A Nether Wasdale Circuit - David's 2000th Walk

1st December 2019

David had already mentioned to me a few weeks ago that he was approaching an important milestone but as this milestone was some weeks away David couldn't confirm a day when this special date might occur but he was confident it would be sometime early December but before I continue Id like to add that today is David's 2000th walk since he started keeping track of his walking, before that there are twelve years of untracked walking which could possibly double todays milestone.

Last week while walking Heughscar Hill David confirmed given the forecast he reckoned his 2000th walk would be on Sunday after walking Saturday with Rod from Four Stones Hill to Kidsty Pike, a walk undertaken in similar weather conditions as we had today, lets call them perfect. David had already mentioned the Four Stones Hill to Kidsty Pike walk as being a contender for his 2000th so just to confuse things a little I mentioned Middle Fell which I know David has a special bond with it being his 'go to' fell after work during those long Summer evenings "Actually that's not a bad suggestion" David replied adding that "we should include Buckbarrow and Seatallan too" and that was it, we had our walk in what can only be described as perfect walking conditions, what more could we have asked for.

Wainwright Guide Book Seven
The Western Fells

-Middle Fell

As a viewpoint for the Wasdale Fells, the summit is magnificently placed, and it is fitting that a reward such as this should be earned only by effort.


Ascent: 2,526 Feet - 770 Metres
Wainwrights: 3, Buckbarrow - Seatallan - Middle Fell
Weather: A Cold, But Bright Day With A Light Breeze Across The Tops. Highs of 5°C Lows of 1°C Feels Like -4°C
Visting: Glade How
Parking: Parking Spaces, Greendale, Nether Wasdale
Area: Western
Miles: 6.2
Walking With: David & Jennifer Hall
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 5 Hours 40 Minutes
Route: Greendale - Gill Beck - Buckbarrow - Glade How - Cat Bields - Seatallan - Middle Fell - Greendale Gill - Greendale

Parking Details and Map
Nearest Post Code: CA20 1EU
Grid Reference: NY 144 405
Notes: There is a room for around half a dozen cars next to Greendale Cottages, Nether Wasdale which provides perfect access for Buckbarrow and Middle Fell and beyond. The actual parking spaces are to the right of the cottages and not the spaces found in front which are for guests of the cottages only. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell, and Scafell Pike from the shores of Wast Water.

Although the sun had been up a for few minutes the valley was still very much in the shade but in saying that, coupled with the chilled morning temperature wasn't enough to put off half a dozen wild swimmers (all ladies) who, as I was taking this photo were wading into Wast Water for an early morning swim while soft lad here blew warm air into cupped hands.

Ok it's time I wasn't here so I return to my car and take the short drive over to Greendale Farm to meet David and Jennifer.

First light breaches Buckbarrow as we walk towards Harrow Head.

I arrived at Greendale Farm but instantly second guessed had we arranged to meet here or was it Harrow Head further up the road, blimey I couldn't remember so with time ticking on I left and drove the short distance soon noticing David and Jennifer driving towards me so I stopped and wound my window down "is it Greendale or Harrow Head I laughed" "it's Greendale" David smiled" Blimey I don't know what made me think it was here but never mind and with that I followed David back to Greendale where we parked our cars alongside one another.

We of course commented on what a great forecast we had ahead of us to a point where it felt the forecast knew what a momentous day this was and so paved the way for a cloudless sky day but I guess it didn't matter what we were celebrating today, anyone on the Lakeland fells would experience clear views for miles with only a light breeze and a strong sun for company, that's what us fell walkers refer to as perfect conditions.

Jennifer was raring to go and I wasn't far behind her as I made last adjustments before locking our cars and heading out towards Harrow Head from where we will start the steep ascent alongside Gill Beck bound for Buckbarrow.

Climbing steeply with Gill Beck off to our left.
It's fair to say we felt the morning chill as we walked along the tarmac lane towards Harrow Head. The sun still hadn't breached the valley but we knew it wouldn't be long until the switch was flicked which would soon leave us all ascending with a strong Winter sun on our backs. The ascent alongside Gill Beck is quite steep and with Jennifer leading the way we strode on digging deep just waiting for the moment sunlight breached fell.

Morning sunlight breaches Whin Rigg.
Just like turning the lights on at home...

...Nether Wasdale is illuminated in brilliant Winter sun.
It really was as quick as the time it took to take two photos. Ok, we have no excuses to moan about how cold it is now lets just moan about how warm it is because that's what us English folk do best!

Buckbarrow summit appears up ahead.

It was a steep ascent which crosses Gill Beck somewhere close to the shoulder of the fell but there was still some considerable up hill walking to be had before the summit is reached which is where we crossed paths with April from Walkingforum who had wild camped on Buckbarrow with her partner. After chatting about their wild camp April went on to thank David and myself for our websites and David's contribution to walking the Lakeland fells which for me added to todays occasion and the very reason why we are here celebrating David's 2000th walk.

