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Seathwaite, Sty Head, Corridor Route, Great End, Grains Gill, Cumbria.
[12.8 km]  Wed 29 Nov 2017

OS Grid ref: NY 23499 12253
Lat/Long:
54.499801, -03.182774

The weather forecast was good with mostly clear skies for Cumbria. After a clear drive I arrived at Seathwaite to overcast skies. Because of continuing parking problems along the lane I headed for the farmers field which he has made available as a car park for £3/day. The access tracks were stoned but the parking area was on the field which was rather wet. The last time I was here I just about got on and off without getting stuck. This time I wasn’t as lucky and after reverse parking tried to drive off and lost traction with the front wheels.

Stockley Bridge
I managed with difficult to get back on the track and left the car at the side of a stoned area. As I headed out on my walk I saw the farmer and mentioned where I’d left my car.
I headed south along the track to Stockley Bridge with a good view up Seathwaite fell and Grains Gill. Over the bridge I headed up the stoned path by Styhead Gill. The temperature had been around zero but soon went sub-zero and certainly felt cold. Up ahead I could see a figure and soon caught up. It was a young lady heading towards Sty Head, the same way as me. We walked together and chatted on the way. She was Helen from Manchester and a keen walker who knew the fells very well.
As we walked the sky began to clear and the views improved. It was also very calm with little wind. We reached the ‘Stretcher Box’ at Sty Head where we sheltered behind a large boulder to have some sandwiches. Although not much wind it felt very cold. Helen was heading up to Scafell Pike and I was heading for my next objective of Lambfoot Dub small tarn via the Corridore Route. For the next mile we were following the same route so continued our conversations. There is no path to Lambfoot Dub so when we reached the steep gully up to the tarn our ways parted and we said goodbye.
On the Corridore Route Helen checks her phone. Great Gable is in the backgound
The climb up was fairly easy and I reached the tarn in cold clear sunshine. To the right is a small promontory with a few flat areas where a tent can be pitched. I was last here 10 years ago when I pitched my tent and stopped for the night. There is an excellent view of Great Gable. As I walked by the incredible clear water of the tarn I notice a white plaque on a boulder.
View down into Wasdale

Great Gable from Lambfoot Dub. Styhead Tarn can be seen to the right
The plaque reads:
==
In Memory of Paddy Bird,
Who died here 14th June 1966 attempting
the three peaks, Aged 19 Years.
Much loved by all his family,
Jeremy and Paddy Bird,
14th June, 2016.
==
I didn’t recall seeing it the last time I was here and the reason was clear on the last line. Someone had fitted it 50 years after the death in 2016.

The plaque

In Memory of Paddy Bird
I found the story of Paddy’s death very upsetting.
Paddy had set off in June 1966 to climb Snowdon, Scafell Pike then Ben Nevis with a friend Kevin Prendergast.
Paddy was at the University of Birmingham and they were attempting the expedition to raise money for charities as part of RAG week.
They completed Snowdon on 13th June 1966 and drove straight to Scafell that afternoon. Paddy and Kevin went up Scafell at 4pm in running shoes and t-shirts, which were inadequate for the high mountains. They were never seen alive again.
Their bodies were found the next day at this location by the Mountain Rescue Team. They both had damaged ankles and it appears they were unable to continue and died of exposure.

Paddy Bird
I left the spot and continued up into the large amphitheatre hanging valley below Great End. There is no path but the going was straightforward by avoiding the boulders and keeping to the snow covered grassy areas. The last time I was here I climbed the central gully but as there was frozen snow around I kept to the steep grassy side and using my ice-axe was able to reach to top without any problems.
My shadow by Lambfoot Dub

Lambfoot Dub & Great Gable

Great Gable
The top was the saddle between Great end and Broad Crag. I was now on frozen snow in full sunshine with excellent views. It felt cold and the wind had increased and was -5degC. There were plenty of tracks in the snow and the steep descent into Calf Cove was easy because of the soft snow and previous footprints to follow. I could see several people coming up from Esk Hause and I soon met them as I descended.
View from the saddle
Instead of continuing to the shelter stone wall I turned off into the cold wind to follow the minor path down towards Sprinkling Tarn. Some of the path had stone steps but these were covered in frozen snow and ice so I kept to the adjacent grass and soft snow for better grip. I didn’t go as far as the tarn but took the branch path to the right and down Grains Gill. I kept well away from the steep side of Ruddy Gill where sections were covered in ice. By the time I’d reached the Grains Gill wooden footbridge I was below the freezing line. The earlier sunshine had now vanished and I continued back to Stockley Bridge and the track back to Seathwaite under cloud.

Grains Gill wooden footbridge

View across Derwentwater on the drive home