Cumbria Scenes – 23.5.12

Middle Fell

But why Seatallan? The answer lies here,in this lower and even less-regarded element of the Wasdale scene, Middle Fell. How unpretentious a name can a fell bear?
On the classic approach to Wasdale, Great Gable, the perfect mountain image, holds the eye. It is the centre of the picture, framed perfectly by the twin angles of Yewbarrow, on the left, and Lingmell on the right, like theatre curtains drawn back to reveal the star performer. To the further left,most advanced towards the camera but completely overlooked is the short, shapeless, blocky Middle Fell.
Its significance to me is that, as Seatallan was no. 214, journey’s end, omega, Middle Fell was the alpha, the beginning, no. 1. My first summit, our first summit.
It was reached almost by accident, not presented as a plan but nevertheless an (I think) secret intention on my Dad and Uncle’s part. We climbed out of Nether Wasdale by the side of Greendale Gill, made a long uphill walk of it on a path threading through outcrops, until, at last, after three hours of toil, the summit came in sight.
Seatallan lies behind Middle Fell, geographically linked by a wide neck of trackless land at the head of Greendale Gill, above Greendale Tarn. The natural line of descent from my 214th fell, apart from retracing my steps over trodden ground, was to descend a long slope to this neck of land, and ascend the short back of my 1st fell, to a summit I had never visited since that visit 26 years and more before.
From the end to the beginning: what better final fell could I have chosen.
Fortune favoured me. I arrived on Middle Fell again just as a small party of walkers were leaving, and was alone there for a half hour. My sister had long since given up fellwalking, my parents and my Uncle were no longer with us. They had collected no more than about twenty tops, my Dad only three before the onset of the cancer that prevented him from doing everything I’d done. I’d done them all, completed the greatest circle of all, only that day.
For a half hour, I talked with shades.
Then I packed my things up and set off back down to the car.
In 1968, we had taken three hours up, and one hour down. In 1995, it amused me greatly to realise that, although I had taken a considerably longer way round, it had still only taken me three hours to get to the top of Middle Fell.


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