Saturday, September 29, 2018

Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route from Seathwaite

Date: 28th Sept 2018
Start/Finish: Seathwaite
Route: Up to Styhead Tarn and then on to Scafell Pike via corridor route. Return over Great End and Grains Gill.
Wainwrights: Scafell Pike, Great End.
Time Taken: 7 Hours

Below is a 3D fly-through of the route 

I've climbed Scafell Pike many times; from Wast Water, Eskdale and Langdale but never from Seathwaite via the corridor route. So this was about hiking a new route up a familiar mountain. I drove up the night before in the camper van and parked in Seathwaite. This way I could get an early start after a good nights sleep. I chose the classic circular route up Styhead Gill to Sty Head and then along the corridor route to Scafell Pike before heading back via Esk Hause and Grains Gill. I made a few small deviations onto Broad Crag, Ill Crag and Great End for the views.

Accommodation in Seathwaite

Seathwaite Fell over Stockley Bridge

Looking back along Styhead Gill

An unnecessarily large cairn near Sty Head

Styhead Tarn

Great End 

The usual wild campers around Styhead Tarn unsurprisingly forgetting the bit about 'always pack up before the day hikers arrive' 

A lone hiker near the start of the corridor route

The corridor route heading towards Piers Gill

Piers Gill

Heading towards Lingmell Col

The top of Piers Gill

Lingmell and Great Gable from the path up to Scafell Pike 

Scafell Pike summit - under cloud
I had lunch in one of the many wind breaks near the summit but unfortunately the cloud didn't look like it was going to lift any time soon, so I headed off down the badly eroded path to the col at the top of little narrowcove before heading up to Broad Crag and then across to Ill Crag.

Looking down little narrowcove gulley

Broad Crag summit

Ill Crag

Looking down the Esk valley from Ill Crag

Bowfell from Ill Crag

Great End

Views down to Borrowdale from Great End

The top of Central Gulley on Great End

Great End summit views over to Glaramara 

Ill Crag, Broad Crag and Scafell Pike now cloud free

Views over Esk Hause towards Esk Pike and Bowfell

Esk Pike from Esk Hause

Views of the route back down to Seathwaite, the Borrowdale valley and Derwent Water beyond

The Langdale Pikes

Great End and Great Gable

The bottom of Central Gulley

Grains Gill and the path back to Seathwaite

Now this is undoubtedly a lovely walk in a stunning landscape but the day was somewhat tarnished by the strange behaviour of some folk along the way. I know it was Scafell Pike on a Saturday with a half decent forecast and so I expected a crowd but there were literally hundreds of people of the mountain, including someone shouting obscenities from the summit at the top of their voice (a lost bet maybe?) when so may folk were around including children. Also, there was a group of 30 ish strewn along a mile section of Grains Gill whose chief method of communication was to repeatedly yodel at each other. Now I'm all for a good yodel in the Swiss alps when needs must but this was ridiculous and just annoying to everyone within earshot.

It also seemed that there was a festival of tissue paper on the mountain today. Every 50 yards or so the path was decorated with the stuff. And then, to add to my disillusionment, I was asked 5 times by different groups where Scafell Pike was. None had a GPS, map or compass. I also encountered folk in jeans & brogues and a girl in a leather bikers jacket complete with tassels, who unsurprisingly looked thoroughly miserable on the Scafell ascent in clag, 30mph gusts and 2 degrees above zero. I really feel for the poor Mountain Rescue Teams who must despair at the sheer idiocy of some people. Ah well. Rant over. It's a lovely area. Just go midweek and early morning, or leave it until winter.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Castle Crag and the Borrowdale Valley

Date: 26th July 2018
Start/Finish: Rosthwaite Hotel
Wainwrights: Castle Crag (951 feet)
Distance: 5.6 Miles
Height Gain: 2080 Feet
Time Taken: A very leisurely 4 hours

Social Hiking Map Link

The Route: Clockwise from the Rosthwaite Hotel

Castle Crag is a bit of an outlier as it doesn't easily link up with any surrounding fells without significant height loss. Its nearest neighbours of High Spy to the west and Grange Fell to the east are best climbed in a circuit of their respective neighbouring fells. For this reason, Castle Crag is often the last Wainwright climbed on the circuit of 214. However, I was in the area on a family camping holiday and it was a balmy windless day ideal for a low fell with good views. So instead of marching my 11 year old lad up one of the high fells we decided to tackle something lower. Castle Crag fitted the bill nicely, especially as part of a circuit of the Borrowdale valley. It also had the advantage of finishing by the River Derwent where we could cool off afterwards.

