasn't to be wholly disappointed as the cloud lifted once we sighted Esk Hause leaving us to finish the rest of the walk with sleeves rolled up and distant views.

Freeman of the Hills
'The Glaramara Circuit'
Francis Falkngham credits Glaramara with two summits of more than 2,000 feet and Allen Crags with four, but three of his Allen Crags summits are really on the Glaramara ridge before the depression that marks the division between the two mountains. However, this is not very impostant and I agree that there are six summits along the ridge to Esk Hause.
Harry Griffin

Ascent: 3,600 Feet - 1,098 Metres
Summits Over 2,000Ft: Cam Crag - Combe Head - Glaramara - Glaramara South West Top - Allen Crag Ridge (NY 243 097) - Allen Crag Ridge (NY 241 092) - Allen Crags - Tongue Head - Seathwaite Fell (NY 230 093) - Seathwaite Fell (NY 227 095)
Weather: A damp start with low cloud, turing brighter after midday. Highs of 15°C Lows of 9°C
Parking Car Park, Seatoller, Borrowdale
Area: Southern
Miles: 11.6
Walking With: David Hall
Ordnance Survey: OL4
Time Taken: 8 Hours
Route: Seatoller - Strands Bridge - Combe Gill - Tarn at Leaves - Rosthwaite Fell - Combe Door - Combe Head - Glaramara - Lincom Tarns - High House Tarn - Allen Crags - Toungue Head - Lower Esk Hause - Sprinkling Tarn - Sprinkling Crag Tarn - Styhead Tarn - Styhead Pass - Stockley Bridge - Seathwaite - Seatoller

Map and Photo Gallery


Seatoller 09:00am 9°C

We had made the call the previous evening to start todays walk later than pre planed just so we could avoid any lingering showers which thankfully paid off. Having reached Seatoller at a rather late 09:00am we didn't have any problems parking on the main car park situated just outside the village. The cost of parking in Seatoller is the same as you would expect to pay in Glenridding.

With the car reversed next to the toilet block we kited up around about the same time the number 78 Bus pulled onto the car park before heading back to Keswick, I get a smile from the Driver who has a quick inspection of his Bus before he nipped to the toilet, I guess this Bus turn around has it advantages for the drivers.

There's still drops of rain in the air carried along by a faint wind, over head the cloud is low, so low it blankets the High Scawdel fell side in a thick covering as for any longer distant views, there simply weren't any. With the car locked we headed out of Seatoller by the main road passing the road entrance for Seathwaite, instead continuing for around half a mile before picking up a loning on the right hand side from where Comb Gill is heard, well before it is sighted.

Combe Gill waterfalls.
We didn't keep to the loning long before picking a path sign posted Glaramara. Our path then lead us over swollen ground which was evidence from the previous nights rain which fell so heavy it was as if Lakeland was licking its wounds come the early hours of the morning. Views into The Combe were limited due to the low cloud lingering over Combe Door which at this point, didn't show any real signs of lifting.

Searching for a suitable place to cross Combe Gill.
We knew during these early hours of the walk that were on the wrong side of Combe Gill which meant a crossing had to be made somewhere close to the ruined sheepfold, here you can see the path on the opposite side of the bank, however, the previous nights heavy rainfall had swollen Combe Gill into a torrent which meant we had to look further up stream for a saver place to cross, this turned out to be a ten minute detour before we found a safe (ish) place to cross where we could pick our way over wet boulder before a final dash for the river bank by means of calf deep running water, it was only a couple of steps which, if you were to think about it you'd probably end up getting wetter than what I did with my Olympic style dash when before I knew it, I was stood on the opposite side of the bank closely followed by David, both of us bore the brunt of wet trousers but we thankfully managed to keep both boot and sock dry in the process.

The first signs of the cloud lifting was when we glanced back over Borrowdale, which showed the smallest of promise.

Rosthwaite Fell ( Bessyboot) from Tarn at Leaves.

With the excursion to find a suitable place to cross Combe Gill we now found that our path was on our far left which meant a track back to find it, after both giving each other the 'look' we dicided to climb the steep fell side pathless before picking up the remainder of the path close to Tarn at leaves. Tarn at Leaves gave David his first Tarn of the walk five more to come, however, together we still had ten two thousander foot summits to collect starting with Cam Crag.

Approaching Cam Crag.
After leaving Tarn at Leaves we soon found ourselves heading into the cloud from where we could only just define the outline of Cam Crag as it appeared through gaps in the cloud which left us thinking maybe this cloud was going to lift sometime soon.

Cam Crag summit NY256 114
A steep pull was required to reach the interconnecting ridge between Rosthwaite Fell (Bessyboot) and Glaramara which is exactly where Cam Crag can be found, Rosthwaite Cam can also be found close by yet due to the low cloud we walked by without realising it was there, never mind. Cam Crag was soon located as the highest point as we clambered over rocky outcrop to reach its summit and claim our first two thousand foot summit of the day.

Combe Head summit cairn NY 250 108
Our next summit was found on Glaramara's north eastern spur marked on the map as Combe Head yet H.Griffin and Francis Falkingham relate the high point as a subsidiary summit of Glaramara.

Next, gaining Glaramara by scramble.
After leaving Combe Head behind under a cloak of cloud we located the path that lead us north west towards Glaramara's main ridge, but before all that we had a short and enjoyable scramble to contend with, earlier concerns were laid on whether the rock would be greasy and obviously wet due to last nights rain which is why you can see David eyeing up his route from the bottom of the crags, David was to climb right as I opt left.