The bulk of Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Sca Fell and Slight Side from Buckbarrow.

Cat Bields and Seatallan from Buckbarrow summit.
If David and Jennifer wave their hands in the air I'll take a photo next to the summit cairn...bonkers these two!

Blackbeck Knotts and Middle Fell from Buckbarrow.
Once the summit was reached the mild morning air soon turned to windchill and any layers that were taken off earlier were quickly added back, it wasn't a time to be hanging around yet despite the cold Jennifer downs pack and splits a flapjack with me before leaving Buckbarrow bound for Cat Bields via Glade How.

A distant Isle of Man from Glade How.

Seatallan from Cat Bields.
This photo of Seatallan from Cat Bields doesn't justify how fantastic the approach to Seatallan is, here we have the solitude of Western Lake District in all its glory with clear views and nothing but frozen ground between here and Seatallan's summit, this walk we thought, couldn't get any better but it just did.

We stride three aside.
All the while taking in the view over Middle Fell towards Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Great End, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Sca Fell and finally Slight Side.

Meanwhile the view South towards a distant Black Combe

David and Jennifer also stop to enjoy the view.
While looking back on towards Cat Bields at the far end of the ridge.

Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Great End, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Sca Fell and Slight Side from Seatallan summit Trig Point.
The trig point would often bob in and out of view before we finally arrived at the summit, we had enjoyed over a mile of fabulous ridge walking under cloudless skies but it was getting notably colder to a point where I asked David had he brought his device so we could record the windchill "Sorry Paul I left it in my other camera bag" The clearest of clarity overcame the cold but even the best of us couldn't stand waiting around for too long so after taking some photographs of David and Jennifer (which sadly did not turn out due to sun glare) we left and started to make our descent.

Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Great End, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Sca Fell and Slight Side from Seatallan.

Descending Seatallan with views over Netherbeck towards Scoat Fell, Pillar, Red Pike (Wasdale) Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell and Great Gable.
If you look carefully you can just see Scoat Tarn to the left of Blackbeck Knotts.

Yewbarrow seen beyond Nether Beck while Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell and the Scafells dominate the distant view.

Little Gowder Crag, Gowder Crag (on Haycock) Haycock, Scoat Fell and Pillar seen over Pots of Ashness.
We took the easier line of descent on the Haycock side rather than the steep descent on the Middle Fell side which made sense after Jennifer's knee operation last year. I remember pulling knee ligaments myself some years ago and from experience you do lose some confidence which takes time to build back, today Jennifer used her years of fell walking experience never faltering walking with confidence yet cautiously sometimes leading the group both in ascent and descent, that type of confidence doesn't come to all except the experienced.

Middle Fell was our lunch with a view.
It was close to lunchtime by the time we had descended Seatallan. Sometime later David noticed that the wind had dropped and given that this was possibly the best shelter from the windchill we were going to have so we stopped at a cluster of boulders and broke out lunch which was washed down with piping hot Vimto which set us up for the todays final ascent on Middle Fell seen here from our lunch spot.

While in t'other direction, Yewbarrow.
Who stole the limelight away from Great Gable and the Scafells for me.

Great End, Broad Crag, Scafell Pike, Mickledore, Sca Fell and Slight Side.
With Dropping Crag seen below Great Door.

Haycock seen over Pots of Ashness.
With Caw Fell extending out over on the left.

Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Great End, Broad Crag, Lingmell, Scafell Pike, Mickledore and Sca Fell from Middle Fell summit.
Jennifer lead the ascent onto Middle Fell where we passed a trio of young walkers and their dog who went onto ascend Seatallan the hard way. A second couple were also passed who had just left the summit which left the summit all to ourselves where despite the windchill we stopped to admire the striking views over Bowderdale and Wast Water.

Over Beck, Dore Head, Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell and Great Gable from Middle Fell summit.

David and Jennifer celebrating David's 2000th walk on Middle Fell summit.
I don't think we could have asked for a better day nor a better route or views than we have experienced today.

The Screes and Whin Rigg.

Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Lingmell and Scafell Pike.

With a strong sun overhead we began our descent still not quite believing the day we had been blessed with and it was spoke about during most of the descent and when we weren't talking about it I'm sure we were all thinking it. We had left the cool breeze behind and I took off my hat and gloves for the descent, my hair flattened by my beanie, our faces slightly scorched by a combination of windchill and Winter sun. We soon reached the grassy slopes of Middle Fell which lead us back to Greendale Farm and although it wasn't spoken of, I reckon there was a tad bit of sadness inside knowing this grand day had come to an end while wondering how long we would have to wait until the next, not too long I hope.

David and I shook hands then I threw my arms around Jennifer and gave her a bear hug, David thanks me for coming so far out to join him on his 2000th walk but how could I have missed this?!?! It's very sad that we have lost Walkthefells but what is done is done, but just because David's passion has left our screens that doesn't mean the passion has left the man.


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