We parked on the Rosthwaite Hotel car park and duly paid the £3 all day fee. The walk took us on a wide circular route out towards Seatoller and then looping back towards Castle Crag before descending steeply down to the Derwent. 

Views over to Stonethwaite

First sight of Castle Crag (centre left)

Surveying the destination

A steep ascent

Remnants of previous quarrying

Views southwards from the ascent path

Slate cairns 

Summit views of Derwent Water

The summit

Cooling off in the Derwent 

Those fish were actually nibbling our toes!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review - Real Turmat Cod in Curry Sauce

Product Review

I was recently invited to be on the 'tasting panel' by Basecamp Foods. The deal is that they send me a free meal and I write an honest review. Seems fair enough. They sent me my first meal a few weeks ago and having no wild camps imminently planned, I took it on a recent campervan holiday in the Lakes.

Real Turmat is a brand that I've heard of via the @basecampfood twitter account, but I have never tried any of their meals. Its essentially a freeze dried meal similar to many others that I've used but this particular brand uses a vacuum pack to minimise packing size/weight and improve shelf life. This one was dated 2021 and weighed 101g on my scales (manufactures dry weight is quoted as 85g).

101 grams 

I like the vacuum pack. It feels as firm as a brick which gives confidence that it can be crammed into the corner of a rucksack with the assurance that its unlikely to tear. It definitely feels like a stronger format that the loose freeze dried packaging that I've used previously. The only disadvantage is that its not easy to read the instructions as the pack is so crinkly. Thankfully, its not rocket science though.

The pack has 2 tear lines. The top one is torn so as to open it for filling with your boiling water. Just under this tear line is a grip seal which is then closed to keep the heat in for the required 8 minutes while the meal rehydrates. There is a water level marker on the outside of the package. Personally I found this a bit awkward to line up. It is however preferable to the system I've used previously where you have to add a certain volume of water which can be difficult to measure accurately when out in the field. In my opinion, a marker line inside the pack would be the perfect system.

Vacuum Packaging

After 8 mins, you can then undo the grip seal and your meal is ready. You can use the lower tear line if you want a shallower package for eating out of. In this way you can use a normal size spork and still reach right to the bottom without dousing your knuckles. You would otherwise need a long handled spoon.

Looks good / Tastes good


I must admit to being a bit dubious about a dehydrated cod curry but it was actually very nice. It reconstituted really well despite me probably using slightly less water than would be ideal (see previous comment about getting the water level right). The consistency was good. There was a nice mix of cod and potato/veg/sauce. The cod tasted great. The pack was easy to handle and stood up by itself due to the flat base. My only complaint was that is was a bit bland for my taste. A hotter curry flavour would have been more tasty for me but that's a personal preference. Overall though, this was a really nice meal which I would be more than happy to have again. At £9.99 its certainly not cheap but the quality is markedly higher than similar meals I've had around the £7 to £8 price point. I have had some shockingly bad freeze dried meals over the years but this one is right up there with the very best. I would be interested to try some of the other meals from this brand - a chicken curry would be nice please dear Basecamp Foods :-)

Nutritional info is as follows :- Energy 1615kj / 386 kcal, Protein 19g, Carbohydrate 34g, Sugar 4.6g, Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 5g, Salt 3.6g.


This product was sent to me free of charge from There was no obligation to write a favourable review. My review is honest and independent.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A High Level Circuit of the Greenup Valley

Date: 9th June 2018
Start/Finish: Rosthwaite
Wainwrights: Eagle Crag (1706 feet), Sergeant's Crag (1873 feet), Ullscarf (2382 feet), Great Crag (1726 feet), Grange Fell (1345 feet)
Distance: 12.5 miles
Time Taken: 8 Hours
Social Hiking Link

The route: Anticlockwise from Rosthwaite

This is a walk best served hot. Preferably at the end of a long hot summer so the squelchy quagmire around the Ullscarf plateau has had a chance to dry out. I took a gamble today as it's been unusually dry in the Lakes over the past 6 weeks.

