At 2,415 feet the walk up Seat Sandal from Grasmere offers a steep but rewarding Lake District climb. In particular the hidden land towards Grisedale Tarn is ripe for exploration.
Seat Sandal is a familiar site for anyone travelling along the A591 between Keswick and the southern Lakes. Above Dunmail Raise the mountain’s uniformally steep slopes make it look like a formidable climb. It is. As a result many cheat and sacrifice some height by starting on Dunmail Raise. Alternatively it can be tagged on to a climb of Fairfield but this is a steep climb and not really enroute anywhere. Therefore it is best to tackle Seat Sandal from Grasmere.
To add interest to the climb of Seat Sandal I headed off in mid winter. The slopes had snow soon after leaving the valley floor. However this made the climb more interesting, batting deep snow in places, wind blown slopes with exposed frozen grass in others. I certainly enjoyed it more than a previous climb in good weather. Hopefully the photos reflect some of the enjoyment of this winter walk. On arriving at the summit the views were superb aside from some wispy cloud. The descent is fun, steep at first but easy along the valley floor after Grisedale Tarn.
The steep descent to Grisedale Tarn is well worth the hammering your knees will take. However having enjoyed the tarn and the valley of Tongue Gill I would reverse the walk next time. I suspect the views coming down the south western slopes will be memorable.
The steep and uniform slopes do become confusing in bad weather. Not so much on the climb when all routes eventually lead to the summit but on the descent when a few degrees out can lead to a very different point at the mountain’s foot.
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