SANDAL SEAT with Stan Leigh

route. The path climbs alongside Tongue Gill, passes the Hydro plant, the former reservoir, and the attractive cascade of water. Continue on to reach Grisedale Tarn - a nice location to have a break. From here, follow the wall westwards to reach the summit. The best descent is via the south ridge to return to Mill Bridge. An excellent walk – approximately 4 miles with 2,200 feet of ascent.

Seat Sandal from Helm Crag

Seat Sandal may not be a fell name that everyone is familiar with but those who have travelled on the A591 will have passed close by without even realising it. This road, between Windermere and Keswick, has received the accolade of being Britain’s favourite and named the UK’s best driving road. Seat Sandal is situated on the east side of Dunmail Raise where the ascent towards Thirlmere and descent towards Grasmere keeps the driver busy and provides much to stimulate the eye for the passengers.

Seat Sandal is best viewed heading north from Grasmere, or from the fells of Silver How or Helm Crag. It is prominent in the Grasmere landscape and soars from Dunmail Raise to a flat-topped summit at 2415 feet and then abruptly loses height down to Grisedale Tarn at 1769 feet on the east side.

This is a pleasant walk with lots to see. On a clear day, it is possible to see 11 lakes and tarns en route – Ullswater, Windermere, Blelham Tarn, Wise Een Tarn, Alcock Tarn, Esthwaite Water, Grasmere, Coniston Water, Easedale Tarn, Thirlmere and Grisedale Tarn. I suggest OS Explorer Maps OL4 [The English Lakes, North East Area], Alfred wainwright’s Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland fells – Book 1 [The Eastern Fells] and Andrew Leaney’s website which contains photographs and maps – view:

The alternative is to ascend from Dunmail Raise via the path alongside Raise Beck and then turn half- right above the highest cascade to reach the summit – approximately 11/2 miles with 1700 feet of ascent.

I recently walked the Tongue Gill route for the first time since 2009 and was interested in the new hydroelectricity plant, constructed in 2014. There is a similar scheme at Rydal Hall too - it is good to see these projects coming on stream and being constructed without harming the beautiful landscape. It’s good that we are generating energy from our natural resources – just like the old days. I’ve enjoyed reading Eric Cass’s recent articles on the industrial past of Cockermouth in the Cockermouth Post when water was the main source of power.

Grasmere from Seat Sandal descent

There are two good quality walking routes. I recommend the one from Mill Bridge, just north of Travellers Rest at Grasmere on the Coast to Coast


To the north of Seat Sandal is an amazing masterpiece of our engineering heritage – the Thirlmere Reservoir, including the dam and a 96- mile long aqueduct built between 1890 and 1925.

One thing that does disturb me regarding management of water resources, is that to the north-east of Seat Sandals, dams were constructed

Fairfield&St.Sunday Crag from Seat Sandal

in the Glencoyne Valley, north of Sheffield Pike and at Glenridding Beck, below Catstycam. They are in a ruined state but they are a reminder that they were built for a useful purpose. The Glencoyne valley is quite deep and I just wonder if these dams had been maintained as part of a flood defence strategy, whether this could have made a difference at vulnerable locations - Glenridding and Pooley Bridge for example. If you go walking in either of these two areas, have a look – see what you think.

Tongue Gill Hydro

I hope that you have enjoyed the summer and the opportunity to get out and about to enjoy our local area scenery and local events. If you are a visitor, we hope that you enjoy your stay and that you take many pleasant memories back home with you.

Explore and discover! Stan


Seat Sandal from Great Tongue

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