I parked near Rosthwaite and walked along the Cumbria Way as far the Langstrath valley, and then followed the dry stone wall steeply up the lower flanks of Eagle Crag. From this side, Eagle Crag looks steep and impenetrable but there is one line of weakness which Wainwright's pictorial guide illustrates in detail and which I had studied the night before. As is happens, the many feet that have since trodden this route have carved a path that is fairly easy to follow. The key to accessing the upper crags is a short, steep gulley which the book describes well. From the top of this gulley, a path then zig-zags along a series of heather clad terraces before emerging onto the craggy summit. The view is good in all directions but especially back down to Stonethwaite, and over to Sergeant's Crag.

Bessyboot over Stonethwaite Beck from the Cumbria Way

First glimpse of Eagle Crag

Eagle Crag from the foot of the Langstrath Valley

Views back down the valley from the early ascent 

First view of Sergeant's Crag

The path along the upper terraces

Superb views along the length of the Langstrath Valley

Eagle Crag summit

Summit view towards Sergeant's Crag

A well used path links Eagle Crag to Sergeant's Crag, as it would be criminal not to visit both summits. Seargent's Crag offers superb views along the length of the Langstrath valley and little grassy patch off to one side made a great lunch spot.

Sergeant's Crag summit, looking back to Eagle Crag

View of High Raise from Sergeant's Crag

I walked over the head of the Greenup valley and around to Greenup Edge before following the path up onto Ullscarf. The summit is a dreary flat peat hag offering reasonable distant views but the foreground is robbed of interest by the expansive plateau.

The path up to Ullscarf

Ullscarf summit

From Ullscarf, Great Crag looks a long way away and the intervening landscape is undulating and difficult to negotiate. I decided to head over High Saddle and Low Saddle and then take a direct pathless route over the peat hags and grass tussocks towards High Crag. In anything but a dry spell, I can imagine this terrain being a boggy torment. Thankfully it was largely dry underfoot but it drizzled for most of the way, which was quite refreshing on this otherwise hot and windless day.

Views down to High Saddle and Low Saddle

Low Saddle views towards Great Crag

Views back over the Greenup valley towards Eagle Crag and Sergeant's Crag

An unexpected gem on this walk was the lovely Dock Tarn. It's a really picturesque little tarn made even more delightful by the clusters of white lilies in flower at this time of year.  

Dock Tarn

A short climb from the main path finds the summit of Great Crag. From up here it seems like a strange name as the crags don't appear particularly 'great'. They are hidden to the summit walker and visible only from the Borrowdale valley below. A more suitable name would perhaps be 'Heather Crag', as the summit is adorned with the stuff.

For tired legs it's a morale sapping view over more undulating terrain towards Grange Fell, which looks a long way away.

Great Crag summit 

Views back to Ullscarf

Unfortunately a larger degree of altitude than hoped is lost between Great Crag and Grange Fell but the walk is made considerably more interesting by the views over to Seathwaite and Great Gable.

A steep climb up a good path finds the summit of Grange Fell, which confusingly is called 'Brund Fell' on the map. OS seem to describe Grange Fell as a triangular kilometre of high ground with 3 separate peaks at each point; Brund Fell, Kings Howe and Ether Knott. Brund Fell is the highest point and therefore represents the summit of Grange Fell. 

Views towards Seathwaite

Brund Fell summit 
I thought I might pay a visit to Kings Howe on my way down as it didn't seem too far out of the way, and this fell is what most people assume is Grange Fell when seen from the road along the Borrowdale valley. 

Kings Howe summit views over Derwent Water

Castle Crag and High Spy

Views over Borrowdale towards Glaramara

A bracken invaded path then leads steeply down through the trees back to the road. I can image this would be lovely route upwards in autumn.