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Seathwaite, Stockley Bridge, Sty Head, Corridor Route, Lambfoot Dub, Esk Hause, Grans Gill, Cumbria.
[12.7 km]  Fri 08 Mar 2019

Lat/Long: 54.500461, -03.181727
OS Grid ref: NY 23568 12325

I had a windy drive to Seathwate, Cumbrai and I knew rain was forecast for about 11am. I was concerned as I drove past Blencathra as I could see quite a few snowfields around the summit. My planned walk is via the Corridor Route and up Greta Gill to the saddle below Great End. There was a possibility that the higher part of the climb may be difficult if too much snow.

Stockley Bridge
There were already a few cars parked on the lane at Seathwaite when I arrived and I was soon on my way heading south towards Stockley Bridge. I took a photo but could feel rain would soon arrive so I wrapped my camera in a plastic bag and set off up the climb towards Styhead Gill. The climb was steady and easy and when I reached the footbridge I could see that it had been recently renewed. New steel fixing brackets were the giveaway.
New bridge over Styhead Gill
I followed the path towards Sty Head and above I could see the cloud base obscuring the higher part of the Corridor Route, which is where I was heading. I walked past Styhead Tarn and up to the Stretcher Box. There were a few people about and one couple were leaving as another arrived from the Sprinkling Tarn path. I didn’t stop but pressed on left to the rocky outcrops before the Corridor Route path turn off. I managed to find a sheltered spot behind a rock where I could stop and eat my sandwiches before continuing.
Stretcher Box at Sty Head
There would be no more shelter on the walk. I also used the stop to put on my waterproof leggings as the rain and snow were just starting. I continued south to the Corridor Route and up to my next objective. I was on the main path to Scafell Pike but at an altitude of about 600m I left it to head up a steep slope which gives access to Lambfoot Dub (small tarn) and an interesting promontory which has some excellent flat spots which are ideal for camping, but not today. The grass was wet and partly covered with sleet so becoming rather slippery. Just before the small tarn I turned right to have a look at an area where I’ve camped several times before.
My old camping site was looking
very gloomy in the rain and sleet
There are also some boulders in a circle indicating previous camps by others. I headed to the tarn for my next objective. I was here in Nov 2017 and came across a memorial in a boulder to the memory of 19 year old Paddy Bird who died on the spot on 14 June 1966 while attempting the three peaks challenge for charity with his friend Kevin Prendergast who also died. Paddy’s brother had contacted me about the memorial he’d seen on my Nov 2017 post and sent me a photo of the memorial with his son, also called Paddy after his uncle.
Paddy Bird memorial in Nov 2017
I reached the boulder and was extremely disappointed to notice the plaque was no longer there. I could see where it had been and at first though it may have dislodged naturally. The boulders that surrounded it were gone and I set off to search the area and also peer down into the clear waters of Lambfoot Dub to see if it was there. I searched for a while without success. It appeared it had been removed along with the rocky surround. I felt a terrible sense of disappointment and also sadness for his family who had fixed the memorial. It was well away from any footpath and certainly not an eyesore, as many other memorials are.
The weather was worsening with more wind and snow.

Location where the Paddy Bird memorial used to be (Fri 8 Mar 2019)

The memorial after fixing with Paddy's nephew also called Paddy Bird

The memorial in Nov 2017

No sign of the memorial this morning
I continued ahead to Greta Gill and the high combe where I’d previously gained access to the path on the south side of Great End. This is where I was concerned about snow. The temperature had dropped to -3degC so I found some shelter and strapped my ice studs on. Instead of climbing the centre of the gulley I followed a snow field up the left side and was pleasantly surprised to find an easy access to the high path. Over the top the descent into Calf Cove was a continuous snowfield. With care it wasn’t a problem and I soon reached the stone shelter walls at the bottom.
Snowy shelter stones at Calf Cove

New bridge in Grains Gill

Concrete mixer on site
The strong wind was now on my back as I descended to Esk Hause. I left the main path and descended north towards Sprinkling Tarn and thankfully came out of the cloud and was able to see below. As I started the steep descent into Grains Gill the snow turned to heavy rain and continued all the way down to the valley bottom. About 1km from Stockley Bridge I came to the footbridge crossing of the river and crossed over a new wooden bridge. Pieces of the old bridge were bagged up nearby next to a concrete mixer.

A very wet Seathwaite

View of Sourmilk Gill from Seathwaite
Over Stockley Bridge I walked the flooded track back to Seathwaite Farm where several other walkers were returning from their walks. All, including me, looked like drowned rats.