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Western Fells - Seatallan

Seatallan - 'King of the Fells'

tubular-walks-logo If you would like superb views from lonely fells then look no further than Seatallan.  Seat Allan or more romantically, Alein's mountain shieling has more than its fair share of features to give it status far higher than its modest 692 metres might otherwise suggest.  Apart from the etymology of the mountain name, taking its human origins way back before the time of Christ, the obvious importance of the peak is increased by the presence of a bronze age tumulus or burial mound and of course, its merit is even greater as it is home territory to that King of the fells, Jos Naylor.

Peter meets Jos Naylor at homeParking at Greendale presents few problems, as most people are blazing a trail for the carparks of Wasdale Head and their heady trails up Scafell Pike or Great Gable.  Middle Fell and Seatallan would probably not warrant a second glance from many as they speed past.  From the car, the route sets off quite steeply from the start, ascending the south-west spur of Middle Fell.  At an altitude of about 210 metres and 600 metres from the start, turn right up Middle Fell or if you felt a visit to Greendale Tarn was appropriate carry on straight on from here.  You can cut out Middle Fell altogether and surmount Seatallan from the col at 465m.  However, the ascent of Middle Fell in this way is a purest's route but certainly not as steep as the Bell Rib edge of Yewbarrow.

At the summit of Middle Fell the view up into Hollow Stones to the east is like looking into some great geological mouth of the Scafells.  There is no doubt that Brown tongue is an appropriate name for the landscape feature, with the ring of Scafell Crag and Pikes Crag forming an inpenetrable ring like teeth, the mighty summits of Scafell and Scafell Pike rising higher like canine fangs.

Walking off north from the summit, the path gradually descends.  Did you know?Buckbarrow derives from Old Norse for the hill of the buck or goat. In about 1400 the fell was known as Bokkeberge.There are views of Haycock and as you reach the hause, the rather imposing east flank of Seatallan ahead.  Although the ascent is quite steep there are many excuses to stop for a breather with the most fantastic views of the Scafell massif.  What's even more surprising is that just like in AW's day, eroded paths have yet to materialise and the walker can blaze their own route to the summit - the choice is yours.

The high point of the day is soon reached and shelter can be sought in the huge summit cairn, apparently fashioned from a bronze age tumulus that adorns the summit.  Don't worry too much about destroying the archaeology, I feel that years of human interaction have already caused untoward damage but it's an ideal place to eat your lunch or have a snack and contemplate all those hoards who are probably ascending Brown Tongue.  As you admire your quiet kingdom from your summit pirch, most of those bound for Scafell or the Pikes are still at low altitide and perspiring in the midst of their ascent of Hollow Stones.

AW Says:"A rocky slope above which the summit rises in easier gradients.

Sean McMahon at the Jos Naylor CairnThe south ridge of Seatallan is a gentle affair, leading down to Glade How and Buckbarrow.  However, it is on the descent that you need to look out for the feature included upon Tubular Fells.  If visibility is good, there will be no problem seeking out the tall slender pillar built by fellrunning legend, Jos Naylor.  It's a fine piece of construction, apparently completed on 10th April 2002 which was the day the late Queen Mother was interred.

From the cairn, the way leads back to the valley via the summit of Buckbarrow.  The crags here are steep and precipitous so take care to turn west for a while in order to descend Gill Beck.  Once back at the roadside, it's a simple march back to your car eastwards along the road.  If you're lucky it will have taken little more than 4 hours and that's including all those stops to marvel at the glorious scenary all around.

The Route Map and Path Profile:


Walk profile for this walk

Nota Bene

Walking in the Lake District, Scotland or elsewhere can be dangerous especially for the inexperienced or in bad weather. It is the walker's responsibility to be properly prepared and kitted out. Walkers should always carry a map and compass when on the mountains and know how to use them.
Please remember that no hand drawn map, or well prepared guidebook is ever a substitute for the correct Ordnance Survey or similar Harveys Map (Lakeland Central Map or Lake District 1:40000) for an area. Especially in mountainous terrain, any errors of navigation can prove inconvenient at the least and in the most extreme circumstance may lead to serious injury or loss of life.   If you are in any doubt about your situation do not set out. For further information on fellwalking and to find advice and related articles visit the Online Fellwalking Club.

carry-a-route-cardAt the express request of the LDSAMRA always leave a route card to outline your day's intended route on the mountains.  Route cards for these walks are attached as part of the free walk downloads and a blank version is available in the 'Free from the Fells' section for your other felltop escapades.

Start point: NY 145 056
End Point: NY 145 056
Distanc 9.5km / 5.9miles
Max. Height: 692m/ 2271ft
Min. Height: 70m/ 230ft
Height Ascended: 748m/ 2454ft
Estimated Time:
3hrs, 8mins
Wainwright Book:
5 The Western Fells
AW 94/214

Other information:
94th Wainwright
109th highest in England
181ST highest in England and Wales
Hewitt, Nuttall or Marilyn?:
OS Explorer (Orange Covers) sheet:
OS Landranger (Pink Covers) sheet:

Download a PDF page of the 'King of the Fells' walk to take with you, but don't forget to take the relevant map and compass on the day.  The PDF contains all the information from this web page and can be printed out in full colour.

Download the walk

Remember, in an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for 'Police' (not Mountain Rescue), give your name, telephone number and location, your notes, map make and number. STAY BY THE PHONE and await further instruction.


Western Fells - Seat Allan
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