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Seathwaite, Thornythwaite Fell, Glaramara, Grains Gill, Stockley Bridge, Cumbria.
[13.3 km]  Thu 02 Nov 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 23564 12305
Lat/Long:
54.500284, 03.181776

The weather forecast was good and I had a pleasant drive to the cul-de-sac lane to Seathwaite and found plenty of room to park by the wall. Later in the day the lane verge would be full of cars.
Lakeland walker & author Alfred Wainwright made this comment: “Seathwaite, once in a little world of its own with few visitors, has become a pedestrian metropolis. Great days on the fells begin and end here.”
Seathwaite is the wettest inhabited place in England and receives around 3,552 millimetres (140 in) of rain per year.

Sunshine in Borrowdale
I set off through the farmyard but soon turned off the main path to Stockley Bridge and headed along the path along the east side of the valley in a NE direction. I could see sunshine on the high fells but didn’t expect to see any in the valleys for a while yet. Near Thorneythwaite Farm I could hear what sounded like a large engine. All of a sudden a helicopter appeared over the horizon and headed up the valley.  Near where it took off was a large vehicle and what looked like a fuel tanker on a trailer. Further along the farm access track it was useful to see a field with parking available at £3.
Helicopter taking off

The Langdale Pikes from Glaramara
I turned right up a rough stone track to start the ascent of Combe Gill. I was still in shade but could see sunshine in Borrowdale to the north. After the steepest part of the climb the gradient levelled off and became very wet. I headed for Combe Head which was partly shrouded in cloud.
Great Gable
I had to get past several tarns to the south and needed to make some detours to get round very swampy ground. I climbed up Glaramara from the east but didn’t have a track to follow. Over the summit were several faint paths but the ground was good enough to make my own way. I descended to Lincomb Tarns where I had good views of Great Gable in the sunshine. The obvious way ahead was over Allen Crags, which is a route I’ve done several times before.
Towards the Langdale Pikes
As my planned route was down Grains Gill I decided to see if it was possible to get directly into the Gill from Lincomb Tarns. I approached the descent and could see there was a steep way down via Allen Gill. I took my time and picked a route that took me down to Grains Gill bottom and the main path. I was now in shade all the way to Stockley Bridge.
Looking down Grains Gill
I continued along the main path back to Seathwaie and was surprised not to have seen a single walker the whole way. Up to the left I could see the old graphite mines that brought prosperity to the valley from the mid 16th century with the development of the pencil. The old map calls them Plumbago Mines. I chatted briefly with the farmer about his parking sign that pointed into his field. It seems a better option than parking along the lane.
Stockley Bridge