Seatallan & Buckbarrow from Greendale

9th March 2024

I worked last Saturday and with Sunday the brighter day I packed my gear into the car, and I was ready to head north when the spring sunshine got the better of me. I love being in the garden, and I try to keep on top of it through the winter, but with all the wet weather, I'd neglected it, and it was beginning to show, so I switched the engine off, grabbed my travel cup, and walked back into the house. There is a method in my madness. I could have easily waited a few more weeks to sort the garden, but with two free weekends ahead, I thought I should get it out of the way today and free up the next two Saturdays. 

As it turns out, I missed one hell of a day in the lakes with dramatic cloud and a snow line above 650 metres. The Fell Top Assessor had taken a wonderful image from Striding Edge, and guess who was up there too? Yeah, David, who also shared some stunning photos with me and Rod. Well, at least I had a tidy garden (rolls eyes) I had every intention to head to Snowdonia this weekend, but the forecast flipped at the last minute, so I turned back to Lakeland. Bill Birkett referred to this walk as the Nether Wasdale Circuit, but it's more commonly known as the Greendale Round, trouble was I was forced to alter the walk due to strong winds from the off, that doesn't mean I didn't have a blast.

Wainwright Guide Book Seven
The Western Fells
It is only on connecting with Seatallan, that a weakness in the fell's armour becomes apparent and the climb to the cairn is comfortable. 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: 2,089 Feet - 637 Metres
Wainwrights: 2, Seatallan - Buckbarrow
Visiting: Glade How
Weather: Predominently Cloudy With Strong Winds Throughout. Highs of 8°C Lows of 5°C Feels Like -7°C
Parking: Parking Spaces, Greendale
Area: Western
Miles: 6
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL6
Time Taken: 3 Hours 50 Minutes
Route: Greendale - Greendale Gill - Greendale Tarn - Seatallan - Cat Bields - Glade How - Buckbarrow - Gill Beck - Harrow Head - Nether Wasdale - 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 provide 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 guest of the cottages only. Parking is free.


Map and Photo Gallery


Buckbarrow from Greendale 5°C 8:30am

I knew that strong winds had been forecast, but nothing prepared me for the winds that greeted me when I arrived at Wast Water, where breaking waves created white horses across the lake's surface. Minutes later, I'd arrived at Greendale, where I parked next to a hatchback that was being rocked from side to side by the wind as it roared through the valley, flipping eck. This wind was a tad stronger than forecasted! I walked to the back of the car and was treated to an icelandic blast as I kitted up while my thought process was being overun by a possible plan B walk.

I returned to the comforts of the driver's seat and gazed through the window at the hatchback rocking in the wind. Despite one chap setting off for Middle Fell well ahead of me, I was less than enthusiastic to follow him, so while sitting there, I decided to head for Greendale Tarn first and evaluate the wind from the col which divides Middle Fell from Seatallan. Locking the car, I set off headlong into the wind which caused my eyes to stream within minutes. Wiping the tears away with my gloved hand, I continued my ascent. The chap up ahead was almost out of view, having committed to Middle Fell. 

Looking back over Nether Wasdale towards Wast Water and IIIgill Head.
Sunshine had been forecast but it did little to take the edge off the windchill.

Greendale Gill.

The wind dropped as I ascended into Greendale Gill, and for the first time in half an hour, the sound of cascading water dominated the ascent. Over to my left, I spotted two walkers in a pathless descent towards the gill from the direction of the Joss Naylor cairn a couple of hundred feet behind them. My first thought was 'blimey, they were up early' followed by 'I wonder if the wind had gotten the better of them' I would soon find out for myself.

Seatallan from Greendale Gill.
I lost the sunshine as the ground began to level as I neared Greendale Tarn from where I had a clear view of Seatallan along with two wild campers who waved from across the Gill. I can't imagine how rough their night had been, but they couldn't have gotten much sleep.

Greendale Tarn.
The wind had gained strength as I arrived at Greendale Tarn, but I knew however strong the gusts were here, they were going to be much stronger once the col (ahead) was reached. Looking back subconsciously or not, despite the wind it was whilst crossing the outflow, I committed to Seatallan.

Seatallan from the shores of Greendale Tarn.
Not only had I committed but I'd chosen to make a pathless ascent first by making my way across the rough ground to the flat-ish area above the first crest seen to the right.

Hazy views towards Yewbarrow, IIIgill Head and the Scafells.
It's very unusual to experience low cloud, haze and strong winds which hampered almost every photo I'd taken.

Middle Fell, Knott Ends, Yewbarrow and the Scafells.
I'd blazed a good three quarters of a mile from Greendale Tarn, ascending 600 feet in the process, all that was left was another 400 feet of pathless ascent, which I zigzagged over the familiar but hellishly steep ground.

Seatallan summit.
I'd seen a solo walker from Greendale Tarn in ascent earlier, and I wondered if it was the chap who had left before me back at Greendale, either way whoever it was had gone by the time I had arrived, where I was treated to biting windchill aided by the strong winds. While my walking poles flare in every direction but the ground I attempted to take a walk around.

Crag Fell, Caw Fell and Haycock seen beyond the Blengdale Valley.
The wind was so strong, and light so poor I gave up on the views and eagerly turned my back on the wind whilst looking forward to enjoying the splendid descent to Cat Bields via Seatallan's south-west ridge.

Ahead, Cat Bields while towards the left, Glade How and Buckbarrow.
A ridge that no photo can do justice.

Arriving at Cat Bields.
It had started to hail soon after leaving Seatallan, which then turned to rain carried in the wind which, although clearly visible, never actually got me wet. The wind, however, had picked up once again, leaving the exposed Cat Bields feeling as chilled as it had back on Seatallan's summit.

Glade How and Buckbarrow from Cat Bields.
It doesn't look it but the half mile between Cat Bields and Glade How was some of most ferocious icy winds I'd experienced in a long time.

Glade How.

Buckbarrow summit.
Seen over on the left.

Yewbarrow from Buckbarrow.
I'd arrived at the same time as the chap who had left before me back at Greendale but it impossible to talk over the wind and nod's were exchanged instead. I could only assume after he had left Seatallan he had taken the faint path from the ridge to the Joss Naylor cairn before continuing onto Buckbarrow.

Descending Buckbarrow for Gill Beck.

Illgill Head from Nether Wasdale.

I waved at the chap before I left the summit, but he was in such good form that he would overtake me again at the head of Gill Beck before I would lose sight of him. The wind had dropped during descent, but not enough to take the edge of the windchill, which bit at exposed skin. I knew from how tender my face felt that it would be raw for a few hours to come. With Harrow Head below, I continued my descent, with firm ground underfoot and the wind still howling about my ears. A herd of sheep had been left at the roadside leaving the odd straggler on the road who, as I passed would dart into the bracken like their life depended on it. 

I began my walk back to Greendale while being passed by the odd car and a trio of cyclists who warned me of their approach with a 'hey-up-bike!!' The road seemed quiet now, and I swear I could see chinks of blue sky over Illgill Head, but in the same breath, I'd never seen the Scafells look so uninviting. I passed Joss Naylor's old cottage where, back in April 2011, I not only met Joss but had my photo taken with him. Joss's cottage is now holiday accommodation, but if you look closely enough, you can still see some of Joss's pictures hanging on the walls.


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