Glaramara main summit cairn NY247 106
After the scramble which topped us out directly at Glaramara's summit we stopped to add more layers as the wind cut through with a biting chill. With hat and gloves for myself and just the gloves for David we left the main summit in search of the ridge path that will lead us all the way to Allen Crags, not before collecting three more two thousand foot summits and, two more of David's Tarns along the way.

Our next two thousand foot summit is over there in cloud.
Effectively we are still on Glararama's summit, the second south west summit can be seen through the cloud, all we have to do is descend the dip and take in a little re-ascent before getting there.

Glaramara's south west summit summit NY246 102
By obtaining the path we followed the dip between both subsidiary summits and soon found ourselves at the south west cairn, during which time brief views opened up into the Seathwaite Valley before quickly closing again leaving us under a wall of cloud yet again, it appears our ridge walk will sadly go unseen.

Allen Crags over Lingcomb, and High House Tarn's from our next two thousand ft summit along the Allen Crag ridge NY 243 097

After Leaving Glaramara behind we are now able to pick of what H.Griffin describes as the high points over two thousand feet between Glaramara and Allen Crags, here we are stood at the highest point marked 721 Metres (2,365ft) on both 1:50 and 1:25 scale maps.

Our next two thousand foot summit can be seen towering over High House Tarn in the centre of the photo.

The Langdale Pikes and Coniston Fells seen over Rossett Pike and Stake Pass.

High House Tarn from our sixth two thousander of the morning.
It was here behind the crags and out of the wind did we decide on taking a little time out from Tarn and summit collecting to have a rest stop and maybe get a bite to eat, plus the extra down time may allow for the cloud to lift as the Glaramara ridge is starting to show as the cloud begins to rise.

Allen Crags summit.
After lunch and a bit cloud watching we re shouldered packs before taking on our seventh two thousand foot summit in Allen Crags, it's only a short way via a steady climb before Allen Crags summit is reached where we start to see the first walkers of the day.

III Crag seen over Esk Hause from Allen Crags.

Great End from seen during our Allen Crags descent.

I hadn't planned what my next move was going to be in that how Tongue Head was going to be gained who's two thousand foot summit is perched over looking Angle Tarn, I put it to David would he mind if I ran down to collect the summit before a re-ascent. The switch backs which are common within the campaign of collecting all the two thousand foot summits require quite a lot of effort, some of which may seem unnecessary which was why I gave David the option in joining me, or waiting this one out. David was reluctant at first until he spied a nice rock with his name on it, all right Paul, give me your pack Ill wait over there...

What time is it David? its a quarter....

I was gone.

Esk Hause from Tongue Head.
I'm no fell runner but I managed the mile covering 250 ft in descent then re-ascent in twenty minutes, had I not been stopped by two walkers who I passed on my way down, then on my way back my timing would of been considerably less.

The Gables feature dominant as we make our way to Seathwaite Fell.

Extended views over Borrowdale from Seathwaite Fell NY 230 093
The cloud had completely lifted by the time we reached Sprinkling Tarn were we headed for last remaining two summits in both Seathwaite Fell and Sprinkling Tarn Crag, this is the view from the first of which Francis Falkingham claims as Seathwaite's Fell first two thousand foot summit, found roughly half a mile south east of the main (Wainwright) summit.

Sprinkling Crag Tarn from our final two thousand foot summit on Seathwaite Fell NY 227 095

Great End and Sprinkling Tarn from our final summit of the day NY 227 095


The Gables and Aaron Slack under clear skies as we make our descent on Styhead Tarn.
The contrast between a matter of hours ago couldnt of been greater as we take in the descent towards Styhead Tarn with a warm sun on our backs and clear skies above our heads, with sleeves rolled up we pick our way down towards what appears to be a very busy Styhead Pass/Tarn.

The Gables and Styhead Tarn.

Base Brown from Styhead Tarn.
We soon found ourselves at Styhead Tarn where David collects his sixth and final Tarn of the day. Despite the photo many walkers now line Styhead Pass most of whom like us, are all heading back to Seathwaite, this made for some great reflection time.

Looking Back on Great End and The Band.

Descending into Seathwaite with views over Borrowdale.

Seathwaite Fell from Stockly Bridge.
We made good time in reaching Stockly Bridge as we pass dozens of walkers who stop to take photos from one of Lakelands most iconic pack horse bridges, others pass by eager to get back to Seathwaite. For us we still had the walk through the valley of Seathwaite before reaching Seatoller, we still had plenty of miles to go at made easier by the pleasant afternoon sun.

Seathwaite Cottages.

Seathwaite Fell from Seathwaite Bridge.

Back at Seatoller.
After eight hours we found ourselves back in Seatoller after a walk contrasted by both weather and demanding fell. I'm still to grace the half way mark within my campaign but I feel I have but some difficult and arduous walking behind me and todays walk on the back of a week on the fells was no different. Its fair to say that some walks command fair weather and this walk was one of them, we was only granted our wish towards the latter of the walk which saw both David and myself take on the Glaramara ridge in difficult conditions which can only add to the memories that will be created once my campaign is complete, until then I will close todays walk by claiming clear weather provides great walks, but fond memories can also be created when one has to compete with the hill and all that is thrown at you.

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