High Seat is a fell in the
centre of the English Lake District and despite being below 2,000 ft it
is the highest point for about 5 miles in any direction; a consequence
of the curious fact that the centre of the district is lower than the
The main watershed of the Central Fells runs north-south with
Bleaberry Fell forming the northern end of the ridge. High Seat is the
next fell to the south, before the land falls to High Tove.
Seat sends out the spur of Dodd to the north west, separated from the
body of the fell by Ashness Gill, a feeder of Watendlath Beck. Oddly, by
the time the Gill reaches the famed viewpoint of Ashness Bridge, it has
actually become Barrow Beck.
The western flank here is clad in
broadleaved woodland but further south along Watendlath Beck this gives
way to rock with Reecastle Crag being the principal face.
southern boundary of the fell is formed by Raise Gill on the western
side of the ridge and Shoulthwaite Gill in the east. To say that they
drain The Peewits, the hideous bog on the ridge to High Tove, would be
untrue, but they are fed by it.
Shoulthwaite Gill does not head
due east for Thirlmere as might be expected, but turns due north to form
the eastern boundary. It is cut off from the reservoir by the lower
parallel ridge of Raven Crag and High Rigg and instead makes a beeline
for the River Greta.
Mere Gill, one of its many tributaries forms
the north eastern edge of High Seat. This flows from a point on the
ridge to Bleaberry Fell which bears the name of Threefooted Brandreth (a
brandreth being the word for a three-legged stand in a oven on which a
griddle was placed when cakes etc. were baked).
Brandreth on the eastern slope, sitting on a shallow saddle above Mere
Ghyll is the Litt's Memorial. On March 9th 1880 John Litt was following
the Blencathra Foxhounds when he inexplicably fell behind and failed to
return. A search party found his body at that place the following day.
The memorial consists two upright stones, one bearing a round plate
inscribed 'In memory of J Litt who died March 9, 1880'. The second stone
bears a faint inscription.
The upper part of the fell, in excess
of a mile square, is soft, peaty and drab. The exception is the ridge
itself, which is considerably wetter.
A fence runs along the
ridge, a useful guide in mist and occasionally necessary for bog
The summit is set on a small rock platform with an
Ordnance Survey column. A rocky knoll (called Man) stands on the other
side of the fence. The views are extensive due to the central location
and a lack of higher neighbours.
The Helvellyn range is seen end
to end, together with a panorama of high fells on the other side of the
ridge from Crinkle Crags in the south to Blencathra in the north.
By parking near Ashness Bridge on the road to Watendlath, access to
the western side of the ridge can be gained at high level.
Ashness Gill can be followed upwards through increasingly wet country
until a final bee-line is made for the summit. From further up the road
at the base of Reecastle Crag, a more direct line is possible, or the
climb can be made from Watendlath itself, first ascending High Tove via
The direct ascent noted by Wainwright from the
hamlet appears to have access problems.
Eastern approaches begin
on the A591 at Rough How Bridge, making a start along the secluded
valley of Shoulthwaite before heading up the fellside in the vicinity of
routes near High Seat