Hello, my name is Mal Tabb.
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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Esk Pike; Bowfell & A Round of Tarns

With: on my own
Weather: a fine dry day with cloud above the summits but the easterly wind was bitterly cold
Where: the Lake District - starting & finishing from Seathwaite (approx 11 miles & 3,300' ascent)

Big Views From Bowfell Summit
Yesterday was a good day in the lakes bright sunny intervals; high cloud; dry although quite cold in the brisk easterly wind. Its been a difficult week, Kay isn't very well at all at the moment and spent a couple of days being treated in hospital on Monday & Tuesday, her Mum & Dad and our middle daughter have come up for the weekend and spent some time looking after her so I took the opportunity to go out and spend a few hours thinking and reflecting on the situation.

Even at just after 10:00 the queue of parked vehicles at Seathwaite was long, it was some distance from the farm where that last faff with boots & kit took place before setting off. Through the farm & up the track to Stockley Bridge another one of those places where the walk into the mountain environment gives a hint of what's to come. Over the bridge and the long pull alongside Grains Gill began - the view ahead is dominated by the bulk of Great End which appears to block the way on. Across the ford and take a left for the short ascent towards Esk Hause Shelter under ever clearing skies, the views from the Hause not really being done any justice by the picture below.

I've never visited either either Esk Pike or Bowfell before in daylight, its always been as part of night nav exercises either when training or under assessment conditions so it was good to be out in these high fells with no agenda other than to enjoy them. The rocky summit of Esk Pike provided plenty of sheltered spots out of the wind for a first lunch break, the sun was warm. It was enjoyable to hop from rock to rock on the descent to Ore Gap before the next gradual ascent up on to Bowfell and the hands and feet scramble on to it's summit which commanded spectacular views in all directions. Both summits are photographed below.

For the next section I re-traced footsteps down to Ore Gap stopping for a while to help out a couple who hadn't got a map and didn't know where they were or how to find a route back down to Langdale.

I have a recollection from a previous visit here in the dark of there being some aircraft wreckage on the slopes of Bowfell although if memory serves me well this is most likely on the Yeastyrigg side rather than around Ore Gap.

Dropping down through the gap the wind chill became more notoceable and the first glimpse of Angle Tarn showed its surface to be disturbed to the extent that the occasional white top could be seen. It was only at this point that I decided to head on past Sprinkling Tarn & take in Sty Head Tarn also to add a round of Tarns into the day. The climb back up to Esk Hause, although obvious from the map surprised me a little - it was quite impressive to ascend back back up from this side under the gaze of Allen Crags.

Returning to Esk Hause next target was Sprinkling Tarn, on this occasion devoid of campers, in fact by this time (around 14:00hrs) the previously busy fells had become distinctly more sparsely populated. Descending now with impressive views towards the Gables as intervals of sunshine interspersed with slightly more cloudy conditions produced a continuously changing landscape.

Sty Head Tarn, conversely, was well attended by campers with at least seven or eight tents dotted around the edge, one group had a couple of fishing lines set up. 

With one last look behind into this most inspiring of Lake District panoramas I set off alongside Sty Head Gill, under Seathwaite Fell and down to Stockley Bridge where folk were soaking tired feet in the clear mountain water. Not long back to the car and an altogether quieter scene at Seathwaite as the majority of people had clearly had their day in the fells and headed off from the area. For me, back to a busy Blaithwaite to check back in on Kay.

The Gables & Sty Head Tarn From Just Beyond Sprinkling Tarn

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