Seat Sandal is a fell in the English Lake District situated four
kilometers north of the village of Grasmere from where it is very well
seen. Nevertheless, it tends to be overshadowed by its more illustrious neighbours in the Eastern Fells, Helvellyn and Fairfield.
The fells western flanks above Dunmail Raise are
grassy and smooth while its eastern slopes are steep and craggy as they
fall away towards Grisedale Hause which at 537 m (1,761 ft) contains
Lakeland's highest substantial tarn, Grisedale Tarn.
reaches a height of 736 m (2,415 ft) and just scrapes into the list of
Marilyns by being given prominence of "around" 150 metres from the
higher fell of Fairfield. However this must be a borderline case as
there is no Ordnance Survey surveyed height for the top of Grisedale
Alfred Wainwright gives it a height of 1929 feet (588
metres) giving Seat Sandal a topographic prominence of only 148 metres
(two metres short of Marilyn qualification).
The hills unusual
name comes from the Norse language, meaning “Sandulf’s Hill Pasture”,
Sandulf being a Nordic personal name.
Seat Sandal is distinctive in that its drainage reaches the sea at
more widely spread points than any other Lakeland Fell, with Raise Beck
going through Thirlmere and Derwent Water to reach the Irish Sea at
Workington, Tongue Beck going through the lakes of Grasmere and
Windermere to reach Morecambe Bay and Grisedale Beck draining into
Ullswater and then to the sea at the Solway Firth.
is only true as a result of the diversion of Raise Beck north to feed
Thirlmere Reservoir - before this (and still today when there is enough
water in Raise Beck for it to flow both north and south).
Dollywaggon Pike had this distinction - Birkside Gill feeding Thirlmere,
Raise Beck feeding Grasmere, and Grisedale Beck feeding Ullswater.
The fell's main topographic attraction is Gavel Crag on its eastern
side, which is connected to the main body of the fell by a fine rock
Dunmail Raise provides the topographical connection
between the Eastern and Central Fells, Steel Fell rising on the other
side of the pass.
The fell can be ascended from Grasmere or
Dunmail Raise although a start from Patterdale is quite feasible.
The Grasmere or Patterdale starts use the old packhorse route that
links the two places; this is now part of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast
Walk. When Grisedale Hause is reached it is a steep climb to the summit
following a broken wall.
The ascent from Dunmail Raise follows
the bed of Raise Beck until it peters out at a height of 580 m (1,900 ft),
it is then a walk south up easy slopes to reach the summit. There is
also a direct ascent up the western slopes starting at Mill Bridge.
The view from the top is limited by the nearby Helvellyn and
Fairfield ranges although there is a good view of Lakeland to the west.
The Solway Firth and Criffel are viewed on a good day as is
Morecambe Bay to the south.