Hills: Seat Sandal, Dollywaggon Pike, Nethermost Pike and Helvellyn
Date: Monday 13th April 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 17.8km, Ascent: 1250m
Time: 5Hrs 50Mins
The weather forecasts for today were suggesting the weather would be slightly better in the Northern and Eastern Lakes compared with the Western and Southern Lakes. I therefore drove from my base in Ravenglass round to Grasmere to ascend Helvellyn via Seat Sandal, Dollywaggon Pike and Nethermost Pike.
I parked in a large lay-by near Broadrayne Farm. The parking here is free of charge unlike the car parks a short distance further along the road towards Grasmere.
From the lay-by, I walked several hundred metres down the A591 towards Grasmere to reach the start of the public bridleway.
The bridleway ascends next to Tongue Gill.
Public Bridleway alongside Tongue Gill:
On the OS map, the south ridge of Seat Sandal looks quite nice. However, I could see no way to gain access onto this ridge. I therefore continued on up the public bridleway.
During the ascent, the cloud-level was at circa 400m. I was unaware of the height of the snowline, all I knew was that it was higher than 400m.
Looking towards lower section of South ridge of Seat Sandal:
Despite the low-cloud, it was still nice to look back to Grasmere. Grasmere is
possibly my favourite location in the Lakes. On a good day, the lake is stunning.
Looking back towards Grasmere:
Once into the cloud, I followed a narrow path skirting above a small crag. As I
made my way along this path, I could see numerous sheep coming towards me.
Sheep descending the track:
A short distance beyond, I could see why the sheep I had seen earlier were
heading downhill. Several men were herding an even larger flock of sheep downhill. One of the farmers asked where I was heading,
advising me of slippery snow ahead.
Lots more sheep being herded downhill:
On reaching Grisedale Hause, I skirted round Grisedale Tarn towards the point on the map marked 574m. The easiest ascent of Seat Sandal looked to be from this
I had to watch my footing during the ascent of Seat Sandal as the ground was fairly steep and the snow (slush) was indeed very slippery.
Ascending Seat Sandal:
On reaching the summit area, I visited the cairn and the summit (rock next to wall).
Looking towards Grasmere from the summit of Seat Sandal:
I then made my way back down following a low stone wall towards the 574m point. As I made my way down Seat Sandal, the cloud started lifting and dissipating. I could now see St. Sunday Crag, Fairfield and Dollywaggon Pike
St. Sunday Crag and Fairfield across Grisedale Tarn:
At the base of Dollywaggon Pike, I met a bonnie lass from Penrith who I accompanied up Dollywaggon Pike.
Ascending Dollywaggon Pike with lass from Penrith:
As I gained height, I got increasingly good views of the surrounding hills. I think this would be a great walk on a good day. I undertook the nearby Fairfield Horseshoe on an outstanding day.
Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal:
High Street through the col between St. Sunday Crag and Fairfield:
On reaching the summit of Dollywaggon Pike, I saw two people approaching from the North. They advised that they had come up a route known as the Tongue. They also advised against descending that way owing to slippery snow.
People ascending the Tongue to the summit of Dollywaggon Pike:
The view from Dollywaggon Pike was pretty-good. The North face of Helvellyn is so much craggier than the South face.
Looking towards Helvellyn and beyond from the summit of Dollywaggon Pike:
From the summit of Dollywagon Pike I made my way across to another minor top of Dollywaggon Pike before descending back to the track and continuing on towards Helvellyn.
View from minor top beyond Dollywaggon Pike:
It felt bitterly cold on the ridge today; more like winter than spring.
Heading for Nethermost Pike:
As I progressed towards Helvellyn, I took a short diversion off the track to
reach the summit of Nethermost Pike (a Wainwright). Nethermost Pike is worth
the detour for the view across to Striding Edge. I will definitely revisit Helvellyn yet again for an ascent via Striding Edge.
Striding Edge from the summit of Nethermost Pike:
Striding Edge (zoom):
Looking back towards Dollywaggon Pike:
En-route to the summit, I passed the small memorial and the large cross-shaped shelter.
Cross shelter near the summit of Helvellyn:
At the summit, I looked down Swirral Edge towards Catstye Cam; a Wainwright I have yet to
ascend. I then walked out to the trig point and back to the shelter where I stopped to put on another layer and to have a bite to eat.
Catstye Cam from the summit of Helvellyn:
Looking down to the cross shelter from the summit of Helvellyn:
Looking down to Red Tarn from the summit of Helvellyn:
Looking towards the summit of Helvellyn from the trig point:
At the summit shelter, we sat and watched a mouse running about in the snow. It must live in the shelter feeding
on scraps of food. I don't normally leave food on the hill but tioday I
decided to leave the mouse my apple core.
From the summit, I made my way back towards Nethermost Pike before following the excellent quality track back down towards Thirlmere.
Descent towards Birk Side:
During the descent, the weather deteriorated; low-cloud and drizzle.
Looking back to Helvellyn during descent:
On reaching the wide forestry track, I followed it for circa 1km. This meant I only had 4km to walk back along the road instead of 5km!
I initially walked through the fields next to the road as there was no pavement or grass verge and cars were speeding past. Once the road
changed to dual carriageway, I walked along the
grass verge back to the car. I definitely want to ascend Helm Crag!
Grasmere and Helm Crag during walk back along the A591:
Despite having ascended Helvellyn previously, it was good to get out and do
a big fell today instead of Sub2000ft Marilyns. A good day out on a great